By 750 THE GAME STAFF
Each week our staff at 750 The Game and fellow Pac-12 experts predict the score of every Oregon State Beavers game. This week No. 15 Oregon State (5-1) is home at Reser Stadium taking on No. 18 UCLA Bruins (4-1). The Vegas line has Oregon State -3.5.
Damien Martinez is the Pac-12’s leading rusher. OSU offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren is spreading the ball around this season in the passing game, too. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has thrown TD passes to receivers, running backs, tight ends, offensive linemen, and defensive linemen this season. Home favorites in the Pac-12 are 27-1 winning games outright. I’ll go with the trend on this one.
Oregon State 27, UCLA 23
While generating little attention across the conference footprint, this primetime duel could be the best game of the weekend. If nothing else, it should be an old-school affair with two solid defenses and run-heavy offenses. Oregon State has been fabulous at home and recently dismantled Utah. How will UCLA freshman quarterback Dante Moore respond to the environment? He struggled in his only road start thus far (at Utah). The Bruins have flipped identities this season with their defense leading the way. We have wavered on the point spread but love the Under (Total at 54.5).
Both the Oregon State offense and the UCLA defense haven’t faced a unit as good as the one they’ll line up across from on Saturday. I think each of those units is going to get its blows on each other, Oregon State is going to turn the ball over once or twice, and DJ Uiagalelei is going to cool down from the dazzling performance he put on at Cal. The real X factor sits on the other side of the ball. Can Dante Moore win a battle against this Oregon State defense at home? I’m not liking his chances. The Beavers have yet to give up double-digit points at home this season and I can easily see that streak extending.
Oregon State 17, UCLA 7
Dante Moore struggled in his road start at Utah earlier this season, throwing a pick-six and leading UCLA to only 7 points. Utah and Oregon State may be the two toughest places to play in the Pac-12. I do think the Oregon State defense has some holes in it, and I expect Chip Kelly to find them and capitalize on them. UCLA’s defense is nasty. 5th in total yards given up per game, tied for 1st in yards given up per play, and 2nd in the nation in rush yards given up per play, opponents are only averaging 1.7 yards per rush this season on the Bruins! That is Oregon State’s strength. It’s going to put a lot on DJ Uiagalelei to win this game. After what UCLA did to Cam Ward last week, I’m not sure he can.
UCLA 28, Oregon State 20
That UCLA defensive front is something else, man. I am going to spend the whole night watching Laiatu Latu (#15), the 22-year-old star EDGE for the Bruins who transferred from Washington. That guy is a game-wrecker. Washington State had a terrible time dealing with UCLA’s front last week and it cost them the game. But this is why OSU offensive line coach Jim Michalczik is held in such high regard, and tackles Joshua Gray and Taliese Fuaga are projected high-round picks in the NFL draft. The game will be decided between the Beavers offensive line and the UCLA defensive line.
Give me the Beavs.
Oregon State 24, UCLA 20