Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of Utah/Oregon State Game

Oct 23, 2021, 10:18 AM
Xavier Carlton - Utah Utes vs. Oregon State Beavers...
Utah DE Xavier Carlton (44) in a game between the Oregon State Beavers and the Utah Utes on December 5, 2020 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Utah and Oregon State will square off on Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

Both teams are entering the game with different momentum. Utah is riding a three-game winning streak and is the only remaining team in the conference with an undefeated Pac-12 record. Oregon State is coming off of a bye week and a loss to Washington State before entering the open week.

Here are three storylines to watch for as the game approaches kickoff.

1. Oregon State’s Rushing Offense vs. Utah’s Rushing Defense

Somethings gotta give in this matchup as Oregon State is currently leading the Pac-12 or near the top in all rushing statistics, including 1,455 total yards (2nd), 242.5 yards per game on the ground (1st).

Meanwhile, Utah is fourth in the conference allowing 802 rushing yards and fifth in the Pac-12 allowing 133.7 rushing yards per game.

B.J. Baylor is one of the top running backs in the Pac-12 and is currently in second in the conference with 678 rushing yards. He is only 19 yards behind UCLA standout Zach Charbonnet. Baylor is tied for first in the Pac-12 with nine rushing TD’s, even with ASU RB Rachaad White.

2. Offensive Line Play

Oregon State’s offensive line is much improved compared to years past due to solid recruiting and development. Given the success that the Beavers have had on the ground, along with allowing just five sacks and Chance Nolan throwing for 1,053 yards.

Utah’s offensive line has improved as the season has progressed, particularly since Cam Rising took over as the starting quarterback. Rising has been sacked just three times while throwing for 872 yards in just three and a half games.

As far as defenses in this game goes, Mika Tafua is leading the conference with 4.5 sacks. Devin Lloyd and OSU LB Andrzej Hughes-Murray are tied for second with two sacks.

The defense that makes the most plays and can get into the backfield will have the most success.

3. Heavy Legs Coming Off Bye Week vs. Three Game Winning Streak

The Beavers had a tough start to the season with a loss to Purdue on the road. They bounced back with wins over Hawai’i and Idaho State to finish non-conference play. Oregon State then went to the Coliseum and beat USC by 18 points and knocked off Washington at home by three. Riding a four game winning streak, OSU fell to Washington State by a touchdown on the road before going into their bye week.

For Utah, they had a rough non-conference slate, picking up a win over Weber State in the season opener before falling to BYU and San Diego State. The Utes felt like they had a renewed energy as they entered Pac-12 play with all of their goals still within reach.

They beat Washington State before going on a bye week and returned to pick up their first win in Los Angeles over USC in 105 years and after the loss of Aaron Lowe, who was shot and killed on September 26. Then they returned home and scored 28 straight points in the second half to knock off ranked Arizona State.

Which team will prevail? The team coming off of a bye week or the team riding high and a lot of momentum?

Utah and Oregon State will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Network.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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