The run-up to the 2017 #college football season, The Oregonian/OregonLive is previewing each of the opponents the Oregon State Beavers will meet this fall. Today, it’s Colorado State.
Game date: Aug. 26 in Fort Collins, Colorado
Coach: Mike Bobo (third season, 14-13 record at Colorado State)
2016 record: 7-6 (lost to Idaho in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
Notable 2016 stats
Ranked 28th nationally in scoring offense (35.3 points per game)
81st in scoring defense (30.4 points allowed per game)
30th in total offense (462.5 yards per game)
69th in total defense (419.2 yards allowed per game)
Fifth in red-zone scoring percentage (94.34)
Tied ninth sacks allowed (13)
Tied 17th fewest turnovers committed (15)
123rd in opponent third-down conversion percentage (49)
For the second consecutive year, OSU begins its season on the road. This game was moved from Sept. 23 to the earliest opener in school history, in order for Colorado State to open its new on-campus stadium against a Power 5 opponent and for the Beavers to get two bye weeks (Sept. 23 and Oct. 21). Though Colorado State does not have the across-the-board depth and talent of many Power 5 schools, the Rams have gone to four consecutive bowl games and are regarded as a Mountain West division title contender.
For Oregon State to win…
A Beavers defense that improved drastically against the pass in 2016 must slow down the Rams’ air attack that returns quarterback Nick Stevens and top two receivers Michael Gallup and Bisi Johnson. That OSU secondary will be replacing two key pieces in cornerback Treston Decoud and safety Devin Chappell, but returns 2016 Freshman All-American Xavier Crawford and mainstay Brandon Arnold. Colorado State’s defense has also allowed bundles of points, but can a Beavers offense that has sputtered under Andersen and enters fall camp without a solidified starting quarterback really outscore an opponent in its opener?
The offensive player you should know: Quarterback Nick Stevens
Stevens made the most of a second opportunity last season, when he was benched following the Rams’ opener but then took over again when Collin Hill tore his ACL in October. Stevens ranked fifth nationally in quarterback rating (171.3) after completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,936 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. Entering the season, he has the fourth-most career touchdown passes in Colorado State history.