Both the Beavers and Hornets have strong-armed quarterbacks who have set records at their respective schools. Beaver quarterback Derek Anderson put up big numbers last year. So did Hornet quarterback Ryan Leadingham. Each threw for well over 2,000 yards, but Anderson does play in the Pac-10 against superior competition.
No team the Beavers play will have a better running back than their own Steven Jackson. The Hornets feature an atheltic, strong, back in Tyronne Gross, but he pales in comparison to number thirty-four. With a record setting year behind him, numerous post and preseason accolades, and status as a Heisman candidate -- Jackson is the man.
Both teams feature outstanding players in Oregon State's James Newson and Sacramento State's Fred Amey. Both have shown the ability to make big plays, requiring extra attention from the backfield. The secondary receivers are comparable. One plus for the Hornets is that Kenan Smith can throw the ball with accuracy. The Beavers top to bottom are more skilled and Newson is one of the best in the nation.
Oregon State is stacked at the tight end position. The Hornets return one starting tight end from last year, Caleb Jones, who hauled in 22 catches for 255 yards and one touchdown. Beaver tight end Tim Euhus also caught 22 passes for 385 yards and one touchdown. Coleb Jones is a quality player, but any of the Beavers' starting four(!) can run, block, and catch better.
The Hornet's return four all-conference offensive lineman who helped the Horntes average over 400 yards of offense per game. But, the Beavers return six hogs with Pac 10 game experience. These big boys helped Anderson and Jackson set numerous school records in 2003. Although both lines are skilled, the big nasties for the Beavers have had to play against players who now reside on NFL rosters.
The Hornets return four defensive linemen with lots of game experience who can clog up the middle. But with Bill Swancutt and Dwan Edwards, both post season award candidates, the Beavers will wreak havoc on the Hornet quarterback.
Another deep postion for both teams. Each return solid middle linebackers in Ryan Kroeker and Richard Seigler, but once again the Beavers corps is faster, stronger and meaner in a much tougher league.
A question mark for both teams. The Beavers do not return any starters, the Hornets return only one, Jeremey Johnson. The Hornets feature a strong safety with many accolades and an unproven free safety. The Beavers have one of the best safety combinations in the Pac-10 in Lawrence Turner and Mitch Meeuwsen, with several capable backsups. Once again the Beavs beat out the Hornets.
All-Pac-10 kicker Kirk Yliniemi returns after hitting 15 of 16 field goals in 2003. The Hornets feature a freshman, Mitch Lively. Yliniemi and his strong leg have the easy edge. The Beavers return Carl Tobey who averaged 40.3 yards a kick. The Hornets are once again relying on a newbie in Todd Marshall who transferred from Long Beach City College where he averaged 38.9 yards a kick.
The Beavers feature the combination of Josh Hawkins returning punts and Brandon Catanese and Harvey Whiten returning kickoffs. Each player is athletic, but inexperienced. The Hornets return All-American play-rmaker Fred Amey who handles punt and kickoff return duties for the green and gold. Amey racked up 514 yards (25.7 avg) on kickoff returns and 278 (8.4) yards on punt returns and one touchdown last season. Amey has experience and therefore gets the node over the men in black.