No. 12 Oregon St., facing Stanford, aims to stay in Pac-12 race
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 08 Nov, 2023 at 08:12 AM
Credit: Abigail Dollins/Statesman Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
The addition of Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei at quarterback made No. 12 Oregon State a trendy pick to contend for the Pac-12 Conference title this season.
And while the Beavers are still in the hunt with three weeks remaining, the offense's focus has shifted as the year's progressed. Uiagalelei's big right arm is still an important part of the game plan, but Oregon State has made more use of a power running game behind Damien Martinez.
When the Beavers welcome conference foe Stanford to Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Martinez figures to get about 20 more chances to add to an already-glowing career resume.
In a 26-19 win at Colorado last week, Martinez chewed up 115 yards for his fourth 100-yard performance of the year, putting him 122 yards away from the 18th 1,000-yard season in program history. It was also the 10th 100-yard game in his career.
"We'll always want to be able to run the ball, make it physical," Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said.
Martinez added, "We knew that they hadn't played a team as physical as us."
The difference in the teams' running games couldn't have been starker in Boulder. While the Beavers (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) finished with 195 yards on 46 attempts and hogged the ball for nearly 36 minutes, Colorado rushed 19 times for minus-7 yards and mostly gave up on that part of the attack.
With conference leaders Washington and Oregon remaining on the schedule, Oregon State can still climb the Pac-12 standings -- and the bowl ladder. Even with a win over the Huskies on Nov. 18, however, the Beavers would need Washington to lose again for a shot at the top spot in the regular-season standings. The Beavers face the Ducks in the Civil War game in Eugene, Ore., to end the regular season on Nov. 24.
There appear to be no carrots of that size to keep motivating Stanford, but first-year coach Troy Taylor still has his team playing hard. Just ask Washington State, which ate a stunning 10-7 loss last week, a result that kept the Cardinal's slim bowl hopes alive.
The Cardinal (3-6, 2-5) made their last trip to Pullman, Wash., -- Stanford will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference starting next year -- a memorable one. They held the Cougars to 57 yards and five first downs in the second half, allowing the Cardinal to overcome their lack of firepower on a soggy day.
"It was a spectacular night for the defense," Taylor said. "They have had some tough games, but this is one of the best defensive performances I've been part of."
Stanford could be riding a 3-1 run with a 42-7 loss to UCLA on Oct. 21 the lone blemish. The Cardinal scared No. 5 Washington two weeks ago, climbing within two points in the fourth quarter before losing 42-33. Stanford erased a 29-0 halftime deficit in a 46-43 double overtime win at Colorado on Oct. 13.
It's the continuation of a four-season trend that has seen the Cardinal go 10-10 on the road and a miserable 3-15 at home.
"You're always turning that over and trying to figure out if there's something you can do differently," Taylor said.
Stanford leads the all-time series against Oregon State 59-27-3, although the Cardinal dropped a 28-27 home decision last year.
--Field Level Media