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Oregon State expert previews the Arizona game and makes a prediction

oregon-state-beavers-expert-analysis-building-the-dam-arizona-wildcats-pac-12 Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats return home after a dreadful two-game California trip for a Homecoming tilt against the Oregon State Beavers.

OSU (3-4, 2-3 Pac-12) is coming off a bye, but prior to that it won at Cal for its second straight conference road victory.

To help better understand the Beavers, we reached out to Travis Johannes of SB Nation sister site Building the Dam for some insight. Here’s our Q&A.

It says a lot about how down a program has been when three wins (two in the Pac-12) is considered progress. Is this improvement just the result of variance or does Jonathan Smith have things moving in the right direction?

There is definitely some positive momentum with the program in my opinion. This team has been competitive in almost every game except Utah (maybe Oklahoma State, depending on your definition of competitive). That being said we saw the same thing in Year 2 of Gary Andersen (Beavs went 4-8 with three Pac-12 wins) so we will definitely have to see if they can keep this up.

So as long as Jake Luton can stay healthy he looks like a pretty darn good. What’s been most effective about his play?

The fact that he has only one turnover this season is extremely underrated. He has also improved his mobility from years before. He is by no means Khalil Tate, but he is no longer a statue in the pocket.

Oregon State has some tremendous skill players. How does the offense make sure they all get their touches?

Honestly it’s only really two guys right now. Isaiah Hodgins (no receiver has stepped up as the No. 2 in Trevon Bradford’s place) and RB ArtavisPierce (until Jermar Jefferson returns). That being said it has been very effective. Both Bradford and Jefferson could play this week so we will see how they manage the offense.

Defense still remains a big issue for OSU, something Arizona fans are well-versed in, but there has to be some bright spots. Who should the Wildcats be most concerned about?

Hamiclar Rashed Jr. hasbeen an absolute beast for the defense this year. He will likely be spending some time in the Wildcat backfield on Saturday

Is there any reason why the Beavers have fared so much better on the road than at home?

It’s a weird thing to be honest. Until last year's win at Colorado the Beavs hadn't won a road game since Mike Riley was the man in charge. I have no idea why the team fares better on the road right now, but I hope it continues this weekend.

Prediction time. Who takes this rare day game in Tucson, and is the over a lock?

I’m obviously biased, but I’m gonna say the Beavs pull out a squeaker. This feels like the over is an easy bet, but for some reason I think the teams surprise a bit and maybe some defense shows up and we get a lower score than expected.