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First look at the Oregon State Beavers

Conference play is upon us

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Ohio State Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats have captured their first win of the season against Southern Utah. They will now head to Corvallis to open conference play against the Oregon State Beavers.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT and it will air on the Pac-12 Network. Let’s get to know a little bit more about OSU before then.

First Look

2018 Record — 1-2; Week 1 loss at Ohio State (77-31), Week 2 win versus Southern Utah (48-25), Week 3 loss at Nevada (37-35)

Key Offensive PlayersConor Blount/Jake Luton (QB), Jermar Jefferson (RB), Isaiah Hodgins (WR)

Key Defensive PlayersJonathan Willis (LB), Isaiah Tufaga (LB), Jalen Moore (Safety), Isaiah Dunn (CB)

The Stats

Who would have guessed before kickoff of week one that the Beavers would enter this matchup with equal non-conference success as Arizona? Certainly not me, but that is the case.

Oregon State had a chance to beat Nevada on the road with a game-winning field goal as time expired. Despite recording 540 total yards of offense, the Beavers were unable to escape with the win.

The quarterback position has not been solidified as there has been a healthy rotation between Conor Blount and Jake Luton. According to the stat sheet, Conor Blount has been far more impressive but Jake Luton was the guy last year before suffering a season-ending injury.

With the injury to Artavis Pierce, freshman running back Jermar Jefferson will receive a major uptick in action. Jefferson rushed for the third-highest single game total in program history during their week two matchup against Southern Utah.

He continued to impress as he rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Arizona’s defense will have their hands full with the freshman as they’ve proven themselves unable to stop the run.

As for the receivers, Isaiah Hodgins and Timmy Hernandez had break games against Nevada. They combined for 25 receptions, 316 yards and two scores.

Defensively speaking, Oregon State has a sound group of linebackers and secondary players. Senior Jonathan Willis is the heart of the defense. Another linebacker to keep an eye on is freshman Isaiah Tufaga who has had an impressive start to the season. He led the team in tackles against Southern Utah with nine.

They experienced a couple injuries to safety David Morris and cornerback Jay Irvine. However, underclassmen like Isaiah Dunn and Jalen Moore have been able to step in to fill those voids.

This game was considered a surefire win for Arizona before the season started. Now the Wildcats find themselves in a position where they should expect a close game.

I don’t like throwing around the term “must win” in week four of the season, however, considering the strength of remaining opponents and the 1-2 start, this is a must win game.