Civil War Pregame Prefunk

Sat, 12/04/2010 - 1:02pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

What’s on the line
There’s a lot at stake for both Oregon and Oregon State heading into this year’s 114th Civil War. For the #2 ranked Ducks, of course, it’s all about taking care of business against an inferior opponent and locking down a spot in the national championship game.

The spoils of a victory would be a bit different for the Beavers, but in a sense, the stakes are just as high. OSU currently sits at five wins on the season, and an upset victory today--no matter how unlikely--would make the embattled Beavs bowl eligible. Lose and the season is over; win and you not only get a bowl game, but you get the personal pleasure of ending your arch rival’s championship dreams.

Civil War history lesson
The Ducks lead the all time series against the Beavers with a record of 57-46-10. Believe it or not, at 25-18-5, Oregon actually has a slightly higher winning percentage in Corvallis against OSU than at home. The Ducks have dominated the Beavs of late, going 25-9-1 against their neighbors from the north since 1975.

Yeah, the Ducks are pretty good
- Oregon’s 555 points so far this year is a program record.
- If the Ducks win today, they’ll become the only Pac-10 school to go undefeated in conference play since the most recent 9-game schedule was introduced in 2006.
- Sophomore RB LaMichael James is 175 yards short of surpassing Jonathan Stewart’s school record of 1,722, which has stood since 2007.

Giant killers?

If OSU somehow finds a way to knock off the Ducks, they would cement their status as giant killers in the past few years. They knocked #1 USC off in 2008, of course. But don’t forget about 2007, when the Beavs knocked #2 Cal out of the national picture, or 2006, when they upset yet another highly ranked USC team. Will they pull an upset off this game? Probably not, but never say never with the Beavers.

OSU vs. WSU: Pregame Prefunk

Sat, 11/13/2010 - 1:53pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

Saturday, November 13, 12:30 pm

A few random stats and thoughts to get you ready for today's game...

Bowling for Beavers: Following tough losses to Washington and UCLA -- teams Oregon State should have beat -- the Beavs find themselves in a precarious situation: 4 games remaining, 2 wins needed to be bowl eligible (for a total of 6), and 3 of those games against undeniably better teams. All signs point to OSU dominating WSU today to get win #5, but where does #6 come from? USC next weekend? Maybe. Stanford on the road the week after. Not likely. Oregon in the Civil War? Please. This team has always closed out the season strong, but this year, that will be a tougher task than ever.

Under fire: Oregon State has already faced three top-20 offense this season in Boise State, TCU and Arizona, and will face three more to close the season. It's no surprise, then, that the once stout Beavs defense ranks just 88th in the country.

His brother's keeper: It's no secret that OSU is feeling the loss of James Rodgers, who was only able to play four games this season before succumbing to injury. Fortunately, his brother Jacquizz has more than picked up his share of the slack. Quizz is averaging nearly 140 all purpose yards and has scored 9 TDs in those four games that James has missed.

Believe it or not: Washington State has had a rough go of it in recent years, but the school still holds a 47-44-3 alltime record against Oregon State dating back to 1903. The Beavs have redeemed themselves of late, however, averaging a 53-13 scoring advantage over the Cougs in their last three contests.

In it to win it: Beavers coach Mike Riley won't be able to lay claim to the school's alltime win record for a coach this year, but it's almost a lock to happen next season. With 68 wins, Riley currently sits just six games back of Lon Stiner, who coached the team from 1933-48. What's more, among active coaches in the Pac-10, Riley trails only Jeff Tedford 72 total wins.



Beavs Begin to Grow Up in Pac-10 Opener

Sat, 10/02/2010 - 7:25pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

You may have wondered aloud this week whether Oregon State’s brutal non-conference schedule would help or hinder them heading into today’s Pac-10 opener against Arizona State.  I did too.

Would young quarterback Ryan Katz gain valuable experience from getting constantly hurried and hit by two top 5 teams in TCU and Boise State, or would he wilt under the pressure and lose confidence? And what about a player like speedy receiver James Rodgers, who was literally knocked senseless against Boise State? Or his ultra-talented brother Jacquizz, who has spent more time running into brick wall defenses early in the season than perhaps at any point in his career?

Yes, The Beavers entered Pac-10 play with a 1-2 record, ranked outside of the top 25, banged up and bruised, and perhaps just a bit low on confidence. But there’s one big thing this team had going for them: they’d been there, done that.

They’d kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone to squash any chance at a late-game comeback against TCU, and they’d eaten enough Smurf turf at Boise State to make Gargamel blue with envy. Heck, they’d even almost given away a sure thing at home to a middle-of-the-pack Louisville team. In short, the Beavers had become battle-hardened just three games into the season.

It showed in three red zone possessions in the third and fourth quarters, when the OSU defense dug in and turned what could have been 21 Arizona State points into two field goals and an interception. It showed in the footwork, patience and calm demeanor of Katz, who picked the defense apart in the first half en route to the best game of his young career, completing 19 of 29 passes for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and spreading the love around to eight different receivers. And it showed in an explosive and seemingly effortless 74-yard touchdown run by Quizz, who must have felt like he was walking on air after getting stuck in the mud in Boise for just 46 yards. 

But perhaps Oregon State’s newfound maturity showed most in the final moments of the game, where within a matter of minutes Arizona State blocked a punt, punched the ball into the end zone, completed a 2 point conversion and then held on defense to get the ball back, down just 3 with less than a minute to go. With everything on the line, the OSU defense held, getting a sack followed by a James Dockery interception to ice the game, 31-28.

Perhaps the outcome would have been the same if the Beavs had played, say, New Mexico and Portland State to start the season—but I don’t think so. There’s a strength, resolve and sense of calm that comes from getting beat down, then getting back up again. The Beavers have that now.

Sure, there are still reasons for concern, most notably and maybe least discussed the Beavs’ tendency to play an overly-conservative, run-oriented style of offense when they have a lead rather than go straight for the jugular (like the 35-14 lead over Louisville that ended up being 35-28). And, of course, there seems to be at least one head-scratching mind fart in the secondary every game.

But what I saw at Reser Stadium today was a more seasoned looking football team taking an early lead, absorbing a late-game comeback and holding on to take care of business at home in conference play. Maybe that’s not spectacular, but it’s a good start to a long Pac-10 season.

Oregon State vs. Louisville Photo Gallery

Sun, 09/19/2010 - 12:55am
Wanna Be Like Mike

Took a break from being overly critical of the Beavers' perfomance vs. Louisville to post a photo gallery from today's game. Check it out:


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