Stanford vs. Oregon State: Four (Not So) Preposterous Predictions

Will it be another long day for OSU quarterback Sean Mannion?

Here are four things that probably won't (but maybe will) happen Saturday at Reser Stadium. Vote for the least preposterous prediction and feel free to leave your own in the comments section. 

1. Stanford will shut out Oregon State for a second consecutive year.

Why it's preposterous: The last time Stanford shut out the same team in consecutive years was 1948-49. (I've gotten good mileage out of that note this season). In its first two games this year against teams that it blanked last season (UCLA and Washington), Stanford allowed a total of 40 points. The Beavers have averaged 28 points in four games at Reser Stadium.

Why it could happen: Oregon State was shut out 35-0 at Wisconsin earlier this season and the Beavers managed only 8 points against Utah last week. It won't get any easier against a Stanford team that ranks 23rd in total defense and has allowed the 13th-fewest points per game. To make matters worse for the OSU faithful, the Beavers are banged up. While Oregon State has moved the ball pretty well, it ranks 90th in scoring offense (23 points per game) and 98th in turnover margin. Oregon State's no stranger to being shut out by the same team in consecutive years. The last Pac-12 team to do it was UCLA in 1985-86.

2.Stanford will sack Sean Mannion at least 9 times.

Why it's preposterous: Stanford is averaging 3.13 sacks per game after being held sack-less in last week's win over USC. That's the ninth-best average in the country, but it's also a far cry from 9 sacks in a single game. The Cardinal has registered 6 sacks on two occasions this season, while the Beavers rank 56th in the country in sacks allowed.

Why it could happen: The Cardinal defensive line is extra hungry (nom nom nom) after being kept off the board by the Trojans. OSU's banged up offensive line allowed Sean Mannion to be sacked six times by Utah last week. The following day I watched the Buffalo Bills, who entered the game with four sacks, drop Redskins quarterback John Beck 10 times.

3.Ty Montgomery will catch at least three touchdowns.

Why it's preposterous: Andrew Luck has thrown at least three touchdowns in six of Stanford's eight games this season. Three players have caught multiple touchdowns in those games -- Coby Fleener (twice), Ryan Hewitt, and Levine Toilolo -- and none of them are wide receivers. Montgomery has come on strong in recent weeks, but he has only 7 catches for 100 yards for the season and his only touchdown came on a kickoff return on the final play of the game against Washington State. The Cardinal also figures to run the ball quite a bit against Oregon State, which allowed the Utes to rush for 225 yards.

Why it could happen: Montgomery had 5 catches for 87 yards in last week's win at USC and was Luck's main target in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Beavers have allowed 17 passing touchdowns this season and rank 108th in pass efficiency defense.

4. Stanford will hold Oregon State to less than 150 yards of total offense.

Why it's preposterous: OSU's lowest offensive output of the season came last week when it averaged 1.2 yards per carry and totaled 263 yards in Salt Lake City. The week before that, though, the Beavers put up 44 points and 551 yards in a win at Washington State. Wisconsin was the only other team to hold OSU to less than 300 yards of total offense. The Beavers' running game is anemic (108th in the country), but its passing game has been solid (22nd). One of OSU's biggest issues this season has been capitalizing on scoring chances. The Beavers are only 23-for-31 trips to the red zone.

Why it could happen: OSU shouldn't be able to run the ball and the forecast could make it especially difficult for Mannion to get much going through the air. Stanford held Washington to 107 yards in rainy conditions last year in Seattle. This prediction likely hinges on the Cardinal getting a lot of pressure on Mannion, if not registering 9 sacks.

 

 

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