Oregon State football fans are now Stanford fans.
Thanks to the Cardinal, the Beavers boast significantly better odds of shocking Oregon. In the Ducks’ roast on Saturday, Stanford exposed weaknesses that Oregon State will have the opportunity to take advantage of. It must do exactly that if it wants to come out on top in the 2012 Civil War.
Here are those weaknesses.
3. Poor Run Defense
Stepfan Taylor of the Cardinal rushed for 161 yards on 4.9 yards a pop against Oregon. It was his second-highest rushing total of the season. The Beavers must establish the run with Storm Woods to control the clock and keep the ball out of Kenjon Barner’s hands.
Woods has rushed for 689 yards and seven touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry this year, so he’s more than capable of wearing down the Ducks defense.
2. Susceptible Passing Game
Perhaps the primary reason that Stanford was able to upset Oregon was because the Cardinal shut down Barner. Its stop unit keyed on the Heisman Trophy candidate and forced freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota to beat it, and he couldn’t.
Mariota finished the game with his lowest completion percentage and passer rating of the season. It was also only the second time he failed to throw more touchdowns than interceptions.
If Oregon State makes Mariota win with his arm, it’ll be in position to pull off another upset.
1. Abysmal Field-Goal Kicking
If the Beavers defense manages to bend but don’t break, they’ll keep the game close. And if they keep the game close, they’ll have a great shot to sink the Ducks. Why?
Because Oregon’s kickers are laughable.
Rob Beard has converted just four of eight field-goal attempts this year, while Alejandro Maldonado is 1-of-3. Maldonado missed each of his two attempts against Stanford, including one in overtime. The kicking game was its Achilles’ heel the other night, and it’ll continue to be its most glaring weakness.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.