HUGE. THERE IS only one way to describe Saturday's game against Boise State and that is, quite simply, huge. Hype is at an all-time high. GameDay is going to be on hand. The chatter and buzz on the message boards and sports radio went supersonic when word leaked that Oregon State was taking the Boise game so seriously that they were painting their PRACTICE FIELD BLUE.

The focus on this game has been unreal – but for good reason.

If there is a secret to shutting down the Boise State offense, then it’s the best-kept secret in college football. A year ago the Broncos led the entire NCAA in scoring, averaging 42 points per game. And this year they return virtually intact, led by stellar QB Kellen Moore whom Boise head man Chris Petersen describes as a “human computer”.

The reality is that nobody on Boise’s offense aside from Moore really jumps off the screen at you. They seem to use everyone interchangeably and every play seems to be an intricately designed masterpiece executed to perfection. To prevent teams from being able to scheme to take away their impact players, BSU simply moves them all around the field. Austin Pettis is the killer for the Broncos, and you’ll see him lined up at X, Y, Z receiver and even in the backfield.

Make no mistake, Boise has athletes. But they're not present across the board -- what Petersen strives to do is create a numbers advantage and leverage to kill you with a thousand cuts -- by out-executing opponents. Then, when Petersen has set the opponent up, he gets the ball to his playmakers for the dagger in the heart.

But all that said – this game is truly a winnable game for Oregon State.

Here are the keys to the game this week for the Beavers.


In stark contrast to the hurry-up offenses that are the in-fashion thing across the college football landscape, Petersen creates his advantages by motioning pre-snap. He overloads one side or another, which creates a new gap to defend.

If he wins the chessmatch, the defense can’t adjust quick enough to cover every gap. OSU needs to keep a cool head and not let the motion rattle them, and just adjust to the motion, and make Boise work for every yard.



When Moore is at his best, he’s putting the ball in Pettis’ hands.

Pettis is big, fast, and physical and if OSU can keep the ball out of his hands it will go a long way towards keeping Boise’s offense in check.



The Beavers’ offensive machine is going to need to keep firing on all 8 cylinders to win this game, because Boise is going to get their yards and put points on the board.

They can’t afford to sleepwalk through a quarter the way they did against Louisville, and if they take their foot off the gas at the end, Boise will run them over.

Just ask Frank Beamer, who had Boise State by the throat and then suddenly went vanilla. It cost the Hokies the win.



It is paramount that Oregon State do, throughout the game, what they have not been able to do, consistently, since 2008 -- mount a fearsome pass rush. Oregon State cannot let Moore take his time and run through his options -- teams that have let BSU do that have all been dispatched with ease.

Will defensive coordinator Mark Banker have some wrinkles at the ready? Will players like DT Brennan Olander rise up and make an impact? Can OSU's defensive ends gain the corner and sirupt the flow? Any and all would dramatically improve the odds for Oregon State as they look to knock off the No. 3 team in the nation in their own house.


  1. Get Off Those Blocks. Again Oregon State struggled to get off blocks and contain Louisville’s quick-footed signal caller Adam Froman. To their credit the Beavers did adjust to the speed option in the second half and finally began shutting the play that TCU used like a sledgehammer in the previous game. Dwight Roberson deserves an A for his game – the DE’s and rest of the LB corps needs to match his game. Final Grade: B-

  2. Special Teams Don’t Need To Be Super Special. Nothing catastrophic happened, and if you fold in James Rodgers’ stellar special teams performance, you can’t give Bruce Read and the Beaver Special Teams anything less than a high mark. Final Grade: A

  3. Establish Dominance. Welcome back Michael Philipp! For OSU fans and Jacquizz Rodgers alike, it was a welcome sight to see big #77 out there blowing giant holes for the diminutive dynamo to blast through. The second effort was there and Will “Weapon of Mass Destruction” Darkins deserves special mention for his bomb blast blocking. It’s a lot easier for Quizz to find holes when the DE is blasted into next week by the nasty fullback. Here’s hoping Darkins continues to see PT. Final Grade: B++


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