Keys to the USC game

After a successful two game road trip, the Beavers return home conquering heroes - with a stern test against the Pac-10 leader in providing "moral victories" for opponents looming on the horizon: #3 USC.

It doesn't look like a good match up for the Beavers, on paper or on film. The Trojans are coming off a bye week and should have injured receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith back, and haven't lost a Pac-10 conference game since God was a child. Oregon State is coming off a gritty, physical game down in the desert against Arizona, with a number of key injuries including star tailback Yvenson Bernard, and has lost the last four home games in a row.

Still, the Beaver faithful can't help but believe that there is some magic in this year's squad, and for the first time in years it seems that USC could be human. Oregon State's defense is playing some of the best football Beaver fans have seen in years.  The Beavers have already produced more sacks through seven games than all of last season.

Personally, I am bringing an opossum and a fog machine to do my part helping catch some lightening in a bottle.

On to the keys to the game:

1 – Get Some Booty.
Our first key comes courtesy of TXBEAVER-- "Blitz till he quits!" BelieverTim and I sacrificed a bottle of Irish whiskey and a chicken (okay, a bucket of KFC, whatever) to the almighty Jobu last summer in hopes of finding a legit pass-rusher at defensive end, and we're elated to find that the bucket full of chicken parts got us a bucket full of defensive line players rotating into the game to put together a pass rush. Dorian Smith and Victor Butler need to play key roles in this game - Butler's speed is a big asset in thrid down situations and Smith is an emerging as a dominant player who can compliment Curtis Coker in the middle.


2 – Win The Turnover Battle.
To come out and win this game, Oregon State is going to need to be on the plus side of the turnover margin in the box score. That's not to say that Moore needs to be conservative with the ball; quite the contrary. Matt needs to be a swashbuckling gunslinger this week, but he needs to get lucky when he makes a bad decision or two.  He also needs to get a bounce or two that falls his way when he lets the deep ball fly. On the flip side, the defense will need to come up with a key turnover or two, just like they did against Arizona.


3 – Red Zone Efficiency.
The defense needs to keep SC out of the end zone when they get inside the 20 and make them settle for field goals.  On the flip side the offense needs to get points every time they get into the red zone. I know this is a tall order but this is what the Beavers need to do to win the game. They need to be perfect. It will take a perfect game to beat the Trojans.


Reviewing last week's keys:

  • Give Matt Moore A Little Time, O-Line: Matt was 16 of 22 for 181 yards and wasn't sacked once. Can't really ask for much more than that. Grade: A+.

  • Keep Up The Pass Rush.: The defense manufactured three sacks for 27 yards, officially, and did a good job of producing pressure while keeping the run contained, and helping the defense get a pair of picks. Grade: A.

  • Get A Couple Big Plays: Though the offense didn't manufacture a lot of big plays, Sammie Stroughter did pull in a 34 yard touchdown to get the ball rolling. Most of the key plays came on defense: Joey LaRocque had a key interception that was a dagger in Arizona's collective heart, followed by Daniel Drayton's interception to put the final nail in the coffin during Arizona's last gasp....and no play deserved more recognition than Alan Darlin's 12-yard sack of Kris Heavner with 37 seconds left in the game. That DEFINITELY was a big play. Grade: B+.


(OA's keys to the game show up weekly to help take in a new direction.)

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Thaaaaaaaaaank yoooou... sooooo muuuuchhh.

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