BF.C Keys to the Game: Stanford

I'M GOING TO get a little Zen on you here, BF.C readers. For what seems like the sixth time this season, the Beavers face an opponent whom SURELY they cannot slay. Stanford features the No. 1 rushing defense in the country and without a doubt, they have a fearsome defensive front leading a ferocious defense, which has only surrendered more than 20 points once this season. Then again…

Yes, the Cardinal front seven absolutely demolished USC's offensive line (and national championship aspirations) – the lasting image of the Stanford D. If they could utterly crush USC's offense and stymie the Trojan rushing attack, what will they do to the Beavers? Surely the foes that Oregon State has faced thus far were overrated, and now they're facing a real test. Right?

Maybe. And then again… maybe not. Maybe they have all been real tests.

Because there is a surreal feeling to this 2012 Oregon State season. There's a real wanting, a deep tug at the soul of the Beaver fan who wants to believe but feels that somehow they just don't deserve to… but that feeling will go away if OSU knocks off Stanford on the road on Saturday. Here are the Keys to the Game:

1. Make Your Own Luck. For all of Dylan Wynn's considerable athletic talents, his greatest contribution is simply heart and desire. Wynn embodies Oregon State. He is walking, talking hustle, heart and fire. Those magic bounces aren't magic. Dylan Wynn didn't get lucky when he recovered a school record five fumbles as a true freshman – he just wanted it more than anybody else. Back in 200, Rob Prescott took the ball that was blasted out of Tim Euhus' hands to the house because he was hustling, and found himself in position to make a play. Hustle and desire are the things OSU needs to take with them to Palo Alto.

2. See the Forest for the Trees. Coach Riley and the staff have been nothing short of brilliant this season and it doesn't come without a dash of guilt that this criticism is lodged: At times this season the big picture has been lost. Oregon State is at their best when they run the football, even when they aren't able to do it as effectively as they would like. The playcalling needs to reflect the big picture, that the Beavers have to keep pounding the rock. Terron Ward has earned some carries after his brilliant performance against Arizona State – and the collective eyes of the offensive line will light up like Christmas morning if you tell them you're going to smash-mouth Stanford into submission.

3. Stay Positive. Takeaways are going to be huge in this game – it's going to be critical that the Beavers take care of the football. Running backs have to protect the rock and Cody Vaz will need to make sure he doesn't try to force the football. The defense will do what they do and as the game wears on they will have their fair share of chances to force a turnover from a young QB making his first start. But no matter what momentum Stanford might gain on any one play or drive, OSU needs to turn the page on each and every snap.

We missed you last week – turns out the wifi is spotty in the Happiest Place On Earth at times, and 4-year old little girls who are intent on meeting Every. Single. One. of the Disney Princesses (no matter how long your favorite Iron Fisted Dictator has to stand in line) do not care about finding internet reception so you can email your article to your editor. Please accept our most profound apologies and a promise never to go on vacation during football season again.

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