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Oregon State Offensive Players to Watch vs. No. 11 Oregon

Oregon State boasts the top rushing offense in the Pac-12 behind an experienced offensive line.

The Oregon State Beavers are bowl eligible for the first time in eight years, and their offense is largely to thank for their success this season. 

1. #4 B.J. Baylor - Running Back

Oregon State Beavers running back B.J. Baylor (4) is tackled by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Jack Jones (0).

Oregon State Beavers running back B.J. Baylor (4) is tackled by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Jack Jones (0).

The last time the Ducks faced the Beavers, Jermar Jefferson ripped them apart for 226 yards and two touchdowns. B.J. Baylor is next up, and he has been elite this year.

Baylor leads the Pac-12 with 1,200 rushing yards and is second with 6.1 yards per carry. He has four games with at least 150 rushing yards, and no other player in the conference has more than two such games.

He's a threat to race to the end zone on every single touch. And while he may not be the most physically imposing back at 5'11" and 205 pounds, he's as physical a back in every category as you can find in the Pac-12. Baylor will rip through arm tackles by putting his head down and lowering his shoulders, and he's got great balance to keep running after taking a hit.

The Beavers also benefit from him being a stud in pass protection and picking up blitzes. Last week against Arizona State, Sun Devils' defensive back Kejuan Markham brought pressure and Baylor blocked him off the screen and wiped him out of the play completely.

Oregon's run defense gave up a season-high 208 yards against Utah and will need to be monumentally better against the best rushing attack in the Pac-12 on Saturday.

2. #64 Nathan Eldridge - Center

Purdue defensive tackle Prince James Boyd Jr. (93) is blocked by Oregon State offensive lineman Nathan Eldridge (64).

Purdue defensive tackle Prince James Boyd Jr. (93) is blocked by Oregon State offensive lineman Nathan Eldridge (64).

The Oregon State offensive line is one of 13 semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation's best offensive line. Nathan Eldridge is quite literally at the center of all their success this year.

Eldridge has led the Beavers' offense to being the 10th-best rushing offense in the FBS and seventh in the country in sacks allowed per game at .91. His individual success last season earned him a spot on the All-Pac-12 First Team, and he's in great position to do it again this year.

Arizona State has had a really tough defense to run on this year, and Eldridge eliminated the vast majority of his assignments throughout the night, paving the way for 237 Oregon State rushing yards.

He can flatten defenders and shovel them into the ground, he'll immobilize them by getting early leverage and maintaining it with his strong grip, and he can get to the second level in the run game and throw linebackers on their backside.

3. #8 Trevon Bradford - Wide Receiver

Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Trevon Bradford (8) runs into the end zone past Utah Utes corner back Clark Phillips III (8).

Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Trevon Bradford (8) runs into the end zone past Utah Utes corner back Clark Phillips III (8).

Oregon State's passing offense has not been the strength of their team this season, but veteran receiver Trevon Bradford is a reliable target for Chance Nolan. Bradford is nearing the end of his sixth season and has been the Beavers' best receiving threat this year, leading the team with 34 catches, 527 yards and four touchdown catches.

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Bradford has had a fair amount of success in his career against Oregon with 21 catches for 264 yards in five career games against the Ducks but is still searching for his first touchdown in the rivalry. He was especially a thorn in Oregon's side in 2020 when he caught eight passes for 93 yards.

Oregon struggled to contain the passing game in the middle of the field in that game and did so again on Saturday in the loss to Utah. Bradford is a smart and talented route runner that should be able to find himself open a few times against the Ducks. Don't be surprised if he finds the end zone for the first time against the in-state rivals.

Bonus: #12 Jack Colletto - Football Player

Oregon State's Jack Colletto (12) runs into the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown against Arizona State.

Oregon State's Jack Colletto (12) runs into the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown against Arizona State.

How could I leave off "The Hammer?"

I put "football player" as Jack Colletto's position because he's listed as a 6-foot-3, 239-pound linebacker, but has spent time as a running back, fullback, quarterback, tight end, etc. He's one of the best stories in college football, but aside from being a great story, the dude can really ball.

Colletto won't be used as a primary ball carrier but he has 29 carries for 137 yards and EIGHT touchdowns this year. The Beavers will use him in goal-to-go situations, as six of his eight touchdowns are from three yards out or fewer. Against Arizona State, they plugged in him on a fourth-and-2, and he ripped off a 47-yard touchdown in what was arguably the play of the year for the Beavs.

Over the last three weeks, the Beavers have grown more comfortable unleashing "The Hammer" on offense, as he's scored a rushing touchdown in each of their last three games. They've also used him as a fullback, and against Utah he caught a touchdown pass from Nolan.

Colletto scores touchdowns on 30% of his touches, so look for the Beavers to insert him when a big score is needed.

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