Utah at Oregon State notebook

Series history...school records set by OSU in previous matchups with Utah...non-conference, no problem...dueling quarterbacks...news, notes and more.

Head coach:  Kyle Whittingham (3rd season)
(Career: 15-10 | At UO: 15-10)
Current ranking: NR
Current record: 0-0
Streak: One game winning streak
Head coach: Mike Riley (7th season)
(Career: 38-34 | At OSU: 38-34)
Current ranking: NR
Current record: 0-0
Streak: Four game winning streak

 

Last time Oregon State and Utah met...
Sept. 26, 1992 in Utah - Utah 42, Oregon State 9
Frank Dolce, now Utah’s radio color commentator, passed for three touchdowns in the first half en route to a 42-9 Utah victory in Salt Lake City in 1992. Utah’s final score came when current Ute safeties coach Derrick Odum recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.

Utah out-gained OSU 527-312 in total offense.

 

Last time Utah played...
Dec. 23, 2006 - Utah 25, Tulsa 13 (Armed Forces Bowl)
Fittingly, the ball was in Utah defensive standout Eric Weddle's hands when the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl ended.

Weddle had an interception on the final play Saturday night, only a minute after scoring on a 4-yard run, to cap the Utes' 25-13 victory over Tulsa. Utah has won six straight bowl games, matching the longest active streak ... more from the Associated Press.

 

Last time Oregon State played...
Dec. 29, 2006 - Oregon State 39, Missouri 38 (Sun Bowl)
Oregon State coach Mike Riley was set to take his chances in overtime at the Brut Sun Bowl.

Then Missouri called timeout to have Joe Newton's 14-yard touchdown catch with 22.1 seconds to go reviewed, believing he may have bobbled the ball. During that break, Riley decided to go for the win ... more from BF.com

 

Series history (Oregon State leads 8-4-1, In Corvallis 3-1-1).
Oregon State and Utah have met 13 times since 1931 with the Beavers holding a 8-4-1 advantage. The longest winning streak belongs to OSU who won six consectuive games from 1949-1968. Three games have been played in Portland.

Utah currently holds a two game winning streak, their longest in the series, defeating the Men in Black in Oregon in 1991 and in Utah in 1992. The Beavers last victory in the series was in 1970 when they won 31-21.

Throwing out the two blowouts, a 42-9 drubbing by Utah in 1992 and a 61-28 win by OSU in 1951, the record book shows tightly contested games with eight contests being decided by 14 or fewer points. A couple of Beaver teams set school records against the Utes that still stand today. The 1951 team racked up a school best 703 total yards while Bill “Earthquake” Enyart’s 299 rushing yards in 1968 is still tops in Corvallis.

Oregon State will travel to Utah in 2008 on Sept. 6.

 

Utah connections.
None. Utah does not have a player from Oregon on its roster. OSU DT Sioeli Nau played his junior college ball at Utah's Snow College and his prep ball at Spanish Fork.

 

One of two.
The game is one of only two in the opening week that features a matchup between 2006 bowl teams -- OSU played in the Brut Sun Bowl last season and Utah in the Armed Forces Bowl (the other is Oklahoma State at Georgia).

 

Good in the postseason.
Both programs in this Thursday’s contest are used to successful seasons and bowl wins. Utah has the second-longest active bowl win streak (6 games) and Oregon State is tied for the fourth-longest active win streak (3 games/longest in Pac-10). Boston College has the longest win streak at seven. Beaver head coach Mike Riley has never lost a bowl game (6-0) -- 3-0 at OSU and 3-0 at USC as offensive coordinator.

 

Season openers.
OSU is undefeated in August (3-0), but it has never faced a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly D-I) club. This is the first time Oregon State has opened the season at home against a FBS (Div. I) member since hosting Nevada to open the 1998 season.

Utah has won four of its last five games against Pac-10 opponents. Kyle Whittingham is 1-1 against the Pac-10 as Utah's head coach (beat Arizona in 2005 and lost to UCLA in 2006) and 9-9 against the Pac-10 counting his years as a Ute assistant coach - dating back to 1994. Since 2001, Utah is 12-6 against BCS schools: 7-0 in Rice-Eccles Stadium, 3-0 at neutral sites (bowl games) and 2-6 on the road.

Utah's most recent season-opening road win was in 2002 at Utah State and the last time the Utes began the year with a road win over a Pac 10 foe was in 1999 at Washington State.

 

Rule changes.
Several rules changes were made during the offseason. The most noteworthy is that kickoffs have moved from the 35-yard-line to the 30 in an attempt to put the ball in play more. The play clock will be 15 seconds following a television timeout. Two rules from last season were rescinded -- on kickoffs the clock now starts when the ball is touched by the receiving team and on a change of possession the clock begins at the snap.

 

Non-conference, no problem.
The Beavers have won 22 consecutive non-conference games at home and head coach Mike Riley is a perfect 13-0 at Reser Stadium against non-Pac-10 foes.

However Thursday’s game figures to be one of the tougher foes during that streak that includes wins over Boise State (twice), Eastern Washington (twice), Idaho, Portland State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Sacramento State, Fresno State (twice), Baylor, Nevada, UNLV, Eastern Kentucky, Northern Arizona, San Diego State, Georgia Southern, San Jose State, Northern Illinois, Utah State and North Texas.

 

Turnovers.
Over the last four seasons, Oregon State is 17-2 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 2-11 when committing more turnovers and 3-2 when even.

In its victories during last season, Oregon State was plus-14 for turnover margin; in its losses minus-6. Opponents’ turnovers led to 13 OSU touchdowns and five field goals -- 106 points.

 

Dueling quarterbacks.
For the first time in modern history and the first time during the Riley era, Oregon State heads into the opener with alternating quarterbacks. OSU is the only Pac-10 team entering the season without an experienced quarterback. There is a total of one career start (by Ryan Gunderson) among the quarterbacks on hand

Sophomore left-hander Sean Canfield (8 games in ‘06) will start (his first) the game with sophomore Lyle Moevao (MOY-vow) entering at the beginning of the second quarter -- if Canfield is leading the team on a drive he may stay in the game. The decision for the third and fourth quarters will be made at halftime.

Canfield, who is right-handed except as a QB and in ping pong, is the first lefty to start a game for OSU since Terrance Bryant Oct. 24, 1998 at Washington. Both signal-callers have distinctvely different styles -- Canfield (6-4, 218) is a pro-style pocket passer with some mobility, while Moevao (5-11, 226) is more of a scrambler and “quick hits” style passer.

Riley anticipates using both quarterbacks in a similar fashion Sept. 6 at Cincinnati or until one establishes himself as the top option.

 

Record watch.
Only one prominent OSU career record appears legitimately in jeopardy this year as placekicker Alexis Serna zeros in on the school’s career scoring mark. Serna enters the year with 292 points, trailing only the 366 posted by former running back Ken Simonton (1998-01). Serna has an OSU-record 62 career field goals and is the active field goal leader in the NCAA entering the season. The Pac-10 record for career field goals is 85 (John Lee, UCLA, 1982-85).

 

Paving the way.
Oregon State’s offensive line is one of the most heralded in the nation, with several preaseason publications naming the group among the best in the country.

The line is headed by preseason first team All-American left guard Jeremy Perry. The junior, who was the 2005 Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year and 2006 First Team All-Pac-10 member, is a candidate for the Lombardi and Outland awards.

Senior center Kyle DeVan is on the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, senior guard Roy Schuening is a preseason All-American, and junior tackle Andy Levitre is considered one of the best technical blockers on the team.

The new starter, replacing the New York GiantsAdam Koets, is junior Tavita Thompson at left tackle. Overall the Beaver offensive line, including reserves, has accounted for 98 starts.

 

Renovated Reser.
The second phase of the Reser Stadium expansion/remodel project was completed prior to the season opener, raising capacity to 45,674. The latest phase bowled in the south end zone and features the largest score/video screen in the Pac-10. The actual video portion of the board is 30x80 feet -- overall the board is 150 feet wide. The board is operated by a television production truck that is owned by OSU and is the same truck that operates
the recently installed score/video board at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field (baseball). In addition, a “ribbon board” was erected on the exterior of the Valley Football Center. In all, over the last three years approximately $110 million of improvements have been constructed in or around Reser Stadium.

 

It's academic.
Oregon State is tied for second in the Pac-10 with the number of conference All-Academic selections over the last two seasons with 20. The Beavers have a plethora of players who will be finishing up their requirements for degrees during the upcoming academic year (OSU does not begin fall term until Sept. 24) -- William ‘Akau’ola Vea (June/Construction Eng.); Yvenson Bernard (Dec./Merchandising Mgmt); Anthony Brown (June/Ethnic Studies); Joel Cohen (Dec./Liberal Studies); Curtis Coker (March/Sociology); Kyle DeVan (Dec./Business Adm.); Naymon Frank (Dec./Sociology); Ryan Gunderson (Dec./Construction Eng.); Brandon Powers (Dec./Business Adm./Communication); Roy Schuening (March/Agriculture); Alexis Serna (Dec./History); Dorian Smith (June/Communication); Sammie Stroughter (March/Sociology); Jeff Van Orsow (Dec./Political Science).

 

A trifecta.
USC claims the “Tailback U” title in college football and rightfully so with four individuals in the top-10 for career rushing in the Pac-10 Conference. But, to the surprise of many, Oregon State is the only other program with more than one individual in the top-10 -- Ken Simonton (2nd/5,044 yards) and St. Louis RamsSteven Jackson (7th/3,747 yards). Current Beaver Yvenson Bernard could be the third Beaver -- he currently is the conference’s active leader with 2,707 yards and needs to average 82 yards per game to catch No. 10 -- Ricky Bell (USC/2,689). The other programs represented in the conference’s top-10 are Arizona, UCLA, Stanford and Washington.

 

Additional notes.

  • Oregon State received 42 votes in the initial Associated Press Top 25 Poll and 52 votes in the USA Today/Coaches Poll -- placing it eighth in the “also receiving votes” category. Utah did not receive any votes in either poll.
  • Oregon State’s 2007 season and game tickets campaign has been widely successful and already the thirdmost season passes have been sold in one year -- 23,617 as of Aug. 23. Utah broke its school season ticket record by selling 24,400 tickets as of Aug. 17. The previous mark of 24,250 was set a year ago. In the last four years, Utah’s season ticket base has increased by 8,000.
  • Oregon State is 33-5 when it leads after three quarters with Riley as the head coach. Over the last three seasons, the Beavers are 20-1 (only loss was to LSU).
  • Yvenson Bernard, Alan Darlin, Jeff Van Orsow, Derrick Doggett and Sammie Stroughter are the 2007 team captains. Bernard was also a co-team captain in 2006.
  • Several Beavers are on the preseason watch lists for national awards. Here is the list: Yvenson Bernard (RB) -- Doak Walker Award, Jeff Van Orsow (DE) -- Lott Trophy Derrick Doggett (LB) -- Nagurski Award, Jeremy Perry (OG) -- Lombardi and Outland Awards Kyle DeVan (C) -- Rimington Trophy, Alexis Serna (PK) -- Groza Award
  • Utah offensive lineman Jason Boone, a preseason all-conference pick, was the only starter lost for the season during fall camp. Boone, a senior slated to start for the third straight year, tore his ACL in a non-contact drill on Aug. 9.
  • The Beavers are the first Pac-10 team to play in 2007.
  • The media picked the Beavers to finish fifth in the Pac-10 while they selected Utah to finish third in the Mountain West.

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