TEMPE, Ariz. — The Oregon State football team is the long shot in tonight’s Pacific-12 Conference game at Arizona State.
Games are not easy in Sun Devil Stadium, especially when it’s 100-plus degrees. Check out my Game Day special section story. I go over the series with the Sun Devils.
OSU has a three-game winning streak, but I pick the Sun Devils 31-10 this time.
Here’s my main story in Saturday’s GT. It’s on the young DEs, Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn. From there you can find links to the stories from the week.
RB Malcolm Agnew (hamstring) is out, and the running game wasn’t even that potent. It’s up to freshman QB Sean Mannion to move the ball.
He’ll need James Rodgers to have a big game. The senior all-purpose WR returned from nearly a year off due to a knee injury last week. He had a solid game with five catches.
Now that he shook off some rush Rodgers should be a bigger part of the game plan today against the Sun Devils. Rodgers is one of my players to watch. The other is ASU LB Vontaze Burfict.
Here are the keys to the game if the Beavers hope to win.
No. 3 Do the basics
An 0-3 team must do the basic to score points. That means protect the passer, run the ball and don’t turn the ball over. Freshman Mannion needs time to throw the ball and a running game will take pressure off of him.
No. 2 Score in the red zone
An offense that ranks last in the Pac-12 Conference in scoring (15.7 ppg) needs to score when it gets a chance. The red zone offense is last in the Pac-12 (63 percent). “Windows are tighter in there,” coach Mike Riley said. “Frankly, we are not very good. We need to execute better.”
No. 1 Start fast
Jumping out with an early score will help build confidence, and then keep the pressure up. The offense will take either long drives or quick strikes. Either way, they need to finish drives.
And here’s my final band of the Arizona musical tour. It’s Rob Halford, really, but this is from his early 1990s band Fight. This should get you ready to play some football.