The Ducks enter the game at 4-3 in the Pac-10 while the Beavers sport a 4-2 PAC-10 record with a game at USC remaining on the schedule. If the Beavers can hang a loss on the hated Ducks they will clinch at the very least a tie for third place in the conference, with the possibility still existing that they could finish as high as a tie for first if the cards fall right.
How could the Beavers tie for first? Its pretty simple actually. If the Beavers beat the Ducks and the Trojans, they will be 6-2 in conference. By beating USC, that would leave them with two conference losses, assuming the men of Troy beat UCLA. Then, Washington State would have to lose to Washington, leaving the Cougars with two losses in the PAC-10 Will it happen? That remains to be seen, and we need to take care of the Ducks first. On to this weekends game.
|Jason Fife will be wary of Richard Seigler and the Oregon State defense.|
Sophomore quarterback Kellen Clemens leads the Oregon offense. Clemens has
completed 58.9% of his passes for 1,912 yards for 12 touchdowns and seven picks,
four in one game to the Cougars of Washington State. Senior, Jason Fife, has
also seen plenty of reps at quarterback throughout the year. Fife has
completed 52.9% of his passes for 866 yards for six touchdowns and four picks, three in the Cougar game. Fife is quite a bit more mobile than Clemens as he has
run for over 200 yards, and is the second leading rusher on the team. Fife also had five rushing touchdowns.
The Ducks leading rusher is Terrence Whitehead who has rushed for 625 yards, and six touchdowns while averaging a modest 3.9 yards per carry. Chris Vincent and Ryan Shaw have ran for 163 and 160 yards respectively to give the Ducks ground game a little variety. Wide receivers Samie Parker and Demetrius Williams lead a talented receiving core for the Ducks. Parker has caught 58 passes for 866 yards and five touchdowns, while Williams has added 44 receptions for 852 yards and seven touchdowns. Tight end Tim Day has also had a solid season with 18 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Whitehead has also got into the receiving mix hauling in 21 passes for 194 yards.
The Ducks offense will be going against one of the best defenses in the entire country. The Oregon State defense allows just 289.5 yards per game, a figure that ranks number one in the PAC-10 and 10th nationally. The Beavers run defense ranks fourth in the country, allowing 76.3 yards per game on the ground. OSUs pass efficiency defense also ranks fourth in the nation.
The men in black defense has done an excellent job intercepting their opponents as well, ranking 10th in the nation in that statistical category. Strong safety Mitch Meeuwsen leads the OSU defense with six picks, while cornerbacks Brandon Brown has five and Aric Williams has four. In comparison Oregons top interceptor, Keith Lewis, has just three interceptions thus far.
|Igor Olshansky has anchored the Duck defense the majority of the season.|
Three main components lead the Oregon defense. Defensive end Igor Olshansky, listed at 6-foot-6, 309 pounds on the UO website (although he has to be bigger than that), leads the defensive line. He has 45 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Linebacker Kevin Mitchell is the leader of the green and yellow defense with 95 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. The often-mouthy strong safety Keith Lewis leads the secondary with 65 tackles to go along with his three interceptions.
Special teams will definitely be a big part of the game on Saturday. Oregon clearly has the advantage in kickoff and punt coverage and returns. If you were at the OSU-Stanford game this past weekend, or saw it on television, chances are you would be concerned. Couple that with Oregons Kenny Washington returning a kickoff 97-yards for a touchdown last weekend and being named the Pac-10's special teams player of the week, OSU could be in trouble.
With all that said, I believe the Beavers have the better team. Will they win on Saturday? Only time will tell, but I have a hunch they will get the job done.
Jake Schubert can be reached at email@example.com.