FACTS & STATS: Site: Reser Stadium (45,674) — Corvallis, Oregon.
Television: FS1. Home Record: SDSU 1-0, OSU 1-0. Away Record: SDSU 0-1, OSU
1-0. Neutral Record: SDSU 0-0, OSU 0-0. Conference Record: SDSU 0-0, OSU 0-0.
Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: San Diego State seeks its first road win of the season on Saturday
night, as the Aztecs head to Reser Stadium to challenge the Oregon State
Beavers in a non-conference battle.
The Aztecs played the first two weeks of the new season before enjoying a bye
last weekend, giving them a chance to regroup following a 31-27 loss to
nationally-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill. A week earlier, SDSU kicked
off the 2014 campaign on the right foot with a 38-7 rout of Northern Arizona
at Qualcomm Stadium.
Oregon State has enjoyed a similar road thus far, taking time off last weekend
after winning the first two games of the campaign. Like SDSU, the Beavers also
took down an opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision in the first
week with a 29-14 triumph over Portland State, but unlike the Aztecs, OSU
forged on to then defeat Hawaii on the road, 38-30, the following Saturday.
Last season, the Beavers squeezed by SDSU with a 34-30 victory in California,
forging a 2-2 tie in the all-time series between the squads.
After a scoreless first quarter at Kenan Stadium two weeks ago, the Aztecs
fell behind by a touchdown and then rattled off three straight TDs to assume
control in enemy territory, but then the offense disappeared altogether.
Quarterback Quinn Kaehler converted 23-of-39 passes for 341 yards and a score,
but was also picked off three times by the UNC defense, the last two coming in
the final two drives of the game for the Aztecs.
Running back Donnel Pumphrey accounted for a game-high 100 yards and two TDs
on 17 rushing attempts, while Chase Price carried the ball another 16 times
for 71 yards in the SDSU ground attack.
Defensively, San Diego State was all over the Tar Heels through much of the
first three quarters, but then it all fell apart as the team surrendered 24
points on four successive UNC possessions. Jon Sanchez finished with six
tackles, one for loss, and intercepted a pass, the lone forced turnover by the
Kaehler, one of two walk-on starters at quarterback in the nation last season,
has now thrown for at least 200 yards in 14 consecutive games, the third-
longest streak in the country behind only Rakeem Cato of Marshall (31 games)
and, ironically enough, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion (15). However, passing
yards is one thing and touchdowns/interceptions is something entirely
different, and right now the SDSU signal caller has just two aerial scores
against four INTs.
Helping to make up the difference is Pumphrey who has run for 211 yards,
averaging close to six yards per attempt, and has landed in the end zone four
times in two games.
In addition to Kaehler making some better decisions in the pocket, the other
area of concern for the Aztecs heading into this weekend has to be with
kickoff returns where they are 123rd in the nation with an average of only 7.7
yards per opportunity.
Unlike Kaehler, Mannion has yet to experience the lows of tossing too many
interceptions this year, having been picked off only once in 82 attempts.
Against Hawaii, the OSU quarterback threw a trio of TDs as he completed 26-
of-37 passes for an even 300 yards. Almost half of his completions went to
Victor Bolden, who caught 11 balls for a game-high 119 yards and a score.
Not to be outdone, running back Terron Ward stepped up his efforts as he ran
for a game-high 124 yards and landed in the end zone twice.
Against a team that is coming off an awful 2013 season, the Beavers allowed
Hawaii a bit too much elbow room and while OSU was able to limit the host to
just 100 yards on the ground, there were an uncharacteristic four rushing TDs
logged by the Warriors.
The early returns for the Beavers have been rather favorable, particularly in
the turnover department where they are tied for fourth in the country at
plus-2.0 turnovers per contest. Shutting down opponents on third down has also
been a speciality of OSU, with the team ranking first in the FBS while
allowing foes to convert a mere 17.9 percent of such plays for first downs.
Another strong point shows Oregon State ranked second in the country in pass
efficiency defense with a rating of only 65.12 through the first three weeks
of the season.
As long as the Aztecs can be productive on the ground and maintain possession
of the ball they’ll have a fighting chance in this meeting. The most important
goal for SDSU will be to keep the ball out of the hands of Mannion and the
quick-strike OSU offense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 38, San Diego State 27