Menacing little wood chipper, isn’t he?
Stanford - L (28-36)
Oregon State was a surprising 9-4 last season beating Cal and Oregon on the road and Maryland in the Emerald bowl. Unfortunately, the Beavers lost top rusher Yvenson Bernard and each member of the front seven of their defense so this could be termed a "rebuilding" year. In week one Oregon State lost a heartbreaker to Stanford when WR Darrell Catchings fumbled the ball late in the game as he reached out for the goal line on what would have been a game changing score.
Returning are two important cogs to this Oregon State offense: WR Sammie Stroughter and Lyle Moevao. The former is returning from a season-ending injury and the latter was a bit inconsistent last season. It appears both have righted the ship as Moevao threw for 404 yards and 3 touchdowns and Stroughter caught 157 yards and 2 touchdowns in week one. Penn State can probably expect a one-dimensional attack as the Beavers only managed 86 yards on the ground. In addition to Stroughter, wide receiver Shane Morales added 13 catches for 151 yards and a TD. So yeah, it could be a long day for the secondary.
Senior DE Victor Butler returns with his 10.5 sacks as does Senior CB Brandon Hughes who had 2 INT's last year. Hard hitting senior strong safety Al Afalava returns as the team's leading tackler with 64, three for loss and a couple fumble recoveries. Afalava likes to hit but can be fooled on passing plays. All three linebackers are gone but Oregon has some experience back at all three positions. The rest is pretty much question marks as the Free Safety and other starting CB position were up for grabs at the beginning of the season.
Alexis Serna was Oregon's punter AND placekicker last season and will be missed… as a kicker, he was dead last in the Pac 10 in punting. Enter redshirt freshman Kyle Harper and junior Sean Sehnem either of which will be a welcomed improvement over Serna (the punter). Sammie Stroughter gives OSU one of the most dangerous punt returners in the country and sophomore James Rodgers averaged 24.4 yards on five returns and has a knack for getting lost behind bigger players. As far as the coverage teams go, last season, Oregon State was fifth nationally in both punt and kickoff return yardage, don't expect anything different this season.
After coming off a heartbreaking loss to Stanford, a game Oregon State could have won, the Beavers will look for respect traveling across the country to play our beloved Nittany Lions. OSU offers a great test for the Penn State defense; we'll really get a chance to see how good our pass coverage is. It also presents a chance for Clark and Co. to open up the 'Spread HD' against a defense with a pulse, albeit not a whole lot of one. With a new punter who only averaged 32 yards on 2 punts in week 1, look for Penn State to take advantage of good field position. The Beavers won't be a threat to run the ball so the Penn State D will have a chance to pin their ears back and worry about pass rush. I think this game could be more of a shootout than some fans think, but I still think Penn State wins by at least two touchdowns.