LAST WEEK: Idaho State started the 2007 season on the correct foot as the defense limited NAIA Southern Oregon to -24 yards rushing and just 119 total yards as the Bengals won 37-11.
|KEY INJURIES:||KEY INJURIES:
WHEN OREGON STATE IS ON OFFENSE: QB Sean Canfield will start his third consecutive game and will play until the game is a blowout or he struggles to move the offense. In two games Canfield has completed 26 of 52 (52%) for 218 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. QB Lyle Moevao has completed 17 of 32 (53.1%) for 175 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. Moevao and Canfield's eight interceptions equal the total amount by the other nine Pac-10 teams.
Each has struggled throwing the ball downfield as the longest completion is a 35-yarder with most completions being dumped off to the running backs or on short routes to the receivers. Stretching the field is very important to help the ground game get going.
RB Yvenson Bernard was held to a career low 30 yards last week against Cincinnati, but had nowhere to run the entire game. In two games he has 195 yards and two touchdowns on 45 carries (4.3 ypc). When given room to run Bernard is tough between the tackles. He is sure handed as he is the team's leading receiver with 11 catches for 40 yards and he is a fantastic blocker.
Matt Sieverson, who received all of the downs last week in the fourth quarter, is Bernard's backup. Sieverson does a great job of keeping his legs moving. He has 25 yards on nine carries and is the team's third leading receiver with six catches for 41 yards. Last year's backup running back Clinton Polk was cleared last week to practice and could receive some carries this week.
Blocking for the running backs is an offensive line that got utterly dominated last week. The fire, passion and aggressiveness that seemed to characterize this offensive line was, for whatever reason, was missing. Due to their poor play, the offensive line members are not talking to the media this week and instead will let their play do all of the talking.
In the first game of the year the line took a big hit with All-American left guard Jeremy Perry hurting his ankle forcing him to miss six weeks. Junior Adam Speer stepped in at left guard and will serve in the same capacity against Idaho State. To his left is first year starter Tavita Thompson who will be making his third career start at left tackle.
Kyle DeVan is making his 28th consecutive start at center and is one of the better centers in the conference. The right side of the line is the most experienced with Roy Schuening, who will be making a team best 40th consecutive start, at guard. Andy Levitre, one of the better blockers on the team and the only player on the offensive line to be recognized by Mike Riley as doing a good job last week, fills the right tackle position.
Despite their struggles, mainly blocking for the running game, they have only given up two sacks in two games. The offense is averaging 201.5 yards per game through the air and 138.5 on the ground, both good for eighth in the conference.
The receivers are a mix of veterans who have yet to step up and freshman who are coming into their own. The best receiver on the team is Sammie Stroughter who played his first game of the year last week. After missing two weeks of fall camp he looked rusty, dropping one pass, and not recording a reception.
With a game under his belt look for the coaches to get him the ball so he can build his confidence heading into conference play. Backing up Stroughter is true freshman Darrell Catchings who is the team's second leading receiver with six catches for 57 yards and the team's only receiving touchdown.
In the slot is Brandon Powers, who is a great blocker and does the dirty work to get the ground and passing game going. Powers has five catches for a team high 76 yards. Behind him is Shane Morales who had a decent game against UC last week grabbing four passes for 28 yards.
At split end is senior Anthony Brown who is also a great blocker. He has three catches for 53 yards for a team high 17.7 yards per catch. True freshman James Rodgers backs up Brown. Rodgers has speed to burn, has four carries for 62 yards and is mainly used on end arounds.
The young tight ends offensive skills are starting to emerge with Howard Croom starting. He has four catches for 55 yards, with three of his catches coming against the Bearcats.
Brady Camp, one of the top blockers on the squad, is the second tight end in the two tight end set. He has one catch for seven yards.
WHEN IDAHO STATE IS ON OFFENSE: For the first time in 10 years at Idaho State a freshman quarterback, Russell Hill, started at quarterback. In his college debut he threw for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 20 of 31 passing.
Hill led the offense to 512 yards (440 yards of which came on his drives) and 27 points, which doesn't include two touchdowns that were called back because of penalties. He completed five passes for over 20 yards or longer.
The offensive line is led by all-conference center George Yarno (6-0, 275), who transferred from the University of Nevada in 2005. Since arriving in Pocatello Yarno has started all 23 games. He is a team captain and was named a preseason All-American by several publications.
At the guard positions are left Lance Cartwright (6-6, 310) who will be making his second career start and right guard Bryce Metcalf (6-3, 270), who played in all 11 games last year, and will be making his fifth career start.
Evan Dietrich-Smith (6-4, 285), who has 23 starts under his belt and Oregon transfer Aaron Klovis (6-6, 305), who was a part time starter last year, man the tackles.
Running behind the offensive line is Josh Barnett (5-11, 185) who is 845 yards away from becoming the Bengals' all-time leading rusher. Barnett was named to the first all-conference team last year after rushing for 1,117 yards, the third best total in school history.
He is a preseason All-Big Sky selection who rushed for 136 yards on 14 carries last week. Barnett is also dangerous of the backfield as he has excellent hands.
Bakcing up Barnett is junior Ken Comist, who has 17 career touchdowns and had 51 yards against Southern Oregon.
When the fullback is used homtown hero Clint Knickrehm is used. He had 64 yards last weekend and was named Special Teams Player of the Year in 2006.
The Bengals' usually feature a two-tight end set with Trevor Messersmith (6-3, 250) and Luc Martin (6-5, 230) getting the starting nods. Messersmith did not record a catch while Martin had one grab for 21 yards.
The team's leading receiver is junior Eddie Thompson (5-11, 185), who is a preseason Big Sky selection, and is coming off of a torn ACL. He caught a career high nine passes for 101 yards last week, including a 70-yard touchdown.
Thompson is the team's big play receiver and does very well picking up extra yardage after the catch.
Senior Clyde Logan (6-4, 200) and junior Edsel Logan (5-11, 185) round out the starting receivers. Clyde had four catches for 47 yards while Edsel chipped in with three catches for 30 yards.
Sophomore Jaron Taylor (5-11, 180) is one of the first receivers off of the bench. He caught three passes for 44 yards.
WHEN IDAHO STATE HAS THE BALL: Despite the scoreboard reading 34 points last week, the Oregon State defense turned in a solid game. Turnovers game the Bearcats a short field, their first three drives covered just 32 yards, so the OSU defense wasn't put in a situation to succeed.
In fact the Beaver "D" ranks in the top 15 of several NCAA categories. They are 12th inthe nation and second in the conference for total defense allowing 212.5 yards per game. The unit ranks third for rush defense allowing just 24 yards per carry and is eighth in the country at 4.0 sacks per game.
On the whole, they are fundamentally sound, fast and are great at making open field tackles. They have not allowed any points in the fourth quarter this year.
The run defense starts up front with plenty of talented and experience on the defensive line. DE Dorian Smith is one of the quickest lineman on the team. He has one sack.
On the left side of the line is Jeff Van Orsow who does a little bit of everything. He has seven tackles, tops among lineman, including one sack and one pass deflection.
Pass rushing specialist Victor Butler and Slade Norris see considerable time at the ends. Butler has seven tackles, including 2.5 for loss. Norris leads the team and conference in sacks (2.5) after grabbing two last week.
Pernell Booth and William 'Akau'ola Vea also see plenty of time in the middle. Booth and 'Akau'ola Vea have combined for four tackles, including one sack.
The middle of the field is patrolled by a trio of seniors in Joey LaRocque, Alan Darlin and Derrick Doggett. LaRocque is the team's co-leading tackler with 13 stops, including a team high 3 for loss. He is always around the ball.
The 251-pound Darlin is the largest linebacker on the team and does a great at stopping the run. He has seven tackles and one recovered fumbles. Doggett is one of the faster players on the team with good reach. He has 11 tackles, including two for loss.
The secondary has done a standout job defending the pass while also supporting the run defense. Free safety Al Afalava leads the team with 13 tackles and a team high three pass breakups. He is one of the hardest hitters on the team.
Senior Daniel Drayton lines up at strong safety where he has recorded 11 tackles, third on the team, including two tackles for loss. The heady Greg Laybourn is one of the first players off the bench and is a special team's standout.
Brandon Hughes and Keenan Lewis are both in their third year starting at cornerback and are turning in solid years so far. Both, especially Hughes, are making plays on the ball and are due for an interception.
WHEN OREGON STATE HAS THE BALL: Although they have played just one game Idaho State ranks in the top 10 of several defensive categories. They lead the nation in rushing defense at -24 yards as well as total defense with 119.0 yards allowed per game. They are also in teh top 10 in passing efficiency defense (3rd), scoring defense (8th) and sacks (3rd)
Three starters on the defensive line return from a year ago. Defensive end Geo Simmons (6-4, 260) leads the team in sacks (2), tackles for loss (3) and is one of the better players on the defensive line. Sophomore Brain Livesay (6-4, 245) backs him up and record his first career sack last weekend.
Senior Villami Akoteau (6-3, 340) and new comer Micah Colward (6-3, 260) take up the middle of the field. Akoteau had three tackles, including one for loss and is a big load at 340 pounds. Colward knocked down two passes while grabbing two tackles. Coming off of the bench are Demetrius Amos (6-1, 280) and Quincy Griffin (6-5, 275).
Rounding out the defensive line is Joel Janke (6-5, 255) who had two tackles last week. Redshirt freshman Cody Clark (6-3, 230), the only native Oregonian on the roster, fills out the two deep.
The linebacking group got hit hard by graduation losing their top two tacklers and four seniors. The new group is led by senior outside linebacker Sterling Mennear (6-1, 225) who was a part time starter a year ago. He leads the team in tackles with nine stops, including one for loss.
In the middle of the field is junior Ryan Phipps (6-0, 225), one of the team's captains, moved from the outside into the inside this year. The Oregon transfer ihas seven tackles and one pass breakup.
Junior Brad Rife (6-2, 230) rounds out the starting linebackers; he had three tackles and a forced fumble against Southern Oregon.
Sophomore Nic Edgson (6-1, 220), Jeff Tuua (6-2, 220) and Brett Bankus (6-2, 190) all see time off of the bench.
The defensive secondary is led by senior free safety Terrance Callaway (5-11, 200) who picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown, last week. He also added four tackles and was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week.
The largest person in the secondary is Rashaad Richards (6-1, 205) who lines up at strong safety. He has five tackles.
Sophomore Amir Owens (5-11, 175) and Keith Goins Jr. (6-0, 195), the only true freshman to play last week, are the first off of the bench at safety.
Junior cornerback D.J. Clark 6-2, 200) has led the team in interceptions two straight years. He had five tackles and his first career sack last weekend. Senior Anthony Melvin (6-0, 170) grabbed an interception on the first play of the game against Southern Oregon. He also added four tackles.
Senior Michael Harris (6-2, 200) backs up
both cornerback spots.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The special teams broke down last week as a field goal was missed, a punt was fumbled and a punt was blocked.
Kicker Alexis Serna is usually automatic from 40 yards in, but he missed from 38 yards out last week. Serna did bounce back and hit a 31-yarder, the Beavers only points of the game. He is 1 of 2 on the year and has made a school record 109 extra points in a row.
Serna also handles punting duties and has struggled to say the least averaging a conference worst 34.1 yards per kick.
Gerard Lawson returns kickoffs with a 24.1 average and a long of 32. He is a tough runner and does a nice job of running north and south.
Sammie Stroughter and Taylor Kavnaugh return punts. with a 14.5 and 10.5 average, respectively.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Punter Dan Zeidman, a preseason all-conference pick, punted just three times averaging 29.7 yards per punt, but all of his punts came inside the Southern Oregon 45-yard line. He pinned Southern Oregon inside its own 15 three times. His performance earned him Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Zeidman also handles kickoffs and had two touchbacks.
Kicking for the Bengals is senior Branden Jones who made three of five field goals last week. One miss was blocked while the other was a miss from 42 yards out, although he did make a 45-yard attempt earlier in the game.
Junior Kenyon Blue, who has a similar build to James Rodgers at 5-7, 180-pounds, and JD Ponciano handle kickoffs. Blue also returns punts with one return for 37 yards.
Eddie Thompson returns punts with a 13.0 average in four attempts.
OREGON STATE CAN WIN IF: They use their speed and athleticism to their advantage. Pound by pound, Idaho State isn't that much smaller but the Beavers should be faster at almost every position.
Get the ball to the playmakers, and let them work their magic.
IDAHO STATE CAN WIN IF: They force a few early turnovers and score on the turnovers silencing the hometown crowd and getting into the head of the football team.
OREGON STATE WILL LOSE IF: It is hard to imagine OSU losing. Yeah, I know Appalachian State beat Michigan, but ISU isn't a top tier FCS team.
The Beavers should be able to overcome a few turnovers, but if the quarterbacks once again go turnover crazy, giving the Bengal offense a short field, and ISU can cash in early to deflate the crowd and team...look out.
IDAHO STATE WILL LOSE IF: They turn the ball over. For the Bengals to stay competitive they must not turn the ball over even once to have a shot.
Don't give a struggling offense any easy points or a short field.
|OREGON STATE 2-Deeps:
|IDAHO STATE 2-Deeps:
|Dan Norz is the publisher of BeaverFootball.com. What quarterback controversy?||Dan Norz is the publisher of BeaverFootball.com. Just one more week until Pac-10 play starts!|
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