JOE HALAHUNI MADE a lot of noise in last year's tilt against Cal, grabbing six passes for 128 yards. Will he again bust loose this Saturday vs. the Golden Bears? Meanwhile, Jacquizz Rodgers this weekend might be poised to climb past some notable names in the Pac-10 history book…
It's homecoming for Oregon State this week. The OSU-Cal broadcast starts at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday -- kickoff is scheduled for 12:40 p.m. and will air live on Fox College Sports (Comcast 413-415, DirecTV 617, 623). FSN Northwest will replay the game on a same day delay at 7:30 p.m. (It was unclear at press time if the delayed broadcast would be available in HD. The Fox College Sports channel, carrying the live broadcast, is a standard definition channel.)
If Jacquizz Rodgers can match his career rushing average of 110.5 yards on Saturday, he will pass California running backs Justin Forsett (2004-07) and Russell White (1990-92), as well USC Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson (1967-68). Such a performance would move Quizz into 14th place on the Pac-10's career rushing chart. The junior already occupies 17th place on the all-time conference list, with 3,314 hashes.
The Beavs have only had two home games in their first six contests but Oregon State is on pace to set a record for average attendance, with an average of 45,394.
The Oregon State - Cal series dates back to 1905 with Cal holding a 33-29 advantage. The Beavers have owned recent history, however,
winning nine of the last 11 meetings, including five straight in Berkeley. Last season OSU defeated then No. 23 Cal 31-14 at Memorial Stadium.
Mike Riley has 67 wins at Oregon State, seven short of the winningest coach in OSU history, Lon Stiner, who coached the team from 1933-48.
There are four running backs in the Pac-10 averaging 100-plus yards rushing this season, and two of them will be on the field at Reser Stadium at Saturday. OSU's Jacquizz Rodgers is 19th in
the nation at 103.5 yards rushing per game, and Cal's Shane Vereen is 20th at 103.0. Both have 10 rushing touchdowns.
If you had to pick only one key to the game for Oregon State, third down conversions makes a pretty strong case. In Oregon State's
three victories combined, the Beavs have converted 17 of 38
(45 percent) third down opportunities. ln their three losses? Just
14 of 39 (36 percent). Defensively, in OSU's victories, opponents
have converted 20 of 42 tries (48 percent) and in the losses it jumps to 26 of 46, (57 percent). OSU
is just 5 of 22 (23 percent) on third down conversions in the
fourth quarter this season.
"Kiss my grits, SEC." Bucking the trend in college football, and as perhaps pioneered by the SEC, the Beavers have scheduled a tough slate this season – according to one established ranking service, the toughest. OSU has already faced No. 2 Boise State, No. 4 TCU and No. 15
Arizona. They still have No. 1 Oregon, No. 13 Stanford and No. 24 USC on the schedule. Indeed, the Beavers' schedule is ranked as the
most difficult in the country as of this week, according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. The Pac-10 features a eye-popping six of the top-10 most difficult schedules in the nation this week, and the Pac-10 occupies all five of the top spots. (1. OSU, 2. WSU, 3. UCLA, 4. Washington, 5. Arizona State, 10. Cal).
Most every Oregon State team who has enjoyed success has featured strong special teams. Well, OSU ranks among
the national leaders for both punt and kickoff returns in 2010. The
Beavers are second in the Pac-10 and seventh in the nation
for kickoff return average at 26.5 yards per attempt.
The Beavers are third in the league and ninth in the country for
punt return yardage per attempt at 16.9 yards.
Who is the only
team to finish in the top three of the Pac-10 Conference
standings each of the last four years? Yep, Oregon State.
The Beavers have a combined conference record of 25-11
(.694) during that stretch.
OSU has made pretty good use of their opportunities through the season's first half. In the red zone, they've scored 86 percent of the time (18-21). Their opponents have scored 75 percent of the time (21-28). As for red zone touchdowns, the Beavs sit at 76 percent (16-21). Their opponents, 61 percent (17-28).