FACTS & STATS: Site: Reser Stadium (43,000) -- Corvallis, Oregon. Television: FSN-NW. Home Record: Arizona St. 2-1, Oregon St. 1-0. Away Record: Arizona St. 0-1, Oregon St. 0-1. Neutral Record: Arizona St. 0-0, Oregon St. 0-1. Conference Record: Arizona St. 0-1, Oregon St. 0-0. Series Record: Arizona State leads, 24-11-1.
GAME NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils invade Corvallis this weekend for a Pac-10 scuffle with the Oregon State Beavers.
Arizona State opened the season with back-to-back victories over FCS opponents, but the team has lost its last two outings to powerful FBS squads. After falling to Big Ten foe Wisconsin two weeks ago on the road, the Sun Devils dropped a 42-31 decision to Oregon in the Pac-10 opener last weekend.
As for Oregon State, it has played two elite teams through the first three games, and both of those contests resulted in defeat. The Beavers, who were knocked off by TCU in the opener before beating Louisville at home, had the unenviable task of doing battle with Boise State on the "smurf turf" last weekend. Oregon State put forth a solid effort, but the Broncos won that game by a 37-24 final.
Arizona State owns a 24-11-1 series advantage over Oregon State, but the Beavers have won the last two meetings.
Arizona State is scoring 36.2 ppg this season while generating an impressive 495.0 total ypg. The leader of the offense is Steven Threet, who has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 1,228 yards with eight touchdowns. Sure, Threet has made some mistakes, having thrown seven interceptions thus far, but he is certainly a playmaker under center. Mike Willie and Aarin Pflugrad have both hauled in 18 receptions, and Deantre Lewis paces the backfield with 278 yards rushing. Lewis is averaging a staggering 9.6 yards per carry.
Looking at the game against Oregon last week, ASU posted 597 total yards, winning the yardage battle convincingly over the Ducks. Unfortunately, the Sun Devils turned the ball over a staggering total of seven times, including four interceptions by Threet. The quarterback completed 30-of-53 passes for 387 yards with three touchdowns and was sacked four times. Willie caught a pair of touchdown passes, and Lewis rushed for 127 yards and a score.
Opponents are scoring 22.8 ppg against Arizona State this season, and the Sun Devils are yielding 334.8 total ypg. They have certainly played well against the run, limiting foes to 113.8 ypg on an average of 3.2 ypc. Against the pass, they are giving up 12.5 yards per completion, a figure that can certainly stand some improvement. On a positive note, ASU has five interceptions while having allowed just four passing scores. Vontaze Burfict has been a key component of the defense, as he has registered 33 tackles, including 5.5 TFLs.
Against Oregon, the ASU defense was obviously put in bad positions by Threet and the offense all day. No defense can be expected to overcome seven turnovers by an offense, and while the Sun Devil defenders weren't perfect against the Ducks by any means, they did play well in many regards. For example, ASU held Oregon to 2-of-13 success on third-down conversion attempts, and the fact that the Ducks only held possession of the ball for 25:26 despite all the turnovers is remarkable.
Oregon State is generating 26.7 ppg this season to go along with a poor average of 270.3 total ypg. The strength of the offense was expected to be the ground attack with Jacquizz Rodgers toting the rock. Rodgers has rushed for four touchdowns, but he has just 253 yards on the ground and is averaging a modest 4.2 ypc. James Rodgers, the team's top receiver and the brother of Jacquizz, leads OSU with nine catches for 113 yards. Unfortunately, James was the victim of a vicious hit in the Boise State game and suffered a concussion. His status for this weekend is uncertain.
The quarterback of the Beavers is Ryan Katz, a sophomore who has looked the part of an inexperienced signal caller thus far. Katz has completed only 46.8 percent of his tosses for 460 yards, but to his credit he has tossed five touchdowns without a single interception. In the loss to Boise State, Katz only completed 12 of his 26 attempts for 159 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers was bottled up, as the tailback only gained 46 yards on 18 carries.
There is certainly room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball for Oregon State, which is yielding 31.7 ppg and 458.3 total ypg. There has been extreme vulnerability against both the run and the pass, as foes are gaining 206.0 ypg on the ground and 252.3 ypg through the air. OSU has come up with five takeaways, but only two sacks have been registered through 12 quarters of play.
Boise State has one of the nation's most explosive offensive units, so it came as no surprise that the Broncos posted 37 points against the Beavers. Oregon State permitted 469 total yards, including 294 yards and four touchdowns through the air.
It is hard to believe that Oregon State is 1-2 thus far considering the fact that the team has yet to commit a single turnover. The Beavers will even their record with a victory over Arizona State, but expect the game to be close from start to finish.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 31, Arizona State 27
October 2nd, 6:30 p.m. (et)