Week 7 - Oregon State at BYU

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - Oregon State at BYU

Oregon State (4-0) at BYU (4-2) Oct. 13, 3:30, ABC

Here's The Deal: Storylines will abound as Oregon State travels to Provo in an important game for both programs. The Beavers and the Cougars will be missing last week's starting quarterback, the result of knee injuries to Sean Mannion and Taysom Hill, respectively. Mannion's absence will be felt far more in Corvallis since Hill was only playing because starter Riley Nelson was dinged up as well. Oregon State, now up to No. 10 in the latest AP poll, will look to remain unbeaten and in Pac-12 contention with little-used junior Cody Vaz taking snaps. Nelson claims his back is healthy again, which couldn't have come at a better time now that Hill's rookie year has been shut down. The Cougars have rebounded from back-to-back to Utah and Boise State with consecutive wins, but neither victim had the resume of this week's opponent.

Why Oregon State Might Win: Without Mannion, the Beavers will need to put their fate in the hands of a defense that played well for much of the first month of the season. The D ranks fourth nationally versus the run, and has mounted a consistent pass rush behind playmaking DE Scott Crichton. Even if Nelson is back at full strength, this is going to be a tough spot for the inconsistent leader of an offense that's scored exactly six points in two of the last three games. Oregon State knows that it has to dial up the defensive intensity on Saturday afternoon, and is poised to bring it with help from the likes of Crichton and corners Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds.

Why BYU Might Win: Yeah, the Beavers D has been good, but the Cougars have been a notch or two better. And now they get to face a quarterback who hasn't thrown a pass in a game in two years. BYU has been tenacious throughout the season, leading the country in run defense, while yielding not a single offensive touchdown over the last three games. Three entire games. LB Kyle Van Noy has been the undisputed ringleader of the assault, but he's been getting plenty of help from DE Ezekiel Ansah, LB Brandon Ogletree and the Hadleys, CB Preston and LB Spencer. This is one of those times that Oregon State would benefit from a consistent running game, but ranks just 103rd in the country.

What To Watch Out For: So, who is Vaz, and can he help keep Oregon State on the winning track? The Lodi, Calif. native will be starting his first game since high school, where he became a coveted recruit. He's poised, has a nice grasp on the Beavers system and gets the ball out of his hand quickly. How he'll handle live action and getting hit for the first time in years? It's the great unknown and the reason why there's been so much trepidation in Corvallis this week.

What Will Happen: Oregon State was going to be in trouble this week in Provo no matter what. Now that Mannion is on the shelf, remaining unblemished just became exponentially tougher. Vaz might turn out to be just fine as a relief pitcher, but not this Saturday … and not against this defense. While BYU will have its own problems moving the chains, it won't compare to what the Beavers are going to face. The Cougars are going to unleash all of their fury on the Oregon State O-line, keeping a 13th straight opponent under 300 yards. Nelson will play inspired now that he's back in the huddle, without Hill looking over his shoulder.

CFN Prediction: BYU 23 … Oregon State 16
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) BYU -2.5 O/U: 37.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 3