Published October 11, 2012
No. 10 Oregon State (4-0) at Brigham Young (4-2), 3:30 p.m. ABC
Line: BYU by 3 1/2
Series Record: Tied at 5-5
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Beavers are seeking their first 5-0 start since 1939 but will have to rely on a quarterback making his first college start. BYU has had its own QB issues, but Saturday's game is a chance to showcase a top-five defense against a Top 10 team. The last ranked team BYU beat was No. 18 Oregon State in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl.
Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz hasn't started since high school, but with Sean Mannion out he'll face one of the stingiest defenses, one that hasn't allowed an offense to score in 13 straight quarters. The key will be how Vaz and his line handle the pressure BYU will bring with Ezekiel Ansah, Kyle Van Noy and Spencer Hadley. The Beavers still have the dangerous receiving duo of WRs Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brigham Young: QB Riley Nelson has missed the last two games with what he said were "back fractures" but insists he's pain-free and ready to go. With freshman Taysom Hill out for the year with a knee injury, the backup is untested James Lark if Nelson can't sustain the hits by a Beavers defense that ranks firstt in the Pac-12 against the run and first nationally in third-down conversions.
Oregon State: Wheaton ranks fifth in the nation in receptions per game and could pose problems for BYU's corners, especially Jordan Johnson, who likes to gamble. Wheaton has caught a pass in 27 straight games and also is a threat on the ground.
FACTS & FIGURES
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall was a defensive back on the last Oregon State team to visit Provo, a 10-7 Beavers' upset in 1986. .... The game is homecoming for BYU and the Cougars are wearing all-black uniforms for the first time in the modern era. ... BYU linebacker Uani Unga transferred from Oregon State but his twin, Feti, is still at Oregon State. Both play linebacker and wear No. 41, though Feti is wearing Taumoepeau on his jersey to honor their mother and her maiden name.