#61 Oregon State Football 2017 Preview

Oregon State Beavers
Overall Rank: #61
#10 Pac-12
Oregon State was playing much better by the end of the 2016 campaign. The Beavers finished Coach Gary Anderson’s second year with the Beavers with victories over Arizona and Oregon. There is still a long way to go, but the program appears to be headed in the proper direction. A tough schedule may prevent Oregon State from reaching their first bowl game since 2013, but expect another year of improvement in 2017.
2016 Record: 4-8, 3-6
2016 Bowl: None
Coach: Gary Anderson (6-18 at Oregon State, 55-56 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin McGiven
Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Clune
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ryan Nall, RB, 951 yards
Passing: Marcus McMaryion, QB, 1,286 yards
Receiving: Seth Collins, WR, 418 yards
Tackles: Manase Hungula, LB, 83
Sacks: Bright Ugwoegbu, LB, 5.5
Interceptions: Manase Hunhula, LB, 1; Xavier Crawford, CB, 1; Brandon Arnold, S, 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Artavis Pierce, WR Jordan Villamin, OL Gus Lavaka
Key Losses: WR Victor Bolden, OL Sean Harlow, LB Caleb Saulo, CB Treston Decould, S Devin Chappell
Running back Ryan Nall will be the centerpiece of the offense. As a sophomore last season he rushed for 951 yards and 13 touchdowns. Artavis Pierce had a very promising freshman campaign, rushing for 523 yards on 98 carries. TCU transfer Trevorris Johnson should get some carries too. As long as the offensive line can fill some holes, most notably at left tackle, the Beavers should be a very good team on the ground. However, it is very likely that this will be a one-dimensional offense again. Marcus McMaryion and Darell Garretson started six games each under center in 2016, but neither was particularly productive and OSU really struggled to move the ball through the air. While having two starters back at quarterback is better than none, the development of junior college transfer Jake Luton could be the only way this passing game gets much better in 2017. Losing Victor Bolden, who led the team with 46 receptions for 542 yards, does not help. Jordan Villamin and Seth Collins, whose status is in doubt following an illness, are the hopeful leaders of the wide receivers.
The defense improved during year two of the Coach Anderson era and Oregon State and now the goal will be to shore up the run defense. The team allowed 218.0 yards per game on the ground, ranking 102nd in the nation. The front three returns plenty of talent and depth, led by promising sophomore tackle Elu Aydon and senior ends Baker Pritchard and Phillip Napoleon. Caleb Saulo, who led the team with 95 tackles, needs to be replaced at linebacker, but this is where Oregon State has a great mixture of experience and young talent. Upperclassmen Manase Hungalu and Bright Ugwoegbu will return to their starting jobs and younger players like Andrzej Hughes-Murray are brimming with potential and ready to take the next step. Cornerback Xavier Crawford was named a Freshman All-American after recording 70 tackles, 10 pass breakups and one interception. He is ready to cover the opposition’s best receiver and take over for the departed Treston Decoud, but somebody needs to emerge on the other side.
The Bottom Line:
With a little improvement in the rush defense and the pass offense, Oregon State should be more competitive in 2017. With non-conference games at Colorado State and against Minnesota, it is possible the Beavers only win one game leading up to their Pac-12 opener at Washington State. Those teams that OSU beat at home last year are on the road this time and it is tough to see this team winning too many road games even if they are against the likes of Arizona and California. The bowl game will have to wait for now.
Projected Bowl: None
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 191.7 (49th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 173.8 (110, 11)
Total Offense: 365.5 (105, 12)
Scoring Offense: 26.2 (86, 10)
Rushing Defense: 218.0 (102, 10)
Pass Defense: 211.2 (44, 4)
Total Defense: 429.2 (79, 8)
Scoring Defense: 30.5 (82, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.08 (54, 7)
Sacks: 1.50 (105, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (64, 6)
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
# 208 Isaiah Hodgins