Beavers Host Nicholls State; Make Their Pac-12 Network Debut
Aug. 27, 2012
THIS WEEK: The 116th season of Oregon State football begins Sat., Sept. 1 when the Southland Conference's Nicholls State Colonels visit Reser Stadium. The game will mark the 1,105th in the history of Beaver football and is a landmark game as it will be the Beavers debut on the Pac-12 Networks (check your local cable/satellite listings).
NSU/OSU CONNECTIONS: Not surprisingly, there are not many connections between the Thibodaux campus and Corvallis, except one major one - Nicholls State head coach Charlie Stubbs was an assistant coach (offensive coordinator/QBs during the later part of his OSU coaching stint) at Oregon State during the "Air Express" era of 1985-90. Among the many standout Beaver players he coached was quarterback Erik Wilhelm, who held the OSU and then Pac-10 record for passing yards for many seasons. This is the first meeting in the series.
GENEALOGY: We don't need Ancestry.com to help us with the recent family tree of several Beavers who happen to be the sons of former NFL standouts.
ONE BIG FAMILY: Oregon State prides itself on having a family atmosphere, in fact one website two years straight named OSU as the "most family friendly" program. This season there are numerous biological connections.
HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT? Oregon State's offensive line is one of the youngest in the nation with seven true freshmen on the team. It's been a unit that has had its share of bumps and bruises, among other things, in recent seasons that has led to a lack of experienced depth. Since 2007 the Beavers have lost 11 scholarship players to career ending injuries, academics or other extenuating circumstances. In that same period OSU signed 24 scholarship players, in which 46 percent (11) were unable to finish their careers. Current player John Braun came to OSU as a scholarship player, but has been moved to the defensive line.
BATTERY: The Beavers feature one of the youngest center/quarterback combinations in the country with true freshman Isaac Seumalo and sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion. If Seumalo starts this Saturday he would be the first true freshman center to start at OSU since future two-time second team Pac-10 selection Roger Levasa snapped the ball in a starting role Sept. 30, 1978 vs. Washington and Hawai'i is the only other FBS team in the starting a true freshman for the season opener. Levasa started 37 games during his career and played professionally in the USFL for the three years with the Oakland Invaders and Portland Breakers. Seumalo is the third true freshman to start on the offensive line in the Riley era (1997-98, 2003-present) joining current teammate Michael Philipp in 2009 and Keith DiDomenico in 1997.
THE FUTURE IS NOW, BUT ... Oregon State's two-deep entering the season opener is full of underclassmen which bodes well for future seasons. Of the 48 possible players on offense, defense and punter/kicker, 24 are either freshmen or sophomores - this does not take into account OSU's H-Back and fullback positions - which would add another three to the equation. Specifically on offense, 13 players on the two-deep in the traditional 11 positions are underclassmen.
COLORS OF THE GAME: The OSU Athletics Department is encouraging fans to wear the colors of the team jerseys for all seven home games: Orange for Nicholls State, Wisconsin, WSU, Arizona State and Oregon. Black for Utah and California. For the month of October the team will be wearing pink wristbrands and socks in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The first 15,000 fans at the Oct. 20 game vs. Utah will receive a pink noodle courtesy of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and The Corvallis Clinic.
50 YEARS SINCE: Oregon State is celebrating the 50th anniversary of quarterback Terry Baker's Heisman Trophy winning season. Baker was the first collegiate player to win the coveted award from west of the state of Texas. He led the Beavers, then an independent, to a 9-2 record and a 6-0 victory in the Fourth Annual Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia at the time. Baker was a consensus All-America selection to go along with the Maxwell Award and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year recipient. OSU will also honor the '62 team by inducting the members of that club, led by then eighth-year head coach Tommy Prothro, into the OSU Sports Hall of Fame Sept. 7. End Vern Burke was also on the team and a consensus All-America after leading the nation for receptions and yards.
7-GAME HOME SCHEDULE: 2012 features seven home games for the first time since the 2006 season. The Beavers also played 7-game slates in 2002 and '03 and generally that has been a positive as OSU went 17-4 at Reser Stadium during those years.
THEY COULD MAKE A GOOD START TO THE TEAM: Oregon State's graduate assistants and interns are an accomplished group. Linebackers coach Trent Bray (2002-05) was a first team Pac-10 selection as a senior in 2005, earned defensive MVP honors in the 2004 Insight Bowl win over Notre Dame and ranks sixth in the OSU record book for career tackles with 337. Defensive backs assistant Mitch Meeuwsen (2001-04) holds the school record for interceptions with 20, was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as a senior and was a Freshman All-American. Defensive line assistant Alan Darlin (2004-07) was a second team Pac-10 selection as senior. Offensive line assistant Tavita Thompson (2005-08) started 13 games and was a part of four Beaver bowl teams. Special teams intern Hardie Buck played at Alabama last season and was on kickoff coverage teams in the national championship game.
RILEY NEARING RECORD: Twelfth-year head coach Mike Riley needs three victories to pass Lon Stiner (1933-48) to become OSU's all-time leader for football victories. Riley has 72 entering the season, which ranks 23rd overall for coaching victories in Pac-12 Conference history. He has 46 league victories, 20th in the Pac-12 record book.
THIS CENTURY IN THE PAC-12: USC owns the most victories in the Pac-12 Conference this century with 119 (105 with vacated wins), followed by Oregon (111), OSU (88), Cal (83), Arizona State (77), UCLA (77), Stanford (70), WSU (63), Washington (63), Arizona (59). Utah has 104 victories this century and Colorado has 66.
RODGER-LESS BEAVERS: For the first time since the end of the 2006 season, Oregon State will not have James or Jacquizz Rodgers on the team. The brothers shattered several school records during their stay in Corvallis accounting for 11,310 all-purpose yards or 6.43 miles. James, who concluded his career in 2011, left OSU as the all-time leader for all-purpose yards (6,377), career receptions (222) and season receptions (91 in 2009). Jacquizz played at OSU three years (2008-10) before declaring for the NFL Draft and now plays for the Atlanta Falcons as does James, who signed as a free agent.
NEW COACH: Rod Perry has joined the OSU coaching staff as a full-time secondary coach after 22 seasons in the NFL, most recently with the Indianapolis Colts. Perry was an assistant with Beaver head coach Mike Riley in San Diego with the Chargers.
IS THAT DAVE MAGGARD? It is indeed. Long time Athletic Director Dave Maggard (Cal 1972-91, Miami 1991-93, Houston 2002-09) joined the OSU team as a volunteer special assistant to Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis in August. In addition to his stints as an A.D. he was the Managing Director of Sports for the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Summer Olympics. The `96 games aren't his only connection to the Olympics; he actually was a competitor and flagbearer for the United States in the 1968 Mexico City Games in the shot put, where he finished fifth.
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE, WIN THE GAME: Over the last 99 games, Oregon State is 36-8 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 9-29 when committing more and 10-7 when even. The Beavers struggled in 2011, losing 31 turnovers (T113th in NCAA) and finished tied for 100th in the NCAA in turnover margin.
RESER RECORD: Oregon State's home record of 53-20 this century at Reser Stadium is third best in the Pac-12 Conference, trailing Oregon (63-13) and USC (60-14).
RUNNING BACK U: Oregon State is the only program in the Pac-12 Conference with three running backs that rank in the top 10 for career rushing in the league; 3. Ken Simonton (1998-2001), 5,044 yards; 8. Jacquizz Rodgers (2008-10), 3,877; 9. Yvenson Bernard (2004-07), 3,862. Steven Jackson (2001-03) ranks 14th with 3,625 yards. Rodgers and Jackson both left OSU after three seasons to enter the NFL.
BEAVERS WITHOUT BORDERS: A host of current and former Oregon State student-athletes have participated in the Beavers Without Borders program that has taken them to Guatemala (Spring Break 2011), Macedonia (Summer 2011) and Ethiopia (summer 2012). Current Beaver football players Rashaad Reynolds, Markus Wheaton, Brian Watkins and Josh Andrews have been on one of those trips. On those trips the group assisted a building of a house for needy families. There were matching funds, but many of these student-athletes did their own fundraising for the trips.
ONE OF THREE: Second-year athletic trainer Ariko (uh-REE-ko) Iso (E-so) is one of only three female football head trainers in the FBS - Mary Van Heiden at Central Florida and Dawn Hearn at UTEP are the other two. Iso joined the program in late spring of 2011 and after being the only female trainer in the NFL (Steelers).
64-7: That's the record of Oregon State when it leads after three quarters with Mike Riley as head coach. Since the start of the 2004 season it is 46-3.
100-PLUS USUALLY A W: When a Beaver rushes for 100-plus yards it usually equals a victory. OSU has won 24 of its last 28 games (86%) when a rusher gains 100 - the only four losses in that period - Oct. 2, 2008 at Utah (Jacquizz Rodgers 101 yds), Oct. 24, 2009 at USC (Jacquizz 113), Oct. 16, 2010 at Washington (Jacquizz 140) and Sept. 3, 2011 vs. Sacramento State (Malcolm Agnew 223). Quizz, his brother James Rodgers, Yvenson Bernard and Matthew Sieverson are the individuals who have accounted for the 100-yard outings.
RULE CHANGES: The NCAA has adopted the following rules changes for the 2012 season: 1. Kickoffs from 35-yard line from the 30, mirroring a similar change by the NFL in the 2011 season and rescinding a rule change made in the 2007 season. 2. The kicking team has only a five-yard running head start on kickoffs, again mirroring the NFL changes in 2011. 3. Touchbacks move from the 20-yard line to the 25-yard line only on kickoffs and free kicks after a safety. Touchbacks on punts rolling into the end zone or fumbles into the end zone remain at the 20-yard line. 4. Players are forbidden to leap over other players when blocking punts. 5. Players who lose their helmets during a play (except when caused by fouls such as grabbing the facemask) have to leave the field for one play. 6. Offensive players in the tackle box at the snap who are not in motion are allowed to block below the waist legally without restriction. All other players are restricted from blocking below the waist with some exceptions (i.e. blocking straight-on), modifying a rule change from the 2011 season.
WE'RE NUMBER 6! Corvallis, home to Oregon State University, ranks sixth in the nation for best college towns for 2012 by Livability.com. No other Pac-12 city/town ranks in the top-10.
WOODCHIPS: The Beavers will start a freshman running back for the second year in a row. In 2011, Malcolm Agnew became the first true freshman to start the season opener at running back at OSU in the modern era. This Saturday, Storm Woods, a redshirt freshman who won the starting job after a strong offseason, is expected to take the field with the first team ... cornerback Jordan Poyer is on the Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Jim Thorpe Award, Paul Hornung Award Watch Lists ... defensive end Scott Crichton is on the Lombardi Award Watch List ... wide receiver Markus Wheaton is on the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List ... Jordan Poyer and Markus Wheaton are on the Senior Bowl Watch List ... the 1962 Oregon State football team, which won the Liberty Bowl that season, will be inducted into the Oregon State Sports Hall of Fame, Fri., Sept. 7.