With a David vs. Goliath matchup between the Beavers and the Huskies looming on Saturday, OSU hopes to play the part of David.
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It’s been well-documented over the course of the week that the Beavers stand very little chance in this game against Washington. They are being given very little of a chance by oddsmakers as the Beavers currently sit as a 26.5 point underdog, and given the Beavers’ performance in their first four games of the season, I’d be inclined to agree with the line.
Also working against OSU is the fact that they haven’t beat the Huskies since guys like Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks were freshman back in 2011. OSU’s odds certainly aren’t good on paper. But then again, games are played on the field, not on paper.
Gary Andersen mentioned earlier this week that he wanted his team to get back to having fun and letting go of some of the frustrations, and he spoke about that following practice on Thursday.
“There has to be a fun part about football, there is no doubt about it,” Andersen said. “They’ve had a good week of practice and prepared well. They are excited to play a very good team and they are well prepared.”
In order to be able to pull off a “Giant Killers" -esque win against the Huskies, Andersen said that the Beavers have to stop beating themselves.
“I don’t know if the word perfect could be involved in football,” Andersen said with a chuckle. “Obviously you have to play very well to ever win in the Pac-12 and you have to be able to stand in there with the physical nature especially against (Washington) because that is their M.O. In this league, quite frankly you won’t win if you have too many self-inflicted wounds.”
For the Beavers to have a shot in this game, it must first start with controlling the clock and running the ball effectively. Which is something they’ve been just so so at this season.
Andersen said that the Beavers need to be effective in running the ball against UW and in doing so, will be able to keep the Huskies’ high powered offense on the sideline.
“We’d definitely like to run the ball,” Andersen said. “We’d like to be able to control the clock and keep the ball out of their hands. It’s tough duty on both sides because when they get it, they’ve scored a lot and when they get out there on defense, they get off the field fast. Controlling the clock and keeping the time of possession in our favor would be a very good thing for us.”
A bit of good news for the OSU ground attack is the imminent return of Thomas Tyner on Saturday. In his short time as a Beaver, Tyner has been largely ineffective. Whether it’s been familiarity, injuries, or lack of touches, he hasn’t been able to kickstart his OSU career. That could all change on Saturday, as it appears that Andersen and Co. are wanting to give Tyner the ball against the Huskies given that he is now healthy.
“We’d like to get him back in the flow of things,” Andersen said. “He’s obviously been frustrated not being out there, but this week it’s been there. He can be a part of that offense. He’s healthy and you’ll see him out there.”
When asked about what exactly Tyner could bring to the offense when he’s fully healthy and involved, Andersen had nothing but praise for the former five star recruit.
“He has very good speed and catches the ball very well,” Andersen said. “He’s a threat with the ball outside of the backfield. He has that real skillset of speed. His god given abilities are pretty good when he has the ball in his hands.”
Another aspect of OSU’s rushing game that is different compared to weeks past is the ability of the quarterback run. While Jake Luton was slightly mobile, he was certainly not as mobile as Darell Garretson. With the controls now being handed off to Garretson, OSU’s offense is going to be more like the Civil War last season where they are more of a run based offense.
“I believe Darell is going to make good decisions,” Andersen said. “He’s played enough football to understand when there is a need (to run) and when the play is over with. He’ll use his legs to his advantage but he’ll also use them wisely. He’s going to go out there and win and do what it takes.”
While the odds are stacked against the Beavers in this matchup with Washington, it is worth noting that the Beavers have done this before. The most recent example is 2008 as the 1-2 Beavers welcomed No. 1 USC into Reser Stadium. The Beavers were 1-2 with a blowout loss to Penn State on their resume. The Beavers odds weren’t good against a team that featured future NFL stars Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing, and Rey Maualuga.
Despite all those future stars, the Beavers came out under the lights of Reser Stadium and pulled off an upset.
Can they channel the magic again?