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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Oregon State Beavers

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Week 12

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Oregon State at Arizona Photo by Chris Coduto/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ASU’s 2021 Schedule

Sep. 2: vs. Southern Utah (Thu.)

Sep. 11: vs. UNLV

Sep. 18: @ BYU

Sep. 25: vs. Colorado

Oct. 2: @ UCLA

Oct. 8: vs. Stanford (Fri.)

Oct. 16: @ Utah

Oct. 30: vs. Washington State

Nov. 6: vs. USC

Nov. 13: @ Washington

Nov. 20: @ Oregon State

Nov. 27: vs. Arizona

Oregon State’s 2020 Season

With the 2020 season plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon State football team seemed to dodge a bullet. They played all seven slated games but ended with a disappointing 2-5 record.

Arizona State defeated Oregon State 46-33 in the last game of the regular season. Arizona State was able to edge them out based on rushing yards and quarterback ability.

Key Returners

Quarterback Tristian Gebbia is back from injury after suffering a torn hamstring last season. This year, however, Gebbia has some competition — his backup Chance Nolan and Colorado transfer, Sam Noyer. Nolan took over for Gebbia after the injury and was able to hold his own. Noyer, a 2020 second team All-Pac-12 selection, passed for 1,280 yards and six touchdowns last season. The Portland native is right in the mix for the starting job.

Avery Roberts, inside linebacker, enters 2021 with 152 tackles, and 2.5 sacks. He finished second in the Pac-12 for tackles per game (11.5). He is a force on the defensive end and a key returner to the Beavers lineup. For the 2021 season, Roberts has already been placed on national watch lists.

Inside linebacker Omar Speights is returning with 136 career tackles on his resume with 4.5 sacks.

Both Roberts and Speights led OSU in total tackles last season, with 69 and 63 respectively.

Andrzej Hughes-Murray, outside linebacker, elected to take a sixth year and return to the Oregon State lineup. He has 101 tackles going into this season and plans to significantly add to that number.

All four of the Beavers captains from the 2020 season will return: Gebbia, Hughes-Murray, Jaydon Grant and Isaac Hodgins.

Biggest Losses

Easily one of the biggest losses for Oregon State is running back Jermar Jefferson. Jefferson is was drafted in 2021 to the Detroit Lions. Jefferson averaged 143 yards per game with OSU and finished second in the Pac-12 for rushing yards per game and rushing touchdowns. When all else failed, the Beavers could turn to Jefferson to get the job done. But now, that saftey net is gone.

The Beavers also lost defensive back Nahshon Wright. Wright was the 99th pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The current Dallas Cowboy left Oregon State with 64 tackles, five interceptions and the 2020 Coaches All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

Reason Why ASU Could Win

Without Jefferson, Arizona State seems to have an advantage in the running game. With both a dual-threat quarterback and a handful of star running backs, Arizona State should dominate on the ground.

Arizona State has a veteran secondary that is hungry. Chase Lucas will be returning for his fifth year. Evan Fields and Jack Jones will also be back on the field this season, keeping the veteran secondary unit intact for one more year. It’s a dangerous group that could easily give Arizona State the edge.

Reason Why ASU Could Lose

Oregon State has welcomed a handful of transfers this season. If the transfers can mix well into the OSU culture, they can provide the team with a much needed boost.

Oregon State is the home team in this year’s matchup. With fans back in the stands, home-field advantage will mean a lot more this season. Students will be loud and proud in orange and black which could give Oregon State the momentum needed to get the win.