An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: Oregon State Beavers
Jun 1, 2023, 2:12 PM
SALT LAKE CITY – Spring ball is over, and the summer months are upon us making it a great time to take an early look at Utah football’s 2023 opponents.
Week five against Oregon State up in Corvallis on a Friday night could prove to be a very interesting test for the Utes with many believing the Beavers could be a dark horse for the Pac-12 Championship. OSU will be coming off a road trip the week before to Washington State, whereas Utah will have been home hosting UCLA for likely the last time in a while.
Anyone paying attention knows the Beavers have been a team on the rise the past few seasons under head coach Jonathan Smith, and they are more than capable of upsetting the “bigger” teams in the conference much how Utah did from 2014-2017.
The When And Where Of Utah Vs. Oregon State
When: Friday, September 29
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
Time: 7:00 p.m. MT
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What We Know About OSU Heading Into 2023
Stop me if this sounds familiar. According to Athlon Sports, Oregon State has made major strides the past few seasons producing tough defense, and a strong run game that has allowed them to play near-spoiler and sometimes full-spoiler to promising seasons for their conference-mates.
The weak link holding Oregon State back from maybe doing a little more than playing “spoiler” the last two seasons has been quarterback play. However, it appears on paper OSU has upgraded their situation at quarterback through the transfer portal after landing former Clemson signal caller D.J. Uiagalelei.
— DJ Uiagalelei (@DJUiagalelei) December 24, 2022
Additionally, the Beavers have a few spots on their defense, particularly in their secondary and linebacker corps that have some questions after departures to the NFL and through the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Oregon State’s Returning Talent
Perhaps one of the biggest positives for Oregon State heading into the 2023 is the return of all five of their starters on the offensive line. Not only does that help ease in a new quarterback (likely Uiagalelei, but there is some thought Ben Gulbranson could still be in the mix), but it also allows for their run game to continue flourishing.
Speaking of Oregon State’s run game, they will be returning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Damien Martinez who had six consecutive 100-yard rushing game in 2022. Additionally, the Beavers will also be returning Anthony Gould and Silas Bolden who had breakout seasons last year on special teams.
Defensively, OSU returns interior linemen Isaac Hodgins and James Rawls who have both received all-conference honors. Safety is another area that appears to be in good shape for the Beavers, especially if they can get Alton Julian back from an ACL tear he suffered last season.
A Few Areas Of Concern For OSU
Overall, when scanning through a different Athlon Sports review of Oregon State, it appears the offense should be in pretty good shape aside from some of the questions that always arise when you have to break in a new quarterback. Where the biggest “concerns” seem to pop up are on the defensive side of the ball.
The Beavers will need to find replacements for cornerbacks Rejzohn Wright, and Alex Austin who are now in the NFL, as well as linebacker Omar Speights who will play at LSU this season. Additionally, it appears that while OSU has brought in some talent to their inside linebacker room, they are only returning one guy with significant playing experience in Easton Mascarenas-Arnold.
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Everyone Knows Things Can Get Weird At Reser On A Short Week
It may sound superstitious, but it feels like the Pac-12 is more than a little aware of the fact that games can go sideways in a hurry at Reser Stadium. Especially on a short week.
The Utes fell victim to this the last time they traveled to Corvallis in 2021, falling to the Beavers, 42-34. Naturally, the year is different and so are the teams, but the stakes appear to be much higher with Utah potentially attempting to threepeat as Pac-12 Champions and Oregon State having a great shot to claw their way to the top of the conference in 2023.
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports
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