Beavers Seek Bowl Eligibility With Win at California
Nov. 2, 2009
THIS WEEK: Oregon State (5-3, 3-2 in Pac-10) travels to Berkeley to play the No. 23 California Golden Bears (6-2, 3-2). The game will be televised live nationally by FSN beginning at 4 p.m. A victory would make Oregon State bowl eligible, joining already qualified Pac-10 brethren Cal, Oregon and USC. Arizona and Stanford could also win game number six this week.
BOWL STREAK: If Oregon State qualifies for a bowl game it will be its fourth consecutive year - a school record. The program under then head coach Dennis Erickson went to the 2002 Insight Bowl, followed by current head coach Mike Riley's 2003 Las Vegas and 2004 Insight Bowl years. Riley has led the last three teams to two Sun Bowls and an Emerald Bowl. The Beavers have won five straight bowl games, the second-longest streak in the nation - Utah has an eight-game streak. And, oh by the way, Riley is undefeated in bowl games as a head coach (5-0) and as the offensive coordinator at USC (3-0) - Howard Schnellenberger (Florida Atlantic/Miami) is the only active head coach to win more bowl games (6) without losing.
SERIES: The series dates back to 1905 with Cal holding a 33-28 advantage. The Beavers have narrowed the gap of late by winning eight of the last 10 meetings, including four straight in Berkeley. Last season then No. 23 OSU defeated Cal 34-21 at Reser Stadium in a matchup that featured eventual Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year Jacquizz Rodgers rushing for 144 yards and one touchdown and fellow first team all-conference back Jahvid Best going for 116 and a score. Those same two meet again this week. Last season's victory for OSU snapped a bizarre five-game streak of the road team winning. The Beavers won the 2007 game when linebacker Joey LaRocque tackled Bear QB Kevin Riley inbounds as time expired (Cal was in fg range) preserving a 31-28 win over No. 2 Cal - the Bears were poised to move to No. 1 as the top-ranked team lost earlier in the day.
BEAVERS VS. RANKED TEAMS: Oregon State has won six of its last 12 games against nationally ranked opponents, including three on the road - at No. 24 Hawai'i in 2006 (35-32), at No. 2 Cal in 2007 (31-28) and at No. 18 Oregon in '07 (38-31, OT).
GETTING IN THE OFFENSIVE GROOVE: Several teams within the Pac-10 have seen noticeable improvements in terms of offensive production over the last three games, and OSU and Cal are two of those clubs. The Beavers are averaging 469 yards (409 season avg.) in offense over the last three games while Cal is at 487 (427).
222 vs. 221: What's so special about those numbers? 222 is the number of times Jacquizz Rodgers has touched the ball this year after eight games and 221 is the number he touched the ball last year at the same point of the season. Take away Rodgers' touchdown pass out of the "Wild Beaver" formation last week against UCLA and the numbers are identical on the surface. Here's the difference, and it's a point that head coach Mike Riley said prior to the year - "we need to get Quizz more involved in the passing game." Quizz has 49 receptions this season, as compared to 24 last year at this point. Thus, he has carried the ball 25 fewer times.
THEY LIKE THE SETTING: Beaver running backs apparently like the setting of Strawberry Canyon, as they have put together some impressive performances on the Bears' home field. Here is a closer look: Nov. 11, 2001 - Ken Simonton - 17 att., 125 yds, 3 TDs Oct. 4, 2003 - Steven Jackson - 35 att., 227 yds, 2 TDs Oct. 15, 2005 - Yvenson Bernard, 42 att, 194 yds, 2 TDs Oct. 13, 2007 - Yvenson Bernard -- 33 att,,110 yds, 2 TDs
PAYDIRT PAIR: Last season's Pac-10 First Team running backs Jacquizz Rodgers of OSU (Pac-10 Offensive MVP) and Jahvid Best of Cal have each scored a league-high 15 touchdowns - tied for second in the nation with Lance Dunbar of North Texas. Navy's Ricky Dobbs has 16 scores.
KICKING STAR: OSU junior Justin Kahut has been named as the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week and also is one of three kickers recognized as a Lou Groza Kicking Award "Star of the Week" following his four field goal effort against UCLA. Kahut added a pair of PATs to score 10 points for the second straight week. He is tied for sixth in the nation with 15 field goals converted in 2009.
BIG TACKLERS: Two of the league leaders for tackles will be in action Saturday. Cal junior linebacker Mike Mohamed has a Pac-10 high 74 tackles while OSU senior linebacker Keaton Kristick is fourth with 63.
THOSE TEAMS ARE PRETTY GOOD: Oregon State's three losses this season (USC, Arizona, Cincinnati) have come to teams that have a combined record of 19-4 (83%). Cincinnati is No. 4 in this week's Associated Press Poll, USC is No 12 and Arizona is No. 21.
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE, WIN THE GAME: Over the last 70 games, Oregon State is 29-4 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 9-18 when committing more and 6-4 when even. Oregon State has lost just five turnovers this season, second in the nation, trailing the four committed by Cincinnati. The Beavers are also tied for second with Colorado State for fumbles lost with one, while Cincinnati has lost zero. Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers has never fumbled at OSU - 431 rushes, 71 receptions, 1 pass attempt. Oddly, on the other side of the ball OSU is tied for 114th in turnovers gained with eight - only Fresno State (7) and Georgia (6) have fewer.
LEFTY ON RECORD PACE: Senior quarterback Sean Canfield is on pace to shatter the OSU record for completion percentage for a season. The left-hander has completed 68.9 percent (188-273) of his attempts, including 11 touchdowns - the season record is by Matt Moore in 2006 at 60.6 (229-378) percent. Canfield is third in the nation for completion percentage, trailing Colt McCoy (Texas, 72.0), and Christian Ponder (Florida State, 69.4). He is averaging 68 pass attempts per interception this season after entering the year with an interception every 22 pass attempts. He also is fifth all-time at OSU with 4,738 passing yards and for touchdown passes with 28 - he needs one to tie Moore for fourth. He is averaging a Pac-10 high 254.9 yards per game passing and has not thrown an interception in his last 117 attempts - last was in the third quarter at Arizona State Oct. 3. The last Beaver to lead the conference for passing is current Cleveland Brown Derek Anderson in 2004 at 301.2 yards.
QUIZZ ALSO ON RECORD PACE: Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers is on record pace for the most points for a season by a Beaver, currently held by Steven Jackson in 2003 with 132. "Quizz" has 90 with four regular season games to play. His 15 total touchdowns are tied for second in the nation, trailing only the 16 by Ricky Dobbs of Navy. For overall rushing he is already sixth at OSU with 2,175 yards and if he gains 59 yards Saturday he will move into fifth place on the chart. Quizz also needs just five rushing scores to tie for the single season school record with 19 by Jackson in 2003 and Ken Simonton in 1999 and 2000.
JAMES IS ALSO ON RECORD WATCH: Beaver junior receiver James Rodgers is averaging 187.4 yards per game for all-purpose yards (Rec, PR, KR) which ranks first in the Pac-10 and fifth in the nation. At his current pace, James would set the school record for all-purpose yards with 2,436 - the current record is Steven Jackson in 2003 with 2,015. His brother, sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers, is second in the conference at 161.6 and 12th nationally. James leads the Pac-10 for receptions per game at 7.5 and for receiving yards per game at 88.2. "Quizz" at 6.1 receptions per outing is second in the conference. The last time a player led the Pac-10 for all-purpose yards, receptions per game and receiving yards per game was Bobby Wade of Arizona in 2002 - prior to that Gyn Milburn of Stanford in 1990 and Vincent White of the Cardinal in 1982. Last season the Rodgers' combined for 3,333 all-purpose yards, this year they are on pace to accumulate 4,053 yards in the regular season.
RUSHERS: Since the 2002 season, Oregon State is second in the Pac-10 for the number of times a player has reached the 1,000-yard rushing plateau with six (missing only 2004). California leads the league with seven, followed by the Beavers, Oregon (5), USC (3), UCLA (2) and Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State with one each.
STRESS! WHAT STRESS? Beaver fans have learned to deal with the stress of close football games, and for the most part, the outcomes have been favorable. OSU is 15-4 since the start of the 2006 season in games decided by seven points or less.