Oregon State is looking to add another victory before it faces a tough couple of games to end the regular season.
The No. 12 Beavers (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12, No. 12 CFP) host Stanford (3-6, 2-5) on Saturday at Reser Stadium. After that, it's a game at home against No. 5 Washington before visiting No. 6 Oregon over Thanksgiving weekend.
Oregon State is a three-touchdown favorite over the Cardinal as fans calculate the permutations for reaching the Pac-12 title game. Winning out is important, but the Beavers will also need help.
“The more games you win, the bigger the games get,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said when asked about the final three games of the season.
After a 26-19 victory on the road against Colorado last weekend, Beavers running back Damien Martinez said they'll keep the same mindset against the Cardinal — and beyond.
“Means the same,” he said. “Go out and win every game. Stay focused.”
Stanford is coming off a 10-7 victory at Washington State. All of the Cardinal's wins have come on the road.
“Going on the road is always one of those things where there’s going to be a lot against you in terms of the crowd and the environment and being a little bit more uncomfortable in terms of your preparation and all those things,” Stanford coach Troy Taylor said. “So we try to keep everybody the same. But I do think it displays kind of your mental toughness as players and as a team to go in and know that everything is going to be against you and you’re going to have to focus and show great resolve."
The Cardinal will need to defeat the Beavers and win their final two games at home against rival California and Notre Dame to become bowl eligible.
Martinez needs 122 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season and become the 18th player in Oregon State history to have a 1,000-yard season.
He has rushed for at least 100 yards in four games and is ranked second in the Pac-12 with an average of 97.6 yards a game. Last weekend, he racked up 115 yards rushing against the Buffaloes.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Because of a bye and a pair of road games, Oregon State hasn't played at home since a 36-24 victory over UCLA on Oct. 14.
“Excited about another sellout,” Smith said. “Another opportunity for Beaver nation to help us out making it difficult on an opponent, because we're playing a team that's pretty good on the road."
Oregon State is also enshrining its 2023 Hall of Fame class, which includes former coach Mike Riley, wide receiver Mike Hass, running back Steven Jackson and kicker Alexis Serna.
TICKLING THE IVORIES
Stanford's postgame notes after the victory over Washington State contained an interesting little nugget. The Cardinal are 2-0 when coach Taylor is able to play a piano at the team hotel.
“As Michael Scott said, I’m a little superstitious. So we might have to find a way to get a piano. You don’t want to overthink streaks or whatever it is. I can hack it up with the best of them on the piano," he said.
PERHAPS THE LAST
The two teams have a long history of playing each other, with Stanford leading the series 59-27-3. That's about to come to an end for the foreseeable future. The Cardinal are bolting for the ACC next year, while Oregon State and Washington State remain the lone teams still in the Pac-12 Conference.
AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow in San Francisco contributed to this report.
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