Oregon State is in the third year of a rebuilding job under former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, and the Beavers haven’t hit their stride, going 2-10, 4-8 and 1-1 so far. The Beavers average 31 points but are giving up 45. Last year, the Gophers beat Oregon State 30-23 in the season opener at TCF.
Player to watch
Junior RB Ryan Nall (above) made his presence known against the Gophers last year, rushing 13 times for 71 yards. The 6-2, 237-pounder rushed 31 times for 174 yards this season and has been a strong complement to QB Jake Luton.
Gophers offense vs. Beavers defense
Minnesota has issues on offense — it scored 17 points vs. Buffalo. And OSU has issues on defense — it allows 520 yards per game. Look for the Gophers to try to open things up but still feed the Beavers a heavy dose of Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. Advantage: Even
Gophers defense vs. Beavers offense
Luton is averaging 36 passes per game — but he’s thrown it to the opponent four times already. The U’s secondary, led by Antoine Winfield Jr., will test him. Advantage: Gophers
Emmit Carpenter uncharacteristically missed two kicks against Buffalo, but his body of work is strong. Ryan Santoso averaged 44.7 yards on six punts against Buffalo and had three touchbacks in four kickoffs. Advantage: Gophers
The Gophers are making a rare West Coast trip, with a 9 p.m. Central start, so they’ll need to adjust. OSU has practiced through the smoke of nearby wildfires, so the Beavers should be used to that distraction. The home crowd at night should help. Advantage: Beavers
OREGON STATE 20
In a tight contest, go with the better D. And that belongs to the Gophers, who create a couple of takeaways and escape.