2022 Oregon St. Beavers Preview

by Matt Fargo

Oregon St. Beavers

2021-22 Season Record 7-6 (5-4 Pac 12 North) - 7-6-0 ATS - 6-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 8

Overview

Oregon St. had a great run from 1999 to 2013 as in those 15 seasons, it had a winning record 11 times which included a 7-4 record in bowl games with a Fiesta Bowl win and a final ranking of No. 4 in that 1999 season. Head coaches Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley both kept the program in great shape but then it fell off, bad. Gary Andersen went 7-23 in two and a half years, Cory Hall went 0-6 as the interim coach and then Jonathan Smith came on board in 2018 and promptly went 2-10. It has been a slow ascent since then however with a 5-7 record the next season followed by a who cares COVID year and then the Beavers went 7-6 last season and the first bowl game in eight years. Smith has this team going in the right direction and this season, it has 14 starters back and a returning production ranking of No. 39 so expectations are somewhat high for the first time in a while.

Offense

The offense has remained very steady over the last few years as the Beavers have been above average and last year they finished No. 40 in total offense and No. 35 in scoring offense. There were a couple bad efforts but for the most part, they were consistent thanks to a strong running game and solid play at quarterback. Chance Nolan did not put up big numbers but he did what was asked as he completed over 64 percent of his passes for 2,677 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He should improve this season especially behind a strong offensive line that has three starters back after finishing No. 8 in the country in sacks allowed. Three of the top five targets are gone including leading receiver Trevon Bradford but there is good experience and depth. Replacing running back B.J. Baylor, who rushed for 1,337 yards, will be a challenge but there are options to work with. 

Defense

It was not a great season for the defense as the Beavers finished No. 75 overall and No. 64 in scoring but they will take it. The 388.0 ypg allowed was a 55 ypg improvement from the previous two seasons and a whopping 149 ypg better from 2018. The pieces are in place for an even better season as eight starters are back with playmakers on two levels. The defensive line is the early concern as there is experience up front but no one that has proven to be dominating. They had only 20 sacks last season which was tied for No. 109 and they desperately need to find a pass rush. Oregon St. lost its leading tackler in linebacker Avery Roberts but Omar Speights was second on the team with 87 tackles and will handle the inside with transfers on the outside. The secondary is in great shape with two solid corners along with Kitan Oladapo and Alton Julian as the safeties after combining for 103 tackles.

2022 Season Outlook

There is definitely a buzz in Corvallis this season and there should be. A 7-6 record is nothing special but steps were taken and Oregon St. just needs to figure out how to win on the road. Sure, there was a signature win at USC last season but it lost its other five roadies and is just 5-32 on the highway over the last seven seasons. Improving that will be a challenge but there are winnable games and only four conference road games. The Beavers open at home with big test against Boise St. and then travel to Fresno St. before closing nonconference play against FCS power Montana St. The winnable Pac 12 road games are at Arizona St. and Stanford with Washington a possibility. The home portion includes USC and Oregon so another undefeated home slate is unlikely.  The O/U win total is set at 6.5 and it is gettable but it will take an upset or two and it has won five of its last eight outright as dogs.

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