Scouting Report: Oregon State

Any shot the Wildcats have at the post season rests with their game against the Oregon State Beavers. If the Cats win then they still have a very slim shot if they win out. Oregon State on the other hand has a good record, but has seen their passing game suffer in recent weeks.

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Oregon State Beavers
Record: (5-3, 1-3)
Site: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
Date: Saturday, November 2nd, 1:00 PDT
LAST MEETING: Oregon State destroyed Arizona 38-3 in Corvallis.

LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats gave Washington State all they could handle in a 21-13 loss. Oregon State struggle through the air, but rushed past Cal 24-13.

Derek Anderson started out the season making many fans forget Jonathon Smith, but as of late he has struggled. His first three games saw him throw for at least 286 yards a contest and complete well over 65% of his passes. Since then he has eclipsed 250 yards just once and has yet to complete over half his passes. Twice he has thrown for only 80 yards.

While Anderson has struggled, the rushing game has been excellent. Steven Jackson has quickly made a name for himself and is among the Pac-10's best runners. Last week he rushed for 239 yards and three scores, bailing out the anemic passing game in a win over Cal. The talented sophomore has gone over 100 yards in all but two games and has rushed for over 200 yards twice.

"They are a run-oriented team, and we are a pass-oriented team," said Arizona coach John Mackovic. "I think I would rather be a run-oriented team right now because you can mix the pass with the run more easily than you can mix the run with the pass. With a good run game, you can play action, and you can do a lot of things. They will come hard at us with the run, so we will have to keep rotating some people up front (on the defensive line). We have to get the maximum effort defensively and be able to compete with them offensively." The Wildcats have struggled against the run all season and you can bet that the Beavers will run until the Cats force them to pass. The Cats must try to slow down the run and make Anderson try to beat them. If they can't get the game into Anderson's hands then it could be a long day.

The Cats are getting healthier on defense. DE Marcus Smith will be close to 100% and DT Brad Brittain should be available. Unfortunately, big run stopper Vince Feula will miss the game with a knee injury. The Wildcats will need to get big games out of their talented linebackers and you may see big Carl Tuitavuki play a major role.

The Wildcats have the opposite problem. The Cats can't run effectively. Beau Carr and Mike Bell had decent outings against Washington State, but there is no doubt that the Cats can't rely on the run.

Jason Johnson struggled at times last weekend, but Arizona will pin their hopes on the senior's arm. He has something special going with WR Bobby Wade, and Andrae Thurman has been impressive as of late. Without a consistent run game the Cats have struggled in the redzone. 50 pass attempts is not out of the question for Johnson.

The Beavers have a great defense, led by CB Dennis Weathersby. Weathersby is one of the country's top corners and will be dispatched in an effort to shut down Wade.

"Their secondary has one of the best corners in the country in Dennis Weathersby, and he probably will play Bobby (Wade) one on one," Mackovic said. "We will have to do a better job of moving the ball around this week."

Oregon State has been very good defensively. They surrender just 315 yards and 17.5 points a contest. They have a number of talented players, including a very good defensive line led by Eric Manning.

"Defensively, they play hard, tough and physical up front, and they have some good inside guys," noted the Arizona coach.

The Wildcats need a win desperately, but winning in Corvallis is not easy. They will need to shut down the run and force Anderson into mistakes. The Beavers have been a real Jeckyl and Hyde type of team and you never know which team will show up. The Cats get the orange and black team on Halloween week and only time will tell if Reser Stadium will be a house of horrors or a trick or treat for the Wildcats.

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