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The subject of defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was brought up during Oregon State head coach Mike Riley’s press conference Monday. Riley immediately smirked and acknowledged how tough it would be against another physical defensive line.
“That’s a key ingredient,” he said, talking about having to block Lotulelei. “It’s amazing how many of these games come down to those players that we have to block up front.”
- Utah (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12) vs. No. 8 Oregon State (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12)
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 20
- Time: 7:30 PDT
- Site: Reser Stadium (45,674/FieldTurf) Corvallis, Ore.
- TV: ESPN2
- Radio: ESPN700, SIRIUS/XM (94/199)
- Series Record: OSU leads 9-6-1
- Last Meeting: 2011 (Utah 27-8)
- Kickoff Weather: Chance of showers, temps near 50
Oregon State has obviously gotten drastically better since last season when the Beavers finished 3-9. Currently Oregon State is ranked eighth in the BCS standings after getting off to a 5-0 start this year, including a 42-21 win over BYU last week in Provo. Riley credits the Beavers’ play in the trenches as a big reason for the turnaround.
“BYU, a year ago, just beat us up and so did Utah,” he said. “So we’re going to have to have another monster effort by the line, by the tight ends, by the running back in blocking that group.”
Riley credits the team’s ability to get tougher in the trenches to its maturity.
“I think experience is a great thing and I think work is the other thing,” he said. “Our kids got to play (last year) and they found out what they needed and they went to work.”
Riley believes that where the Beavers will be different from last year’s matchup with the Utes — which the Utes won in Salt Lake 27-8 — will be in that newfound energy and athleticism.
“I think in the lines, both lines, everybody’s bigger, faster, stronger because of their work and then hopefully they used their experience and made themselves better players,” he said. “If you do that with enough guys, you can have a better team and I think that’s what we’re seeing.”
The win in Salt Lake last year for the Utes was the first Pac-12 win in program history. The Utes will be looking for their first Pac-12 win of the season on Saturday night, 9:30 MT when they take on the Beavers in Corvallis. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Trevor Amicone is the founder of byutahinsiders.com, which covers BYU, Utah and national college football with weekly polls, bowl projections, opinions and analysis. Follow its brand new Twitter page at @BYUtahInsiders and Trevor's at @TrevorAmicone.