Utah Utes at #8 Oregon St Beavers
Saturday, October 20, 2012, 10:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Reser Stadium – Corvallis, Oregon
Opening Line: Oregon St -10 1/2
Current Line: Oregon St -8 1/2
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon St -400 / Utah +330
Current Money Line: Oregon St -350 / Utah +290
If before the season, someone told you there would be two undefeated teams in the Pac 12 at the halfway mark of the season, you probably would have guessed it would have been Oregon and USC. Well, the Ducks are undefeated but the Trojans aren’t. It is the surprising Oregon St Beavers, who are off to a 5-0 (3-0 Pac 12) start and ranked #8 in the initial BCS standings released last week.
The Beavers will host Utah Saturday night. The Utes are 2-4 this year, and 0-3 in the Pac 12. They are desperate for a win, and hope a similar situation from last year occurs. The Utes started off 0-4 in the Pac 12 in their first year in the conference, before winning 4 straight conference games. Utah started off the winning streak with a 27-8 win over Oregon St in Salt Lake City.
Oregon St leads the overall series 9-6-1, but Utah has won 4 of the last 5 games in the series. Oregon St is 4-1-1 in Corvallis all time against Utah, and the teams first met in 1931.
Utah is coached by Kyle Whittingham. The Utes have home wins over Northern Colorado 41-0 and BYU 24-21. Utah has road losses at Utah St 27-20 in overtime, at Arizona St 37-7, and last week at UCLA 21-14, along with a 38-28 home loss to USC. The Utes are 3-3 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season. Utah was a 9.5 point underdog at UCLA and the total was 51.5.
Utah has one of the worst offenses in the country averaging 302.7 yards per game including 202.7 passing yards and 100 rushing yards per game. The Utes are 91st or worse out of 124 FBS teams in all three categories. Utah is being outscored 24-22.3. Outside of scoring 41 points against lowly Northern Colorado, Utah hasn’t scored more than 28 points in any of their other 5 games. The Utes are 36/90 on third and fourth down conversions, and 11/16 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. Utah has a turnover margin of -1, and is averaging 71 penalty yards per game. Utah has allowed 14 sacks this season. On defense, Utah is allowing 350.7 yards per game including 226.5 passing yards and 124.2 rushing yards. The Utes are in the top 40 nationally in rushing and total defense. Utah has forced 13 sacks this season. Utah opponents are 37/94 on third and fourth down conversions and 16/19 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns.
Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn quit football when he suffered his third shoulder injury in 12 months. Jon Hays has taken over as the starter from Wynn. Hays has completed 60 of 101 passes (59.4%) for 628 yards with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He has been sacked 7 times. Freshman Travis Wilson started the UCLA game. He has completed 31 of 43 passes for 318 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and also has 2 rushing touchdowns. He will get the start in the Oregon St game, but hays could also see some snaps. Running back John White IV has 89 carries, 345 yards and a touchdown, along with 7 catches for 44 yards. White has struggled this season after rushing for over 1,500 yards last season. Kelvin York and Jarrell Oliver will also get some carries. Hays has 14 carries and Wilson has 15. Eight Utah receivers have at least 5 catches, but no one has more than 9. Kenneth Scott (10 catches, 166 yards, and 3 touchdowns), Dres Anderson (22 catches, 233 yards, and 2 touchdowns, tight end Jake Murphy (18 catches, 197 yards, and 2 touchdowns), and DeVonte Christopher (18 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown) are the top receivers. Six other Utah players besides Wynn are out for the season.
Oregon St is coached by Mike Riley. The Beavers have their highest ranking since 2001 when they were #4 after beating Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The Beavers have home wins over Wisconsin 10-7 and Washington St 19-6, along with road wins at UCLA 27-20, Arizona 38-35, and last week at BYU 42-24. Oregon St is 4-1 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season. The Beavers were 6 point underdogs at BYU last week and the total was 38.5.
Oregon St is averaging 457.6 yards per game on offense, including 338 passing yards and 119.6 rushing yards. The Beavers are #8 nationally in passing but #102 in rushing. OSU is outscoring teams 27.2-18.4 this season. The Beavers are +6 in turnovers. Oregon St is averaging 85.8 penalty yards per game and has allowed 11 sacks. The Beavers are 33/88 on third and fourth down conversions, and 18/22 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns. On defense, Oregon St is allowing 361.8 yards per game, including 291.8 passing yards and 70 rushing yards. The Beavers are #115 against the pass, but have the nation’s 4th best rush defense. Oregon St has forced 12 turnovers and 14 sacks. Beaver opponents are 23/76 on third and fourth down conversions and 14/16 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns.
Oregon St quarterback Sean Mannion missed the BYU game with a knee injury. He is probable for the Utah game, but back-up Cody Vaz will start. Both could see some snaps though. Mannion has completed 107 of 169 passes (63.3%) for 1,358 yards with 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 9 times. Vaz is 20/32 passing (62.5%) for 332 yards with 3 touchdowns. He has been sacked twice. All of his stats came in the BYU game. Running back Storm Woods has 85 carries, 404 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 127 yards. Woods is also probable with a knee injury. Malcolm Agnew has 35 carries for 152 yards. Tyler Anderson has 9 carries, but 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Brandin Cooks has 34 catches, 659 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 7 carries for 29 yards. He is questionable with a foot injury. Markus Wheaton has 41 catches, 564 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 8 carries, 36 yards and a touchdown. Besides Woods no other receiver has more than 11 catches, so someone will have to step up if Cooks is unable to go.
Utah is 6-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 4-0 after scoring less than 20 points, 5-1 after rushing for less than 100 yards, 4-1 in October, 5-2 against teams with winning records, and 4-10 on fieldturf.
Oregon St is 5-1-1 ATS overall, 3-1-1 in Pac 12 games, and after a straight up win, 39-14-1 in October, 18-7-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 27-13-1 after allowing more than 280 points, 41-20-2 after passing for more than 280 yards, and 1-5 against teams with losing records.
Oregon St hasn’t started off a season 6-0 since 1907. Even with the injuries Oregon St is still better than Utah. The Utes can’t move the ball, especially on the ground, and the Beavers are a top 5 defense against the run. I think the Beavers win easily tonight at home.
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