BF.C Keys to the Game: California

HAVING LOST TWO of the past three games, the Beavers find themselves reeling somewhat. The good news? Oregon State plays a reeling Cal team that might not have the same head coach 24 hours from now.

This one comes at a perfect time, with the Civil War looming large and the Beavers needing a game that has the potential to be a "night off". And while there is no such thing as an easy win in the Pac 12, the rumor is that Tedford's seat isn't just hot - it's on fire. Word around cyberspace and in the media is that Tedford, the dean of Pac-12 coaches having held the position of Head Coach for Cal since 2002, will end his tenure after the contest with Oregon State regardless of the outcome of the game.

One has to wonder if Tedford took a long look at his starting quarterback Zack Maynard prior to the season's kick off, and determined that yes, he should get his house on the market early and might as well call the movers now.

Jeff Tedford's Cal squad isn't good this season, having been ravaged by injury (and limping in after a valiant effort and physical contest against Oregon). Vegas has the Beavs as double digit favorites and with Cal's defense giving up an average of over 35 points per game this season, all signs would seem to point to the likelihood of the Beavers putting this one away early and being able to play the reserves.

Not so fast, my friend.

Oregon State started off the season hot with a 6-0 record before falling to Washington on the road. Purely looking at box scores, you may not notice that the Beavers have yet to put together a complete game where the offense came out hot and put the game away early to coast to a victory with the backups in getting some reps. Yet that's been the case, not one contest in the stunning 2012 season has come easily to the Beavers, all having been close games well into the 4th quarter, win or loss.

This is a dangerous game for the Beavers. Cal is unpredictable and while the Bears could be coming out flat, they could just as well come out defiant and energized, as they did against Oregon. The Beavers will be on upset alert and Oregon State just cannot get caught looking ahead to the Civil War showdown with Oregon. Here are the Keys to the Game:

1) Ground and Pound. Oregon State has struggled with consistency in 2012 and while they were productive against a stingy Stanford run defense that was ranked 1st in the country, the coaching staff didn't show confidence in running the football instead electing to pass on 3rd and 2 with the game on the line. Both QB's are banged up so OSU will need to run the football well against Cal.

2.) Load the Box. Cal is also facing injury woes in the passing game with QB Zach Maynard and star WR Keenan Allen both listed as questionable today. One would hope that the Beaver D still remembers Isi Sofele and the 190 yards he rushed for against Oregon State last season.

3) Control the Clock. Oregon State's defense can ill-afford to spend much time on the field after a physical contest against Stanford. The offense will need to be consistent and convert 3rd downs to eat up the clock and take the pressure off the defense.

Questions? Comments? Promises to run the Dirty Dash if the Beavers can finish the regular season with just 2 losses? Email your Dear Leader at orangeattack@beaverfootball.com

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