BF.C Keys to the Game: Arizona

THERE'S A TERM for what the Beavs are doing right now. It refers to sudden momentum, when all the pieces come together and a team that people were skeptical about, that people didn't believe in, morphs from expected underdog into sudden juggernaut...

Lightning in a bottle.

Years and years ago, a friend of mine named Marc who was (and is) a huge USC fan, said that to me about the halcyon days of the 2000 Oregon State Fiesta Bowl team. He said that simply put, the 2000 Beavers caught lightning in a bottle. At the time I think I kind of chuckled and dismissed it as typical Trojan arrogance. But then it really got me thinking.

It was just the start of things to come for the Beavers, and I dreamed about Rose Bowls and trips to the National Championship that were surely going to come. As we all know, that wasn't meant to be. But watching the program grow and mature I think has given me a new perspective about what it is that goes on in Corvallis, Oregon.

When I look back at that 2000 dream season, I see that OSU suffered almost no injuries, had a pair of big, fast, nasty defensive ends, fast outside linebackers, a lockdown corner, and a pair of legitimate NFL wide receivers.

Well that sounds a little familiar.

THERE IS SOMETHING special going on in Corvallis in 2012. Every once in a while, the pieces are there to catch lightning in a bottle, and folks: This is one of those seasons.

That's not to say that Oregon State is BCS-bowl bound. They face another stern test this week in Tucson – a very stern test. Another spread offense that has been putting up video game type numbers, and if the pollsters are correct the Pac-12 is not going to be any kind of cakewalk this season. But that said, there is nary a game this season the Beavers cannot win… not when they've got a little lightning in a bottle.

Here is how they get it done against the Wildcats:

1 – Discipline on Defense. These days Mark Banker is no stranger to the spread offense and the zone option read. Arizona doesn't have a big powerful offensive line so the Wildcats will be relying on misdirection and waiting for the defense to commit the cardinal sin when defending the zone option: Overpursuit. The Beaver defense will need to be disciplined and stay home.

2 – Be Patient, Sean Mannion. Arizona's pass rush has been woeful. They have 3 sacks on the season – but 2 of those were against Toledo and 1 against South Carolina State. Arizona's 3-3-5 is built to defend against the pass so Mannion will need to be patient and not try to force balls that are not there into coverage.

3 – Hit ‘Em Between the Eyes. The Wildcats definitely are in danger of coming out fired up after being blanked by the Ducks, but don't be fooled. Their defense played inspired football the first half and their offense got into the red zone SIX TIMES. Oregon State needs to come out right out and impose their will, get Arizona hanging their head. The best way to do that? Running between the tackles effectively, and eating clock – which will take the crowd right out of the game.

I don't want to toot my own horn too much but my iron-clad, lead pipe lock of a key last week was "Grab Some Cloth" and tackle in space and wow am I smart. The Beavers were able to limit the UCLA defense because they did just that, and Michael Doctor earned the Mister Iron Grip Award with his team-high 9 tackles with a whopping 8 being solo tackles. By the way, congratulations to Mike Riley who is now tied with Lon Stiner for first place with 74 career wins at OSU. After his next win, Riley stands alone.

Catch OrangeAttack on the BF.C message boards vowing to dance naked in the streets if the Beavers win 10 games this year. Comments? Kvetches? Spy pictures of BF.C's reclusive Webmaster Dan (dnorz) which would not technically violate the restraining order against me? DO IT.

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