No. 7 Beavers Face Dawgs at the Clink Saturday on Pac-12 Networks
Oct. 23, 2012
THIS WEEK: No. 7 AP & BCS/No. 9 USA Today Oregon State (6-0, 4-0 in Pac-12) travels to Seattle this weekend to face the Washington Huskies (3-4, 1-3). The game will kickoff at 7:22 p.m. PDT from CenturyLink Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders. The game airs on the Pac-12 Networks.
THE SERIES: The series dates back to 1897 when Oregon State won a 16-0 decision at home. Overall Washington has the advantage 58-34-4 thanks mainly to a 25-2 run between 1975 and 2003. OSU had a six-game win streak snapped in a 35-34 double overtime loss at Husky Stadium in 2010, but won last season at Reser Stadium 38-21 behind Sean Mannion's 339 yards passing and two touchdown passes. Markus Wheaton caught seven passes for 125 yards and Jovan Stevenson, then a running back now a cornerback, rushed for three touchdowns. OSU held a 484-315 advantage in total yards. James Rodgers became OSU's all-time leader for receptions in the game passing Mike Hass (2002-2005) with 222 receptions.
UNDEFEATED AT THE "CLINK": Oregon State beat Washington State last year at CenturyLink Field 44-21 on Oct. 22, 2011. Sean Mannion passed for a then career-high 376 yards and four touchdowns in front of 49,219 fans. Malcolm Agnew rushed for 103 yards and Markus Wheaton made five receptions for 99 yards.
THE RANKINGS: The Beavers appear in the Associated Press top-25 rankings for the fifth consecutive week. The No. 7 ranking is the highest for the Beavers since ending 2000 at No. 4 after defeating Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and capping an 11-1 season. A win Saturday would keep OSU in the top 25 for six consecutive weeks for the first time since that 2000 season.
1907: The last time OSU started the season 6-0 was 1907 when it won the Coast title that included victories over Astoria (Oregon Coast), Whitworth (Washington small college), Pacific (Oregon, not California), Oregon, Willamette (small college school in Salem, Ore.) and St. Vincent College (now Loyola Marymount) of Los Angeles in the Coast title game - it was the first time a team from the Oregon Agricultural College, as it was known then, had traveled outside of the Pacific Northwest. At no time in history has the football program at Oregon State been 7-0. If the Beavers prevail Saturday night it would be the first seven-game win streak since 2000 that included the Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.
STILL STANDING: Oregon State is one of 11 Football Bowl Subdivision teams that remain undefeated, and per Jeff Sagarin of the USA Today the Beavers have had the second-toughest route to keep a zero in the loss column. The Sagarin rankings schedule strength for the unbeaten has Florida at No. 10 followed by Oregon State (15), Notre Dame (20), Alabama (26), Kansas State (45), Oregon (58), Ohio State (59), Rutgers (98), Louisville (105), Mississippi State (119) and Ohio (173).
BOWL ELIGIBILITY: Oregon State, Oregon and USC are bowl eligible from the Pac-12 Conference. For the Beavers it's the earliest time in school history. Courtesy of John Hunt of The Oregonian - "No team in the Pac-8/Pac-10/Pac-12 has had a record as bad as OSU did (3-9) and played in a bowl the following year."
PAC-12 4-0: The last time OSU won its first four conference games of the season was 1968, the first year of the Pac-8 Conference, opening the league slate at 4-0. Oregon State has never been 5-0 in any league standings in history.
RILEY GETS RECORD: Beaver head coach Mike Riley became the school's all-time leader for football victories when he notched his 75th (now 78) Sept. 29 at Arizona, passing Lon Stiner (1933-48). The 12th-year head coach has 51 league victories (the most by an active coach), tied for 14th in the Pac-12 record book with former Husky head man James Phelan (1930-41). For more on Riley see his bio on page 4 in this week's game notes.
SINGLE DIGITS: Oregon State has allowed nine or fewer points in three games this season, the most since achieving the same defensive feat in 2008 (Hawai'i, UCLA, Pitt). The last time a Beaver defense gave up nine or fewer points in more than three games was that 2000 Fiesta Bowl Season (San Diego State, Stanford, WSU, Arizona, Notre Dame). The last time the Huskies didn't reach double figures vs. OSU was 1974, a 23-9 Beaver victory in Corvallis. The Beavers' three games of allowing nine or fewer points ranks tied for third in all of the FBS following the four games by BYU and Florida State (2 vs. FCS teams).
38.5: The average number of points for Oregon State against Washington the last four games; three victories. In those four games the Beaver offense has averaged 407.5 yards, including 484 yards last season.
RUSH DEFENSE: Oregon State enters the week fifth in the nation and second in the Pac-12 for rush defense, allowing 80.8 yards per game. Only Alabama (58.7 yds), Florida State (69.1), Rutgers (69.1) and Stanford (77.0) rank higher in the country. In 2007, under the guidance of current defensive coordinator Mark Banker, OSU led the nation for the season for rush defense surrendering 70.6 yards per game. The Beavers run defense has been strongest in years they play multiple linemen - this year 10 have played to this point.
THIRD AND LONG: OSU enters Saturday's game leading the Pac-12 and is third in the nation for third-down percentage defense, allowing 25.3 percent (21-83). Florida State (23.2) and Alabama (25.0) are the only two teams that fare better on defense on third down. Last season the Beavers ranked 104th for third down defense, allowing 47.4 percent. The Beaver defense is forcing an average of four three-and-outs per game.
6: As in the number of points the Beavers have allowed in the fourth quarter of the last three games combined. OSU has gone the last 50:34 of fourth quarters without surrendering a touchdown. The last three opponents have converted just 2 of 10 third down attempts in the final period.
7: As in first quarter points allowed by the Beavers this season, the fewest in the Pac-12 Conference. Stanford has allowed 13, followed by Oregon (26), Arizona (30), USC (31), Arizona State (32), UCLA (37), Cal (58), Washington (58), WSU (58), Utah (62) and Colorado (65).
TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME: Oregon State enters Saturday having put together scoring drives of 74-plus yards 16 times through the first six games, including eight of 80-plus yards. All of last season, the Beavers achieved scoring drives of 70-plus 13 times. Those long drives in combination with OSU's third down defense has allowed the Beavers to rank tied for seventh in the nation and first in the Pac-12 for average time of possession at 33.24.
INTERCEPTION: Oregon State has 12 interceptions for the season (11 last season), nine in the last three games, to rank tied for ninth in the country. CB Jordan Poyer has five of those 12 to rank tied for second in the NCAA per game with .83 and second for overall behind the 7 of Fresno State's Phillip Thomas. Poyer now ranks tied for ninth for career interceptions at OSU with 11. He was the Walter Camp Co-Player of the Week and the Jim Thorpe (nation's top CB) Player of the Week for Oct. 8 after his three interceptions against Washington State.
LOCKDOWN CORNERS: Part of Oregon State's defensive strategy is based on its ability to put starting cornerbacks Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds in man-to-man coverage. The duo has responded with being among the national leaders for passes defended (breakups & interceptions). Reynolds ranks tied for second in the nation averaging 2.2 passes defended per game while Poyer is tied for 14th at 1.4.
DYNAMIC DUO: One is the crafty veteran, fourth-year senior Markus Wheaton. The other is the upstart sophomore Brandin Cooks. Together they form one of the most dangerous receiving duos in the nation. Cooks is ninth in the nation with 111.3 yards receiving per contest while Wheaton is 10th at 109.0 - only West Virginia can match the Beavers with two players in the top 10. Wheaton is sixth in the country for receptions per outing at 8.0. At their current pace they would become the first two Beavers to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in the same season since James Newson (1,306) and Mike Hass (1,013) in 2003.
WHEATON STREAK: Senior wide receiver Markus Wheaton has quietly put together a 29-game streak of receptions; third in the Pac-12. Wheaton has 184 receptions, fourth for a career at OSU. He also has 2,404 yards receiving, fifth at OSU. The Civil War in November will match two of the fastest players in the country, based on results of a May 4, 2012 track meet in Eugene - in the 100 meters Wheaton placed second with a 10.58 and Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas third at 10.65. For more on Wheaton's career stats please turn to page 15 of this week's game notes.
AFTER THE CATCH: The Beaver quarterbacks have used two of their biggest playmakers to eat up yards after making the reception. Brandin Cooks has 355 yards following his receptions or an average of more than 59 yards per game. Markus Wheaton has 194 yards, an average of 32 yards per contest.
MANNION'S NUMBERS: Sophomore co-team captain Sean Mannion, who returns to the starting lineup Saturday after missing two games following left knee surgery, is already among the Beaver elite quarterbacks after just 14 starts (16 games total). He is sixth for career passing with 4,686 yards. He has a chance to be OSU's leader for career passing yards, which is currently held by Derek Anderson (2001-04) with 11,249 yards. For more on Mannion career numbers please turn to page 15.
VAZ 2-0 AS A STARTER: Junior quarterback Cody Vaz, who was awarded one of the Manning Award's Stars of the Week Oct. 22, took the place of Sean Mannion as the starting quarterback for the BYU and Utah games. Vaz, a redshirt-junior, played in six games in 2010 in a backup role, completing 6 of 17 passes for 48 yards. His 332 yards passing in his first start of his collegiate career at BYU was the most since Matt Moore had 367 in the 2005 opener and he was selected the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. He was 24-5 as a starter at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., where he was named the Stockton Record Player of the Year following the '08 season. He was one of 10 finalists for the Cal-Hi Sports.com Mr. Football State Player of the Year. In his final two seasons as the starting quarterback Vaz completed 473 of 721 pass attempts for 7,176 yards and 64 touchdowns.
UNDEFEATED ON THE ROAD: Oregon State has won all three of its road games (Arizona, UCLA, BYU) this season putting it in rare company nationally. Nevada and Rutgers are 4-0 on the road, followed by 3-0 road teams Oregon State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU, Rutgers, Louisville, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Florida, Alabama, Troy and Louisiana Tech.
PLUS-10: As in turnover margin for the Beavers, the best in the Pac-12. OSU's defense has recovered four fumbles and has 12 interceptions. Last season OSU was 100th at minus-8.
SIX GAMES, FOUR PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Four Beavers have earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this season. Cody Vaz earned the honor for Oct. 15 after his 332-yard effort passing in the win at BYU in his first start. OSU's other honorees include Sean Mannion after a 433-yard three-touchdown effort at Arizona. Keith Kostol, in only his second career game, was the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week for Sept. 24 after punting seven times for a 43.9 yards average and pinning UCLA inside its 20-yard-line four times in the 27-20 win at the No. 19 Bruins. He also had a boot of 61 yards. Linebacker D.J. Welch (now D.J. Alexander) earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following the Sept. 8 win over then No. 13 Wisconsin after making seven tackles, including two-for-loss.
IT'S ALL IN A NAME: Two Beavers have changed their last names during the season. Linebacker Feti `Unga switched to Feti Taumoepeau in honor of his mother Ofa before the year began and linebacker D.J. Welch changed his name to D.J. Alexander on Oct. 15 in honor of his stepfather Eugene.
BUSTED RANKINGS: Head coach Mike Riley's teams have made a routine of beating highly ranked teams of late. Recent victims: 2012 - at No. 19 UCLA (27-20 OSU win), vs. No. 13 Wisconsin (10-7); 2010 - at No. 9 Arizona (29-27), vs. No. 20 USC (36-7); 2009 - at No. 23 California (31-14); 2008 vs. No. 1 USC (27-21), vs. No. 24 Pittsburgh (3-0); 2007 - at No. 2 California (31-28), at No. 18 Oregon (38-31 OT); 2006 - vs. No. 3 USC (33-31), at No. 24 Hawai'i (35-32); 2005 - at No. 18 California (23-20).
HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT? Oregon State's offensive line is one of the youngest in the nation with nine 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.
BATTERY: The Beavers feature one of the youngest center/quarterback combinations in the country with true freshman Isaac Seumalo and sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion or inexperienced junior Cody Vaz. Seumalo started the season opener making him 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 - Hawai'i is the only other team in the FBS that started a true freshman for the season opener while SMU has since started a first-year player. 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 heading into the Washington game is full of underclassmen which bodes well for future seasons. Of the 48 possible players on offense, defense and punter/kicker, 22 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 depth chart in the traditional 11 positions are underclassmen.
TEAM CAPTAINS: The 2012 team captains are quarterback Sean Mannion, defensive tackle Andrew Seumalo, wide receiver Markus Wheaton and cornerback Jordan Poyer. Mannion is the first sophomore in OSU history to be named team captain. Head coach Mike Riley also appoints a game captain.
PAC-12 THIS CENTURY: USC owns the most victories in the Pac-12 Conference this century with 124 (105 with vacated wins), followed by Oregon (117), OSU (93), Cal (85), UCLA (82), Arizona State (82), Stanford (74), Washington (66), WSU (65), Arizona (63). Utah has 106 victories this century and Colorado has 67.
RESER RECORD: Oregon State's home record of 56-20 this century at Reser Stadium is third best in the Pac-12 Conference, trailing the home records of only Oregon (68-13) and USC (63-14).
68-7: 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 50-3.
TRUE "STUDENT-ATHLETES" Oregon State is routinely among the league leaders for Pac-12 academic selections and this year should be no different. The following players will graduate in December: RB Jordan Jenkins (marketing), OL Colin Kelly (liberal studies), DL Castro Masaniai (sociology), TE Colby Prince (exercise and sport science), DL Andrew Seumalo (finance), S Anthony Watkins (exercise and sport science), CB Brian Watkins (public health). March graduates include DE Rusty Fernando (psychology) and LB Feti Taumoepeau (ethnic studies). June graduates are DL Rudolf Fifita (sociology), CB Ryan Handford (new media), LB Rueben Robinson (psychology) and WR Markus Wheaton (public health). Summer graduates CB Jordan Poyer (elementary education) and RB Clayton York (exercise and sport science).