If ever OSU was to run it, this is the game

WE'VE HEARD IT all offseason (and throughout 2013 and 2012 too) -- the Beavs want to run. They're going to run. They want more balance. And they're going to have more balance. But it hasn't worked out that way on many a Saturday. But this Saturday should be different, and because of one thing in particular.

Physics.

The Oregon State o-line averages 304.6 pounds.

The Portland State d-line averages 272.5. The d-tackles are 340- and 290-pounds, and the ends are 240- and 220-pounds.

Granted, leverage and proper pad level are just as, if not more, important.

But if Oregon State can't open some running lanes for Storm Woods and Terron Ward against Portland State, especially in the B and C gaps, it's going to be disappointing.

The Beavs' starting five: LT Gavin Andrews, LG Garrett Weinreich, C Josh Mitchell, RG Grant Bays and LT Sean Harlow.

Woods and Ward must also do their part, of course, and personally I'm hoping Riley gives Damien Haskins a long look. From my chair, he has a world of potential this season, but it naturally depends on how many carries he gets, too. And Riley has indicated Ward and Woods will be the primary guys.

OSU LINEBACKERS, on paper, figure to have a good day.

The starting OSU 'backer trio have 426 combined tackles among Michael Doctor (185), D.J. Alexander (139) and Jabral Johnson (102).

This will be the first season opener OSU has started three senior linebackers since the 2007 campaign (vs. Utah) – Joey LaRocque, Derrick Doggett and Alan Darlin.

They, and the Beaver front, will be tasked with stopping PSU quarterbacks from making plays with their feet. Kieran McDonagh, who ran for 369 yards last season in the FCS, is the man but PSU has said they plan to get Paris Penn some reps.

And Penn can run a little bit too.

In six games in spot duty he rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown. It won't be surprising to see Penn come to run a set running play to test the Beavs. And if they gain success on it, they may just keep going back to that well over and over.

The Beavers allowed a robust 190.3 rushing yards per game last year.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Oregon State (0-0) opens the 2014 season hosting Portland State (0-0) Saturday at 1:07 p.m. The game is being televised by live on the Pac-12 Networks’ Oregon and Washington regional networks. Due to other programming, Dish Network will offer the game on overflow on channel 406.3 for Hopper-users and 593 for non-Hoppers.

  • OSU is 3-0 with its average margin of victory 30.3 points (126-35). Over the last three seasons OSU has forced 83 turnovers, third most in the conference and tied for ninth in the nation.

  • The saga of Kyle Peko continues. As of Friday morning, the Oregonian reported a team spokesman said the Beavers have yet to receive the academic paperwork necessary for Peko to compete on game days. The junior college transfer can practice with the Beavers for 31 more days without gaining full eligibility. Peko, since being allowed to practice, has rotated in the two deeps with Siale Hautau, Bud Delva and Jalen Grimble.

  • PSU head coach Nigel Burton, said to be in a make-or-break year in 2014, was on Mike Riley’s staff from 2003-07 as the secondary coach.


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