Fresno State vs. Oregon State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
Bulldogs looking to take out a Pac-12 foe
Can Fresno State get the win?
WEEK 2: Oregon State Beavers (1-0) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (1-0)
WHERE: Valley Children’s Stadium; Fresno, CA
WEATHER: 20% chance of rain, high of 94 degrees and low of 74
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: FuboTV. We have the hook-up for a free trial.
RADIO: Fox Sports AM 1340
SERIES RECORD: Fresno State leads the all-time series, 8-5. In the last meeting on September 5, 2003, the Bulldogs defeated the Beavers, 16-14, in Fresno.
LAST WEEK: Oregon State defeated Boise State at home, 34-17, while Fresno State defeated Cal Poly at home, 35-7.
ODDS: Oregon State -1
SP+ PROJECTION: Fresno State by 4.5
FEI PROJECTION: Oregon State by 0.1
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Oregon State 62.93% win probability (23.66-19.07)
All eyes will be on Fresno as the Bulldogs host Oregon State late on Saturday night, in a clash of two teams that are top 25-caliber. Oregon State is coming off a statement opening win over Boise State, in which they forced five turnovers and held Boise State to under 200 yards passing. The Oregon State defense was so good that Boise State made a switch at quarterback. Offensively, they started hot, scoring 24 points in the first half and nearly running the ball for 200 yards. With one of the top offensive lines in the nation and a good passing game, this team can put points up at any time.
Fresno State is coming off a 35-7 win over Cal Poly. The Bulldogs kept a lot of the offense under wrap but may have a problem with the offensive line, rotating nine guys on the line and giving up three sacks to an FCS school. A positive sign was the transfer wide receiver from Cal, Nikko Remigio, who had a couple of highlight plays to go along with nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have to do a better job of closing out plays and keeping the QB in the pocket. Cal Poly’s Jaden Jones had 59 rushing yards and most of it came from extending plays and breaking out of the pocket. Some positives were true freshman 17-year-old starting defensive tackle Gavriel Lightfoot, who recorded his first career sack, and transfer cornerback Cam Lockridge, who also had an impressive showing with three tackles and two pass breaks. A lot will be needed again from these two guys as they will have their hands full with a really good Oregon State team.
A Battle in the trenches
Oregon State dominated the line on both sides of the ball last week and, well, the Bulldogs struggled last week. If Fresno State is going to have any success this week it starts in the trenches. Protect Haener and establish a run game. During the first drives in last week’s game, the Bulldog’s offense looked sharp. Good O-line play led to the offense opening up which led to six points every time. If the O-line can play better and be more physical the Bulldogs will find success offensively. They have skilled players to put points but you have to protect the quarterback for that to happen.
Defensively, the Bulldogs faced a more mobile quarterback last week but that is no excuse for not finishing plays. Chance Nolan isn’t the fastest guy you will see but does enough to extend plays and keep drives going. Fresno State has to do a better job of keeping Nolan in the pocket and creating an uncomfortable pocket for him. Can’t be happy with only getting one sack last week. I do believe Kevin Coyle will switch things up and make adjustments to get to the quarterback more.
The good news for the Bulldogs? They didn’t turn over the ball last week but didn’t get any takeaways, either. Meanwhile, Oregon State created five turnovers but also turned the ball three times.
Last week, Oregon State’s key to victory was winning the turnover battle. The Bulldogs are going to have to do that this week if they want to improve to 6-0 at home against the Beavers. We saw it last year when the Dogs were careless with the ball and the results weren’t good. Whoever can take care of the ball in this game will win this game.
Whichever team can convert third downs will be in a great position to win this game. Both teams have a great offense and both teams can put up points. I believe whichever team can stop third down conversions and whichever offense is on the field more will be set up for great success. Oregon State was 4-13 on third down last week. Fresno State was 5-10 on third down. This game could come down to a late conversion situation.
This game is a toss-up. A lot is on the line for both teams. Expect a near sellout at Valley Children’s Stadium. I believe this game is going to come down to the wire and come down to who wins the turnover battle. The Red Wave gives the Bulldogs an extra boost and squeaks one out.
Fresno State 38, Oregon State 35