Oregon State has not won a game on the road against ranked competition in its last six tries with its last road loss coming at the hands of No. 22 Arizona State in 2004. The last time OSU won on the road, excluding the Fiesta Bowl, against a ranked foe was in 2000 as Oregon State defeated No. 23 UCLA, 44-38. The task at Papa Johns Stadium won't be easy as some pundits have Louisville playing for the national title plus the non conference tilt kickoffs at 9 a.m. west coast time. As a result the men in black have started practice at 6 a.m. all week long in hopes of eliminating any hangover of an early game.
"Thats probably one of the hardest transitions a team has to make in playing in ball games is practicing and playing a road early game," said Riley who is 25-24 at Oregon State. "But this is a pretty good time of year to do that. Weve just gotten out of camp and two-a-day practices. Were just getting used to being up, so we hope we can put that all behind us so we can just go play the game."
Louisville has just one game under their belts as they squared off against arch rival Kentucky a week ago. In his first collegiate start Brian Brohm completed 19 of 27 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while Doak Walker candidate Michael Bush added 128 yards and two touchdowns.
"(Bush) is a big guy, so were going to have to obviously get a number of people around him, and that is probably as big of a deal as anything," Riley said. "(Brohm) is a good player. He can throw all the balls, and hes a good athlete. When you play people like that, you want to make them do what they do on time, and not give them extra time."
The Oregon State defense did a nice job of containing Jared Zabransky last weekend as they filled the rushing lanes and stayed disciplined. Once again the unit, specifically the defensive line, will need to step their game up to keep the pressure on Brohm and off the young, but growing, Beaver corners. Just as Riley preaches, constant improvement from week to week.
The good thing about last week is the Beaver defense did not give up but kept on fighting. Yes, Gerard Lawson got burnt, yes Keith Ellison missed a couple of tackles, but when it came down to it the defense buckled down and started to show that swagger that orange and black fans have grown to love the past few seasons.
A weakness that Oregon State can exploit is Louisville's secondary which gave up 278 yards to Kentucky. Mike Hass and Matt Moore need to both have big days as the Cardinal is specifically focusing on shutting down the Beaver passing attack in practice this week. The offensive line will have its work cut out as Elvis Dumervil, who set a school record by recording six sacks against Kentucky, will be looking to get to Moore early and often.
Perhaps the largest concern is the Oregon State special teams who had an tumultuous game against Boise State. The team has worked extra hard on kickoff and punt coverage and are in shape to make a positive impact at Louisville. Kentucky blocked a punt against Louisville and Oregon State will look to do the same.
With a win the Men in Black could catapult into the national rankings for the first time in over a year. Expectations are high for the fans, players and coaches. If Oregon State can contain Bush and Brohm and continue their success through the air the they will have a chance at an upset.
- Quarterback Matt Moore, linebacker Keith Ellison and kicker Alexis Serna
were all nominated for Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.
- The Beavers received votes in both polls.
- Louisville has never played a team from the state of Oregon and is 2-1 against
PAC-10 play. They are 2-1 against Arizona State.
- Kicker Alexis Serna was named one of the three Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Star this week for his performance against Boise State.