Last year in Boise OSU got off to a quick start scoring 14 quick ones before BSU took over the game eventually demolishing the Beavers 53-34. Receiver Mike Hass had a record setting day, but that was the only positive from a year ago. The orange and black players and coaches were simply embarrassed.
"Well I think for our players, a lot of them played in that game remember that game very well. And I think this has turned into a pretty nice rivalry," coach Mike Riley said. "Were into the nuts and bolts in preparing for the game, what they do and who they have and how to defend it or how to attack it, but there will be another emotional level to this game that will be special."
The Beavers will be keyed and so will Boise State as they were humilated last week on national television at Georgia losing 48-13. Quarterback Jared Zabranksy had a horrible game completing just 8 of 17 passes for 70 yards and four interceptions and was replaced in the second half. Once again Boise State will be on national television and will be looking to redeem themselves.
"I could not imagine them not bouncing back and being ready to go," Riley said. "Theyre a top 20 team and this has turned into a big game for both teams."
One of the big reasons of the blowout in Boise was Zabransky who hurt the Beavers with his running ability and his arm. After a terrible outing last weekend "Z" will be looking to find his game against a secondary he knows he can throw and run on.
"Well we need to really be consistent in our containment of the quarterback," Riley said. "That is rush lanes, discipline and that is tenacity. So you have to combine all that, stay after the guy, maintain your position and then make something happen."
The Beaver defense had a tough time getting through the Portland State offensive linemen, but will receive a boost with defensive tackle Ben Siegert returning to the lineup. Unfortunately, defensive tackle Kernel Booth is out two to three weeks hurting the line's depth. A lot of players on both sides of the ball received a "baptism" on Saturday. Thirteen new starters including five true freshman saw the turf a week ago and now the head coach is looking for improvement every week, especially from the secondary.
"It was three new guys out there, and I really liked how they battled in the ball game," said Riley who is 24-24 at Oregon State. "And I think that it was great baptism for them and they will continually get tested and there will be more and more stuff. But I thought it was a good start."
In addition to the secondary improving Riley will be looking for the offensive line to block better for the ground game. Despite being disappointed with the units run blocking he said that Yvenson Bernard had decent numbers for the type of offense that OSU runs. The Corvallis native was very pleased with the unit's pass protection as it yielded just two sacks and allowed Matt Moore to throw for almost 400 yards.
The offense will also be receiving a boost with the return of running back Jimtavis Walker from a one game suspension. Walker's return will help keep Bernard fresh and give the team a two headed monster in the backfield.
"You could seem them both in the backfield at the same time," Riley said. "Yvenson has played fullback for us before, JT would be our tailback."
An improving offensive line and a healthy backfield may be the key to defeating the Broncos on Saturday. The rubber match kickoffs at 3:30 p.m. in sold out Reser Stadium.
- QB Matt Moore was nominated for Pac-10 Player of the Week
- It is expected that the starting lineup will remain the same this week.
- Oregon State received six votes in the AP poll
- Riley's keys to the game
- Contain the quarterback - "We need to really be consistent
in our containment of the quarterback. That is rush lanes, discipline
and that is tenacity. So you have to combine all that, stay after the
guy, maintain your position and then make something happen."
- Balance the offense - "I would like to see a little more
run. The reason wed like to run more is that it makes it a little
bit tougher on the defense. Our balance would be very helpful to our quarterback
and our passing game in general, so I would like to see a better balance."
- Block better for the running game - "We didnt run the ball like we anticipated or wanted to, so weve got to continue working on that. But I thought that overall that line played pretty well, and they were able to basically pass protect, and they stayed together pretty well."
- Contain the quarterback - "We need to really be consistent in our containment of the quarterback. That is rush lanes, discipline and that is tenacity. So you have to combine all that, stay after the guy, maintain your position and then make something happen."
Dan Norz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.