BY KERRY EGGERS/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Buffaloes favored, but not by much against what is bound to be an emotional game for Oregon State

BEAVERS FOOTBALLThe Giant Killers are returning to Corvallis this weekend for a 50-year reunion celebrating their storied 1967 season, when they knocked off No. 1-ranked Southern Cal and No. 2 Purdue and tied No. 2 UCLA in a span of four weeks.

The GK clan — 70-somethings now — aren't visiting with the idea that their alma mater will get steamrolled on their own turf.

Oregon State plays host to Colorado Saturday, its first non-top-20 opponent in more than a month.BEAVERS FOOTBALL

The Buffaloes, defending Pac-12 North champions, are 3-3 and in the throes of a three-game losing streak after having fallen to Washington (37-10), UCLA (27-23) and Arizona (45-42) on successive weekends.

Colorado is loaded on offense, with dual-threat sophomore quarterback Steven Montez at the controls. The Buffaloes amassed 29 first downs and 551 yards total offense against Arizona, with running back Phillip Lindsay putting up Earthquake Enyart-like numbers — 41 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns. But Colorado couldn't contain Arizona's suddenly legendary Khalil Tate, who in his first start at QB rushed for 327 yards — a national record for a signal-caller — and four scores.

The Buffaloes return only two defensive starters from a year ago and are still adjusting to first-year D-coordinator D.J. Eliot, having yielded an average of 36.3 points, 21.7 first downs and 449.5 yards total offense in its three defeats.

Oregon State's defense, which showed signs of improvement the past two weeks against Washington and Southern Cal, will have its hands full with Montez and Lindsay, who ranks second in the Pac-12 in rushing with 810 yards and eight TDs.

But Colorado's porous defense might be the ticket for Oregon State's struggling offense to kickstart. Quarterback Darell Garretson, having taken over for the injured Jake Luton, made strides in the second half against the Trojans. Tailback Ryan Nall will return after missing the USC game with a sprained ankle.

The Beavers will be playing their first game under interim head coach Cory Hall, the replacement for Gary Andersen, whose shocking resignation came on Monday. It will be an emotional game for the players, who want to play well both for Hall and also for the departed Andersen.

I have a feeling Beaver Nation will be unusually ready to provide its team a lift Saturday. It's possible that the shuffling at the top will have an adverse effect on the OSU coaching staff, but there's the chance it may rise to the occasion, too.

Colorado will be charged up to end its losing streak, but I have a hunch that a win for Mike McIntyre's crew won't come easily. Maybe the Giant Killers will have something to celebrate Saturday night.

THE PICK: Colorado 34, Oregon State 24

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