The Oregon St. Beavers are going to need a lot of help if they plan on pulling out an upset in the desert and upsetting the Arizona St. Sun Devils under the lights of Sun Devil Stadium. Getting past ASU's defense won't be an easy task, but it is a potentially manageable one. Find out more below.
Oregon State rush offense vs. Arizona State rush defense
Arizona State does allow a ground game, which should come as a relief to Beavers fans worried about what they'll do if Malcolm Agnew isn't at full strength. Arizona State has given up an average of 180 or so rushing yards the last two home contests against Missouri or USC. But Oregon State has only managed an average of 54.5 rushing yards their last two games against Wisconsin and UCLA with Agnew out. Both teams simply need more if they want to succeed long-term.
Oregon State pass offense vs. Arizona State pass defense
The Beavers pass offense is fairly adequate. 60% completion rate, around seven yards per pass attempt. And Sean Mannion is actually an excellent 3rd down passer. The big problem is when they get to the red zone. The Beavers simply get worse the further they trend down the field. Oregon State completes only about half their passes in opposing territory, and they're 2 for 8 in the red zone.
They should have their opportunities to punch it in the end zone on Sunday. ASU generally allows big drives, giving up a 63% completion rate and seven yards per pass attempt. OSU needs to learn how to finish drives.
Up to this point in the season, Arizona State is pretty much a two-down defense, because on third down it's all but over. ASU has allowed 12 third down conversions on the season, and less than a fourth of their third downs get converted. That puts the Sun Devils third in the nation behind only Florida and Bowling Green. Oregon State has actually done quite well on third down (nearly a 50% conversion rate, good for 23rd in the nation), so there might be an opportunity to exploit the Sun Devils if they can sustain long drives and keep ASU on the field.
Oregon State hasn't been a productive offense this season yet, but they might be on the point of breakthrough this Saturday.
For more on Oregon State football, head to Building the Dam. For more on Arizona State football, head to House of Sparky.