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Utah Football 2014 Season Preview: Oregon State

The Utes are hoping to snap a two-game losing streak to the Beavers, but will have to do it on the road in the hostile environment of Reser Stadium. Andy Woolridge of helps us dissect the matchup.

With the preseason right around the corner, it's never too early to look into the Pac-12 conference schedule. Andy Woolridge of joined us to talk about the Oregon State game, a pivotal game for Utah, as they need to break through on the road in the conference, as well as snap a two-game losing streak to the Beavers.

In 2013, OSU quarterback Sean Mannion torched the Utah secondary, completing 27 of 44 passes for 443 yards and five touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. This season, however, the Beavers will be without the services of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints, which is good because he caught nine passes for 210 yards and three of those touchdowns.

"While the Beavers don't have to replace Brandin Cooks, they have to replace his production," Woolridge noted, "and that's going to have to be a group effort. Victor Bolden [5-9, 175] will be the person, specifically, to step in for Brandin, and he's got many of the same tools and the same kind of speed."

Junior wide receiver Richard Mullaney, a 6-3, 197-pounder, is expected to contribute as a more consistent, possession-type receiver. And Woolridge thinks a tight end, one of the strengths of this year's OSU squad, could be the number two receiver for the Beavs.

Utah starting quarterback Travis Wilson threw for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions, while also rushing for 147 yards and three more scores. Utes running back Bubba Poole ran for 127 yards and a touchdown.

"People had pretty well figured out once we got pretty late in the season that Oregon State was not going to be, essentially, running the ball very much, so they were selling out more and more so to stop the pass," Woolridge said, which may hold true in the 2014 season.

On the other side of the ball, the Beavers should be better defensively, which may not make Utah happy, as two players ran for over 120 yards. Also last season, the Washington Huskies ran over, around, and through OSU defense for over 500 yards rushing. It will be interesting to see if Oregon State can either run the ball this season or stop the run themselves. Woolridge believes if the OSU defense is going to improve, it has to begin in the linebacking corps.

Utah and Oregon State kickoff the 2014 game at 8 pm MT on September 16 in Corvallis, Ore. Utah hasn't had much luck in Reser Stadium, losing their last two, including the 2007 game (7-24), which also cost the Utes running back Matt Asiata with a season-ending leg injury and quarterback Brian Johnson with a separated shoulder. If Utah is to improve its overall and Pac-12 record, it's going to need a little luck along the way, and Corvallis is as good a place as any to start.

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