Beavers vs. Cardinal: Setting the Stage
No. 13 Oregon State (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) at No. 16 Stanford (7-2, 5-1), 3 p.m. (FOX)
Line: Stanford by 4 1/2.
Series Record: Stanford leads 50-26-3.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The game is essentially a Pac-12 North Division semifinal. Both teams still have to play second-ranked Oregon, so if neither slips in its only other conference game left, the winner will face the Ducks with a chance to advance to the league championship.
Oregon State's rushing offense against Stanford's rushing defense. The Cardinal lead the nation in rushing defense (55.5 yards), in large part because they also lead the country in sacks (4.4) and tackles for loss (9.22) per game. The Beavers use a bevy of running backs but rank 10th in the Pac-12 with 114.6 yards rushing per game. They'll likely have to get something going on the ground to ease the pressure on QB Cody Vaz and slow Stanford's relentless pass rush.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Oregon State: WRs Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. The receiving combo has averaged more than 211 yards receiving a game. Cooks, a sophomore, is averaging 113.25 yards, ranking him seventh among Football Bowl Subdivision players, while senior Wheaton is No. 13 with 98.4.
Stanford: QB Kevin Hogan. The redshirt sophomore will be making his first collegiate start. A dual-threat quarterback, Hogan has shown Andrew Luck-like ability, albeit in spot duty against inferior opponents. He played sparingly in read-option packages until relieving Josh Nunes who has started every game after Stanford's first two drives stalled at Colorado last week. Hogan picked apart the nation's worst defense, throwing for 184 yards and two touchdowns and running for 48 yards in two quarters of work, leading the Cardinal past Colorado 48-0.
FACTS & FIGURES: The teams are the stingiest scoring defenses in the Pac-12. Stanford is allowing 16.6 points per game, and Oregon State is giving up 18.1 a contest. ... Stanford has won the last two games and three of the previous four in the series, including last season's 38-13 win in Corvallis. ... Stanford has won seven straight and 18 of the last 19 at homes heading into "Senior Day." ... Oregon State has won three of its four road games this season. All three wins came on natural grass at BYU, Arizona and UCLA which is also the playing surface at Stanford Stadium. The lone road loss came on synthetic turf at Washington, which is also the site of Stanford's only Pac-12 defeat this season.