Oregon State returns home for its penultimate game in Reser Stadium this season as the Beavers play California at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Beavers are coming off a 24-21 loss at Washington, but have won three of their past four games. California has dropped five consecutive games, but narrowly lost at USC 41-35 last Saturday.
Here is a preview:
California (3-6, 1-5 Pac-12) at Oregon State (6-3, 3-3)
Time: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Reser Stadium
Coaches: OSU’s Jonathan Smith (fifth year, 22-31), California’s Justin Wilcox (sixth year, 29-34).
Latest line: Beavers by 14
TV channel: Pac-12 Network (Xfinity Comcast 420/421/720, Dish 406, Charter Spectrum 332/452)
How to watch live stream online: You can watch this game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial) or with Sling TV (promotional offers) if you are out of fuboTV trials, or simply prefer that platform and their pricing plans. You can also watch this match live on Pac-12 Live with your cable or satellite provider login information.
Channel finder, more ways to watch: Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, Comcast / Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimum/Altice, Cox, DIRECTV, Dish.
On the air: Radio on KEX (1190), KPOJ (620), Sirius 83, Sirius XM 83, Sirius XM App 83
Oregon State offense vs. California defense
Conditions are optimal for an improved offensive effort this week, as the Beavers won’t have Husky Stadium’s gusty wind to mess up the passing game. With Chance Nolan remaining on the sidelines, Ben Gulbranson makes his fifth consecutive start. The third-year freshman has been hit and miss. Against Stanford four weeks ago, Gulbranson was 20 of 28 for 250 yards and two touchdowns. But last week vs. UW, a dreadful 12 of 19 for 87 yards. Oregon State doesn’t need Gulbranson to win the game with his arm, just supplement an offense led by a potent running game. Of late, the Beavers are powered on the ground by freshman Damien Martinez, who has three consecutive 100-yard games. OSU’s three-man running back committee of Martinez (624 yards), Deshaun Fenwick (393) and Jam Griffin (377) have combined for 1,394 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Tre’Shaun Harrison remains the Beavers’ top receiving threat, with 39 catches for 492 yards.
The Bears strength under sixth-year coach Justin Wilcox has been defense, but it’s struggling this season. Cal’s past three opponents – admittedly good ones in Washington, Oregon, USC – produced an average of 526 yards a game. The Bears have only held one team under 100 yards rushing in 2022. Oregon (174 yards) and USC (155) had no trouble running the ball. The Beavers running game is as good, maybe better, than those. Linebacker Jackson Sirmon leads Cal’s defense with 81 tackles, and posted a season high 13 against Oregon. The Bears are capable in takeaways, with 10 interceptions and three fumble recoveries. In making plays behind the line of scrimmage, Myles Jernigan has a team-high three sacks, and Collin Gamble six tackles for loss.
Oregon State defense vs. California offense
California brings an experienced quarterback and promising, young skill players to Corvallis. It’s led to inconsistency but an offense that’s surging of late. In its past two games, the Bears generated 402 yards against Oregon, and 469 yards against USC. Quarterback Jack Plummer, who faced the Beavers a year ago while at Purdue, is piling up numbers. Through nine games, Plummer is 213 of 340 for 2,374 yards and 16 touchdowns, with six interceptions. Plummer threw for a season-high 406 yards in last Saturday’s loss to USC. Cal’s most dangerous offensive player is freshman running back Jaydn Ott. He’s a multiple threat, as Ott has 725 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, and 31 catches for 313 yards and two scores through the air. Freshman receiver J. Michael Sturidvant hasn’t caught fewer than six passes in last five games. He leads the Bears with 51 receptions for 570 yards and six touchdowns.
Oregon State has established itself as one of the conference’s top defenses. Through nine games, only Fresno State has compiled more than 400 yards offense against the Beavers. OSU’s pass efficiency defense ranks ninth in the country. The Beavers are among the conference’s top three in run, total and scoring defense. Despite Ott’s presence, the Bears have had trouble running the ball during their five-game losing streak, averaging 53 rushing yards a game. If they can’t run the ball against the Beavers, it could be a long game, as this is likely the best pass defense Cal has faced in 2022. OSU has five players with at least 45 tackles this season, led by safety Kitan Oladapo’s 52. The Beavers are better than average at takeaways, with 11 interceptions and four fumble recoveries this season.
Must be Oregon State’s running game against Cal, no? In a revved up Reser Stadium, if the Beavers continue to produce on the ground, it’s going to difficult for California to stay in the game. OSU seems to thrive at home with the running game and defense. If the Bears have success and force the Beavers to win through the air, it could get interesting.
Oregon State is 9-1 at Reser Stadium the past two seasons, outscoring opponents by an average of 33-16.
Martinez is the first Oregon State freshman since Jacquizz Rodgers in 2008 to run for 100 yards in three consecutive games.
Saturday’s game is part of parents weekend at Oregon State.
Ott is third and Martinez seventh among freshmen running backs in rushing yardage nationally this season.
Cal punter Jamieson Sheahan averages 45.0 yards per kick, 12th nationally. Sheahan is only 0.6 yards per punt behind school-record holder Bryan Anger’s 2010 mark of 45.6.
Oregon State 34, California 13
–Nick Daschel | email@example.com | @nickdaschel