Keys to the Hawaii game

So does this game mean something or not? At 9 p.m. Pacific time, the Beavers take on the University of Hawaii. There's been widespread speculation about letdowns, the fact that the Beavers already have their bowl bid and Pac-10 standings set, and the Hawaii players being loaded for bear and ready to make a statement about their program.

Oregon State already has finished their conference slate and accepted a bowl bid. Distractions are abound for many Beavers making their first trip to the islands – even QB Matt Moore acknowledged that it will be difficult for the Beavers to focus and play up to their potential, noting earlier this week: "There are a lot of things in Hawaii that can take away from your main focus of going over there."

If OSU was poised for a letdown, the Warriors are doing everything they can to make sure that the Beavers have plenty of motivation. Of particular note was the churning out the locker room bulletin board material with angry quotes in the media, replete with wishes for offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh to suit up in a Beaver uniform so that the Warrior players could extort a pound of flesh from their former assistant for his "betrayal."

After all the trash-talking in the week leading up to now, you could easily get the feeling that this game will be filled with penalties and personal fouls for a while.

On to the Keys!

1 – Slow The Game Down.
Keeping Hawaii's high-flying offense sitting on the sidelines during 8, 9, 10 play drives is going to be an important part of the Beavers winning the game. Hawaii is putting up 434.8 yards per game in the air and 118.9 ypg on the ground. The less possessions the Warriors have, the better. Run the rock, control the clock.

2 – Get Your Pass Rush On.
The Warriors have given up just 18 sacks on the year, but they have not faced a sack-machine defense like Oregon State up until now. It's very important that Brennan doesn't have time to sit back and pick apart the defense. Keeping Davone Bess (81 catches, 1039 yards) under wraps is Job One for the secondary. A pass rush will help the back four get that done. However: Colt Brennan averages 28.3 yards per game rushing, with 65 attempts in 12 contests. The pass rush will need to be there, but OSU can't forget about Colt's legs either.

3 – Put Nate Iloa in Alan Darlin's crosshairs.
The 5 foot 9, 255 pound Iloa is a formidable weapon—averaging 76.8 ypg and also functioning as the #2 receiver on the team (57 catches, 714 yards). Alan Darlin has the best opportunity of the Beaver linebackers to match up with Iloa in terms of size, and Darlin has the physicality to keep Iloa from running through him. Bryant Cornell will also need to do everything he can to keep Iloa under control when he steps in to spell Darlin.


Random Stats, Insignifica and Raw Data:

  • Hawaii's Passing attempts on the season: 523.

  • Hawaii's Rushing attempts on the season: 242.

  • Brennan needs three passing touchdowns to match David Klingler's 54 touchdowns. Brennan has only thrown nine interceptions on the season. Interesting bit of trivia: Klingler also played in the Run and Shoot offense for Houston—coming on the heels of Andre Ware's Heisman Trophy year in 1989.

  • Beavs offensive line will go a long way towards helping OSU win the game if they can keep UH's Melila Purcell under wraps. The 6 foot 5, 266 pound senior leads the UH defense with 7.5 sacks on the year.

Catch the game on ESPN at 9, and post in on the official game thread on the message boards.

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