Castro Masaniai took to Twitter on Sunday night to express what many in the Oregon State football team’s defensive front seven have been feeling.

“Looking forward to FINALLY playing a prostyle offense,” the senior defensive tackle wrote.

The Beavers faced three straight spread teams that ended up throwing the ball frequently, and it was frustrating for the big guys up front.

All the action was in the secondary.

Masaniai, fellow tackle Andrew Seumalo and middle linebackers Kevin Unga and Rueben Robinson have been sidelined frequently as the Beavers have been forced to use their dime and nickel personnel.

That all changes Saturday afternoon when the No. 10 Beavers go to Provo, Utah, for a nonconference clash with BYU.

The Cougars average 189.0 yards a game on the ground with a slew of running backs.

“It’s coming back around and we are going to play some more standard offenses,” coach Mike Riley said. “They have a good receiving corp. and a physical line. It will be a change of approach from this last weekend.”

The Beavers counter with the fourth-best rush defense at 67.3 yards a game. And those numbers haven’t come from the lack of running attempts.

UCLA and Arizona wanted to run the ball, but weren’t able to against the Beavers. Wisconsin was a prostyle offense and couldn’t do much, either.

The Beavers are also up to the physical challenge after some lackluster games in one area or another. And a chance to get some revenge is motivation after losing to BYU last year, 38-28, in Corvallis.

“We have so much potential to win every game on our schedule,” defensive end Scott Crichton said. “We haven’t played as a team yet. We are not consistent right now. We didn’t play well against Arizona (two weekends ago). We’ll have to play like we did against Washington State every week, and we’ll like the result.”

BYU’s regular starter at quarterback, Riley Nelson, is expected to be back this week after missing two weeks due to a back injury.

He will be needed since Taysom Hill, who has been filling in, hurt his knee last Friday in a 6-3 win over Utah State.

“If Riley Nelson is back, we are going to see a guy who is competitive and versatile,” Riley said.

Nelson had a standout game against the Beavers last year, throwing for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 87 yards.

BYU’s defense, however, makes the team go. The Cougars have the best run defense in the country at 59.5 yards a game and the scoring defense is third at 8.8 points a game.

BYU has not allowed an offensive touchdown in three games or 300 yards in 12 straight games, dating back to the OSU game last season.

“They are very physical,” Riley said. “They are one of the best defenses around. It is incredible their scores. They fly to the ball and play sound defense. You have to be physical back and real sound.”

The Beavers have recently gotten their running game going. They are up to 118.5 yards a game, but that could be difficult to maintain against these Cougars.

BYU’s pass defense, 12th in the nation at 169.8 yards a game, is pretty impressive, too.

The Beavers are without starting quarterback Sean Mannion for an indefinite time with a knee injury he suffered against Washington State.

Backup Cody Vaz will start and be challenged by different looks and pressure in his first career start.

A large part of BYU’s success is the competition with Washington State, Weber State, Hawaii and Utah State not being juggernauts. However, the Cougars are playing confident at a high level.

“It’s the execution and the personal in their scheme,” Riley said. “They have their personnel placed perfectly. They’ll blitz you and throw you curveballs.”

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers Oregon State sports for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at

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