Best defense is a good offense
Oregon State leads the Pac-10 and is ninth in the nation in time of possession at 32:09 a game and that bodes well heading into Saturday's game. The Beavers best defense against Hawaii's offense will be long, clock eating drives that keep the Warrior offense on the sidelines.
"If we can put together plays of seven, eight or nine plays that just eat up the clock and keep their offense off of the field then that is a job well done," quarterback Matt Moore said. "Keeping them off of the field will be a big issue for us this week."
Another key will not be turning the ball over and giving the Warriors a short field or any field to work with. Despite ranking 111th out of 119 for time of possession Hawaii leads the nation with 32 touchdown drives of five plays or less and has scored 24 touchdowns in two minutes or less.
"It is going to be a great challenge for us, but I am happy to get to pass rush the whole game if they throw 90-percent of the game," defensive tackle Ben Siegert said. "Maybe we can get some sacks. It will be a great challenge for us to see what we are made of."
The Orange and Black defense has been outstanding ranking eighth in the nation in sacks per game at 3.2 and ninth in the nation in total tackles for loss at 7.5 per game. In its victories, OSU is plus-12 for turnover margin.
In it for the long haul
The Oregon State Beavers suited up on opening day Thursday, Aug. 31 and they will strap on their helmets for the end of the regular college football season Saturday, Dec. 2. In fact, the Beavers are just one of six schools that will be playing on the first and last days of the 2006 collegiate football year.
The 13-game regular season schedule has spanned five months, contained 11 consecutive weeks of football and accounted for over 36 hours of pigskin game time. A couple of weeks ago the physical demands of the longest schedule in school history started to take its toll on the players.
"We have so many players beat up right now. I know for myself I am pretty banged up," defensive tackle Ben Siegert said. "It is a long season, plus having that bye week early in the season, we didn't get that break that most teams get mid season.
"It is a great opportunity to have that many games to play, but it takes a toll on your body."
Many of the team's star players, including Pac-10 first team members Yvenson Bernard and Jeremy Perry are fighting through ankle and knee problems. But, with the help of trainer Barney Graff, the players are feeling better than they have in weeks.
"We are healthier now than we were mid-year," head coach Mike Riley said. "For a time there Jeremy Perry was hurt, Yvenson Bernard was hurt and Ruben Jackson was hurt. Those guys are playing now and they are probably feeling as good as they have for quiet some time.
"That's great from our team's vantage point and great for them individually because they are very, very important parts of what we do."
Quarterback Matt Moore is an important part of what the Beavers do and he has stayed fresh both mentally and physically this year, although he admits to feeling lethargic in practice due to the lengthy schedule.
"Mentally I am fine. That's not an issue," Moore said. "The physical part is guys just kind of get tired. You can feel it some days, you drag a little bit, but you just have to get back up and finish strong."
Finishing strong is just what Riley wants to do, but that could be a difficult task against the twenty fourth ranked team in the country. Riley doesn't know if we would schedule a 13-game season again. He says check back with him after the game.
"I will probably tell you Saturday night," Riley said. "Right now I am excited about it and I like the opportunity for our team."