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Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. Oregon State
BYU came into the season with high expectations, and those expectations went
through the roof when the Cougars were able to upset #3 ranked Oklahoma in the
season opener. While those expectations might have been unreasonable after the
way we saw Oklahoma finish the year, BYU was still unable to have that BCS
buster year, but they still had a very good year.
The Cougars finished the year 10-2 with their only losses coming to a solid Florida State team and a TCU team thatís headed to the Fiesta Bowl. BYU finds themselves once again in the Las Vegas Bowl where they have landed the last five years, but this year there is some extra motivation for Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall with him playing the same Oregon State program that he played for as student athlete and coached as a graduate assistant.
He is 2-2 in Las Vegas Bowls, and would love to have a winning record after this Tuesday, but this will be a difficult task playing a very good Oregon State team who was one game away from winning a Pac 10 Title. The Beavers finished their year 8-4 with losses to Cincinnati, Arizona, USC, and Oregon. Cincinnati and Oregon both find themselves in BCS Bowl Games, so strength of schedule is not something to question with this Oregon State football team.
The last two years they had to win the last game of the year against their instate rival Oregon to win the Pac 10 Title, but both years they were unable to do so. The good news for Oregon State fans is that is a sign of good things to come with this program, and a bowl win would help keep the momentum going.
When you think of Oregon State and their offense the first name that comes to mind is RB Jaquizz Rodgers. Rodgers has rushed for over 1200 yards and has 11 rushing TDís on the year, but where the strength of this offense is their passing game, and thatís where you attack this BYU defense. The Beavers are ranked 1st in the Pac 10 in pass offense averaging 275 yards per game through the air. QB Sean Canfield has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season to go with 21 TD passes. This passing attack is very potent, but it all starts with the run and Rodgers.
Oregon State likes to pound the ball early to make those safeties cheat up then they beat you over the top. BYU is ranked 2nd in the Mountain West in rush defense allowing just 112 yards per game, so whoever is able to get the best out of this matchup will have a great chance to win the ball game. If BYU can stop the run and force QB Sean Canfield into passing downs where they can drop more into coverage and try to force some turnovers then they will have the advantage, but if RB Jaquizz Rodgers gets things going early and softens up this Cougar defense then Oregon Stateís passing game should be able to beat this defense vertically.
THE FINAL VERDICT
No motivational edges for either side that we can see. In fact, both squads are likely disappointed to be here. Both had their sights set higher. Heck, BYU should be insulted at 10-2 to be put in a bowl game before xmas! 10-2 should get you a New Years Eve Bowl game at the very least! Oregon State can't be too happy either. From the Rose Bowl to the Vegas Bowl. Ouch.
The action on this game has been one way. All Oregon State. The Game opened Oregon State -1.5 and now sits at -2.5 and -3 in some spots. We're going to go the other way, however. Every way we know of to make a line on a game, has this one as a one or two point game. The two teams have one common opponent, UNLV. Both teams played UNLV on the road, at this very stadium, with BYU winning 59-21 and Oregon State winning 23-21. This one figures to go to the wire so we'll gladly take a field goal here with the 10-2 Cougars - BYU +3 - buy the half if you need to.
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