Oregon State Football: Keys That Will Decide Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Texas

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2012

CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 01: Running back Malcolm Agnew #30 of the Oregon State Beavers dives into the endzone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Nicholls State Colonels on December 1, 2012 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. Oregon State won the game 77-3. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Valero Alamo Bowl doesn't sound like a big-time bowl game, but it features two ranked teams that should combine for one of the most exciting bowls of the season when No. 23 Texas faces No. 13 Oregon State.

The 9-3 Beavers have seen their offense go from average to explosive as the season has worn on, and they look to use that to their advantage against a suspect Texas defense. 

On the other hand, Texas boasts an 8-4 record, but doesn't have too shabby of an offense, either. 

Let's take a look at what the Beavers must do in the Alamo Bowl to secure a victory over one of the nation's most historic programs.


Make Texas QB David Ash Uncomfortable

The Texas quarterback carousel has gone back and forth from David Ash to Case McCoy, but it seems to be on Ash's side heading into 2013, as he's played better football down the stretch.

But he's still just a sophomore, and Oregon State has a solid pass rush led by Scott Crichton. He has nine sacks on the season and should be chasing Ash around plenty in the backfield.

Ash will be eager to make plays to prove to his Texas coaching staff that he's worthy of being the starter for the next few seasons, but oftentimes that can lead to trying to do too much.

The Beavers must capitalize on that, making sure that they pressure Ash while also allowing him to make those inevitable mistakes. 


Get the Ball to WRs Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks

Like I previously mentioned, Oregon State's offense has been average at times and explosive at others. Much of that has to do with how often the Beavers get the ball to wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.

Wheaton and Cooks have quickly become one of the top receiver duos in the nation this season, combining for more than 2,300 yards and 16 touchdowns between them. They've been a huge part of the Beavers' passing attack, which has caught fire as of late. 

The Beavers won't continue to be one of the best passing teams in the country if they can't get the ball to their top two wideouts as much as possible.

It's obvious these two players will make the plays if you get them the ball.


Win the Turnover Battle

Aside from having an insane passing attack, Oregon State has also taken great care of the ball this season while forcing tons of turnovers.

That's an advantage that will help them fiercely take grasp of victory over the Longhorns. The Beavers have forced 30 takeaways this season to Texas' 18. 

Although this may turn into a high-scoring game, it has the potential to come down to one possession and will likely be affected by the turnover margin.

Whoever comes up on the positive side will win. 


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