Side by side: UCLA (3-1) at OSU (2-2)

UCLA visits Corvallis for the first time since 2002 as they look to extend their winning streak over the Beavers to five in a row and keep their conference record unblemished. Oregon State looks to pick up their first conference win of the season as Mike Riley looks to snap his 0 for UCLA record.

LAST WEEK: Oregon State jumped out to a 19-0 first quarter lead before Arizona State came roaring back in the second half to steal the game away winning 44-32.

QB Sean Canfield completed 28 of 48 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns, but threw five interceptions.  RB Yvenson Bernard ran for 128 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries.  WR Sammie Stroughter led all receivers with six catches for 102 yards.

The Beaver defense gave up three straight touchdowns in the second half due to big plays by ASU - one on a 43-yard pass, another on a 48 yard pass and another on a 41 yard run.

LAST WEEK:  A 60-yard interception return by Dennis Keyes, a 72-yard touchdown run by Chris Markey and Matt Slater's 80-yard kickoff return helped the Bruins hold off the Washington Huskies in the second half winning 44-31.

Patrick Cowan started in place of the injured Ben Olson completing 17 of 30 passes for 147 yards along with one touchdown and one interception before spraining his right knee in the fourth quarter.

RB Chris Makey paced the team with 193 yards and one touchdown while RB Kahlil Bath chipped in 109 yards and one touchdown.  K Kai Forbath connected on all three field goal attempts.

KEY INJURIES: KEY INJURIES:

WHEN OREGON STATE IS ON OFFENSE: Last year the Oregon State offense had a difficult time moving the ball against the UCLA defense.  They yielded five sacks after not giving up a sack in the previous three of four games while fumbling and losing the pigskin four times.

But that is in the past and luckily the offense will have the advantage of playing in front of a hometown crowd.

QB Sean Canfield (6-4, 222) is having a typical first year as a starting quarterback in the Mike Riley system.  When things are clicking the offense is unstoppable, when there is a learning curve the offense grinds to a halt as the turnovers start to mount.

Case in point is that Canfield has tossed for over 320 yards in each of the last two games while completing over 60-percent of his passes but the Beavers have walked away with one win and one loss.  The major difference between the two games is in the win Canfield threw zero interceptions, in the loss Canfield threw five interceptions.  In fact Canfield has thrown eight of his conference leading nine interceptions in OSU's two losses.

On the year he has completed 75 of 128 passes (59%) for 895 yards and six touchdowns.  It is difficult to say what Canfield will show up Saturday, although playing at home can't hurt.

Blocking for Canfield is an offensive line that received a ton of preseason accolades only to fall flat on its face early in the year.  They are the only team in the Pac-10 to return five players that received some kind of Pac-10 recognition and were expected to dominate. 

For two weeks offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh forbid his players to talk to the media so they could focus on their craft.  They turned in a fine performance at Arizona State as the offense generated over 500 yards of offense and allowed just one sack.

A part of the offensive line's struggles can be directly attributed to right guard Jeremy Perry's absence who tweaked his ankle in the home opener and has missed the last three games.  He is the heart and soul of the line with a nasty attitude that fuels his teammates and keeps opponents on the lookout.

In his place at left guard is Adam Speer (6-3, 276), who has four starts under his belt, with Tavita Thompson (6-6, 319) at tackle.  Speer and Thompson, who is in his first year as a starter, are both decent players, but no where near Perry's caliber.  The left side of the line is definitely something to keep your eye on.

The strength of the offensive line lies with center Kyle DeVan (6-2, 294), who has 29 straight starts, right guard Roy Schuening (6-3, 318), who has a team high 41 straight starts, and right tackle Andy Levitre (6-3, 324), who is one of the best technical blockers on the team.

Running behind the buffet bustes is one of the most versatile backs in the league in Yvenson Bernard (5-9, 204) who has 377 yards and a team high four touchdowns on 83 carries.  He is also an excellent receiver with 13 catches, third on the team, for 62 yards.  His outstanding blocking ability should also be noted.

When Bernard goes over 100 yards the Beavers are almost guaranteed a win.  In six of the last seven games he has gone over the century mark OSU has walked away with a "W" - last week was the exception.

Backing up Bernard is Matt Sieverson (6-2, 206) and Clinton Polk (6-2, 214), who recently got his grades in order.  They received plenty of carries in the non-conference games but their playing time will decrease as conference play heats up.

Fullback Andy Stewart is rarely used although he has scored one touchdown this year.

The receivers are led by Sammie Stroughter (6-0, 189) who is slowly, but surely working his way back from personal issues in August that limited his time on the practice field.  After missing the season opener and playing sparingly in the road opener at Cincinnati Stroughter has caught 15 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Unfortunately he missed several practices this week and will miss this week's contest with a bruised kidney.  True freshman Darrell Catchings (5-11, 174) will start.  He has a great set of hands with nine catches for 85 yards and one touchdown.  Chris Johnson, who has been pushed down the depth chart due to Catchings play, will also see action.

With the return of Stroughter senior flanker Anthony Brown (6-1, 218) has started to step up his game catching 13 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown in the last two games after catching just three passes for 53 yards in the first two contests.  Brown is big, physical and a great downfield blocker.

Senior Brandon Powers (6-2, 215) rounds out the starting three in the slot.  Powers is primarily used to block, but has solid hands as well catching 13 passes for 135 yards.  He also has a one touchdown that he caught and ran 20 yards for a score last week.  The pass was ruled a lateral and therefore was considered a rushing touchdown.

Another electric freshman is James Rodgers (5-7, 181) who is small at 5-foot-7, but has speed to burn and doesn't shy away from contact.  He is used mostly on end arounds as he has 131 yards, second on the team, on eight carries and picks up a first down almost every time he touches the ball.

The young group of tight ends are starting contribute to the passing game as Howard Croom (6-3, 241) and Gabe Miller (6-3, 230) caught the first touchdowns of their careers last weekend.  Brady Camp (6-4, 235) and John Reese (6-3, 235) also seem time at tight end.

WHEN UCLA IS ON OFFENSE:  QB Ben Olson (6-4, 227) returns to the staring lineup after missing last week's contest due to headaches that resulted from the punishment he received while playing against Utah.

Olson has three starts under his belt this year completing 49 of 97 (50.5) attempts for 702 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.  The junior is comfortable with the offense and has no problem moving the offense down the field.

He threw for five touchdowns passes against Stanford which is tied for second on UCLA's single-game list, and earned him Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. But he can be sporadic though as he tossed three interceptions and completed just 50% of his passes at Utah.

Redshirt freshman McLeod Bethel-Thompson (6-4, 224), who has played in two games this year but has not thrown a pass, will backup Olson.

The offensive line is senior heavy and loaded with experience with four of five starters in their final year of eligibility.  The offense has helped UCLA average 442.5 yards per game, good for fifth in the conference, but have given up plenty of sacks with nine in four games, the highest total in the conference.

Unfortunately one of the team's top offensive linemen, right guard Shannon Tevaga, is out due to a knee injury.  In his place is Noah Sutherland (6-4, 295) who moved from tackle where he started 13 games last year.

RT Brian Abraham (6-6, 298) played in all 13 games a year go and has started all four games this year.

C Chris Joseph (6-5, 287), who is on the Rimington Trophy Watch list, started his career at UCLA as guard before moving to center this year where he has four starts under his belt.

On the left side of the line are a pair of 300-pounders in P.J. Irvin (6-5, 308) and Aleksey Lanis (6-5, 319) Irvin received his first career start last week against Washington at right guard, but will move to the left side of the line this week. Lanis will be making his first career start at tackle.

Micah Kia (6-6, 303) started the first four games of the year, but will be replaced by Lanis this week.

Running behind the offensive line are a pair of talented running backs in Chris Markey (5-1, 210) and Kahlil Bell (6-0, 211) who have helped UCLA average 216 yards on the ground, good for fourth in the conference and 24th in the nation.

Markey, who has started three games, ran for 193 yards, including runs of 72 and 66 yards, against Washington last week on just 14 carries after coming off of the bench.  On the year he has 346 yards and two touchdowns on 60 carries. He is also dangerous out of the backfield as he led the team in receptions last year although he only has three catches for 11 yards this year.

Bell received his first started last week rushing for 109 yards and one touchdown on 27 attempts.  He leads the team with 442 yards on 74 attempts and is generally considered the best back on the team.  His 110.5 yards per game average is good for third in the Pac-10 and 24th nationally.

FB Trevor Theriot (6-0, 229) handles the fullback duties taking over for honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick Michael Pitre who is working his way back from a knee injury.

Logan Paulsen (6-6, 252) and William Snead (605, 238) receive the bulk of the downs at tight end.  Paulsen, who is on the John Mackey Award Watch list, has three catches for 43 yards while Snead has two catches for 35 yards.

The Bruin aerial attack averages 226.5 yards per game, good for seventh in the conference, and is led by SE Joe Cowan (6-4, 219) who has just seven catches but has two touchdowns and 151 yards on those catches.

FL Brandon Breazell (6-0, 162) leads the team in receptions and yards with 20 and 297, respectively, to go along with one touchdown.  He is sure handed and reliable as over half of his receptions have resulted in a first down.

Dominique Johnson (6-3, 209), a redshirt freshman, Terrence Austin (5-10, 164) and Marcus Everett round out the team's top five receivers.

Johnson led the team last week with five catches for 32 yards and one touchdown.  On the year he has six grabs for 36 yards along with a co-team leading two touchdowns.

Austin, who also handles punt return duties, has five catches for 117 yards, good for fifth on the team.

Everett missed last week's game with an ankle injury, but will play against OSU.  He has 10 catches for 134 yards and has at least one catch in 20 of the last 21 games.

WHEN UCLA HAS THE BALL: Similar to the UCLA defense, the Oregon State defense thrives on stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.  OSU enters the contest leading the conference and is second in the nation allowing just 29.5 yards per game and .9 yards per rush. 

The Beavers also lead the conference in sacks (14) and are eighth in the nation in tackles for loss yardage (168).  They are tied with ASU for the Pac-10 lead in total defense (289 ypg).

The Beavers routinely play 10 defensive lineman, eight linebackers and nine defensive backs.  The high substitution patter has resulted in 11 players recording tackles for loss and eight individuals tallying a sack.

While the entire defense defends the run well, it is the front seven, or front eighteen depending on how you look at it, that anchor the defensive.

It all starts up front with seniors Curtis Coker (6-1, 309) and Gerard Lee (6-1, 280) clogging up the middle along with Pernell Booth (6-1 302) and William 'Akau'ola Vea (6-2, 282) helping out.  None of the four has eye popping stats, in fact 'Akau'ola Vea is the only one with a sack, but their dirty work up front allows the linebackers and safeties to make plays.

The ends are manned by Dorian Smith (6-3, 258) and longtime starter Jeff Van Orsow (6-4, 266).  Smith has had a quite year thus far grabbing just one sack.  The same goes for Van Orsow although his blue collar work ethic and consistent play is easy to overlook.  He has 12 tackles, tops among lineman, and three tackles for loss.

Pass rushing specialists Slade Norris (6-3, 254), who leads the conference in sacks with 4.5, and Victor Butler (6-2, 233), who has 2.5 sacks, have done a superb job of coming off of the bench and getting to the quarterback.

The linebackers are headlined by a trio of seniors in Derrick Doggett (6-3, 210), Alan Darlin (6-1, 251) and Joey LaRocque (6-2, 230).

Doggett is the most explosive on the bunch with great range and speed.  He is second on the team with 21 tackles, including three for loss, and has one safety.

Darlin is a rock in the middle at 250 plus pounds.  He has 14 tackles and one fumble recovery.  LaRocque is always around the ball and is second on the team in tackles with 21, including 4.0 for loss.

Bryant Cornell (6-1, 240), Isaiah Cook (6-2, 225) and Keaton Kristick (6-3, 229) are the first off of the bench at linebacker.

Pass defense is where the team has struggled a little bit as they give up an average of 259 yards per game, seventh in the conference.

But the secondary is loaded with experience.  Free safety Al Afalava (5-11, 198), one of the better hitters on the team, leads the squad with 30 tackles and a co-team high three pass breakups.

Strong safety Daniel Drayton (5-10, 204) has done a great job in his first year as a starter grabbing 20 tackles, including three for loss.  He is a sure tackle and another player who can deliver bone jarring hits.

Bryan Payton (6-2, 211) splits time with Afalava and is used in the team's nickel packages.  He has seven tackles.  The heady Greg Laybourn (5-10, 201), a walk on who earned a scholarship this year, also sees time at safety.

The corners are manned by three year starters Brandon Hughes (5-11, 174) and Keenan Lewis (6-1, 194).   Hughes has 16 tackles, including four for loss, and a co-team high three pass deflections.

Hughes has impressed with his physical play and team's are choosing to look to the other side of the field due to his play.

But Lewis, when he is not cramping up, has had a solid year too picking off two passes, a team high, while adding five tackles.

The weakness in the secondary is the cornerback substitutions.  Lewis cramps up almost every game forcing Gerard Lawson (5-11, 190) or Tim Clark (6-0, 175) into the game which usually means a big play is about to happen.

 

 

WHEN OREGON STATE HAS THE BALL: The strength of the UCLA defense is its front seven who have helped the Bruins grab 13 sacks, the second most in the conference behind the Beavers.  They have yielded just one rushing  touchdown, tops in the league, and a measly 85.5 yards per game, third in the conference and have the top opponent third down conversion percentage at 28.8-percent.

This defense returns the core that held the Beaver offense to just 262 total yards, sacked Matt Moore five times and forced four fumbles a year ago.  But defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker has not been impressed with the starters from last year and will mix up the lineup this week.

The front is anchored by RE Bruce Davis (6-3, 234) who was named a preseason All-American by several publications and is on the watch list for every major defensive trophy.

Davis has a team leading 3.5 sacks, good for third in the conference, and 4.5 tackles for loss, good for sixth in the conference.  His 20.5 career sacks rank No. 8 on UCLA's all-time list.  Davis had six tackles, including three for loss against OSU last year, both career highs, and will be making his 18th consecutive start Saturday. 

In addition to his sack ability he does a great job of getting his hands up with three pass deflections and has forced and recovered one fumble.

Lining up to the right of Davis are tackles Kevin Brown (6-3, 294), who has started 16 consecutive games, and Jess Ward (6-4, 287).  Brown is tied for second on the team with two sacks.  He had nine tackles and two pass breakups.

Ward has two starts under his belt recording eight tackles, including 2.5 for loss and has impressed the last two weeks.  Sophomore Jerzye Siewierski (6-2, 290) is also in the rotation at tackle.

Left end Korey Boswoth (6-1, 233) started the season coming off of the bench but played well and earned his first career start last week.  He is second on the team with four tackles for loss and two sacks and will be making his second career start against OSU.

Nikola Dragovic (6-4, 263) who has missed two games due to a concussion he suffered against BYU, will back up Bosworth.

Defensive end Tom Blake (6-4, 263), a walk on who earned a scholarship this fall, leads the team in fumbles recovered with two is in the rotation at defensive end as well.

Supporting the defensive line is MLB Christian Taylor (6-4, 226), one of the team leaders, and is fourth on the team with 22 stops.  He has started 11 consecutive games.

Kyle Bosworth (6-1 222), DE Korey Bosworth's brother, got his first career start last week finishing with four tackles.  He has 13 on the year, including one for loss, and will start again.

Aaron Whittington (6-2, 215) started out the 2007 season grabbing a career high nine tackles, but suffered a concussion two weeks later forcing him to miss the game against the Huskies.  He has 17 tackles and is expected to play this week backing up Bosworth.

WLB Reggie Carter (6-1 220) is one of the top young linebackers in the league. He has 22 tackles, including three for loss, and one pass breakup.

Through the air is where the defense suffers giving up a conference worst 304.2 yards per game and another Pac-10 high of 12 touchdowns through the air.

LC Trey Brown (5-9, 189) is having a great year with a conference high 10 pass deflections and one interception.  He has 17 tackles, including one for loss, and one forced and recovered fumble.

Brown's counterpart is Rodney Van (6-1 175), a part time starter, who is working his way back from an ankle injury.  He has five tackles and one interception this year.

CB Alterraun Verner (5-11, 178), the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year in 2006, is a productive player off of the bench who has 24 tackles, third on the squad, and four pass deflections, second on the team.

SS Chris Horton (6-1, 216) is one of the top safeties in the conference as he is a pre-season candidate for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott Trophy.

He is excellent at supporting the run, but, similar to OSU's safeties, is susceptible to big pass plays.  He has 25 tackles, good for second on the team, and two pass breakups.

FS Dennis Keyes (6-2, 199) leads the team in tackles with 30 stops, and has one interception that he returned 60 yards for a touchdown against Washington.  He will be making his 19th consecutive start this week.

Safety Matthew Slater (6-0, 198), who primarily plays on special teams, leads the league and team with two fumbles forced.

Inside the 20, the Bruins are prone to give up six as they have yielded a touchdown in 10 of the 14 times an opponent ventures inside the red zone.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Alexis Serna (5-8, 162) handles all of the team's kicking tasks after the punter quit just before fall camp.

He has made 3 of 4 field goals, with his only miss coming from 38-yards out.  His longest of the year is a 47-yarder that he made last week.  He has made 117 consecutive extra points, which is a school record.

On 18 kickoffs Serna averages 61.7 yards per boot with no touchbacks.

Punting is where there truly is some concern as he is averaging a conference worst 34.5 yards per boot.  As expected from a new punter sometimes he gets off great punts, his long is a 48-yard punt, and some really bad ones, his shortest is a 6 yard kick.

Gerard Lawson (5-11, 190) primarily handles kickoff returns with a 22.8 average. He does a good job or running north and south.  He is also someone to keep an eye on on kickoffs and punt returns as he is almost always in on the tackle.

Sammie Stroughter (6-0, 189) handles punt returns, but has struggled fair catching two inside the ten while fumbling another two inside the ten.  He is simply trying to do too much.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Kai Forbath (6-0, 192) is third in the conference in scoring after making a conference best eight field goals on 11 attempts (72.5%). He is a perfect 14 of 14 on extra points and connected on a 52-yard field goal earlier in the year, tying the school record.

KO Jimmy Rotstein (5-11, 166) handles the kickoffs averaging 62 per boot with zero touchbacks.

P Aaron Perez (6-4, 223) is a one of the top punters in the country and leads the conference at 44.3 per boot, with a long of 57.

Terrence Austin (5-10, 164) primarily hanldes punt returns averaging 10.4 yards in 11 returns.

KOR Matthew Slater (6-0, 198) ran 85 yards last week to pay dirt and is third in the conference with a 27.0 average.  Michael Norris and  Kahlil Bell (6-0, 211) also handle kickoff returns and combine with Slater for the 17th best return unit in the nation at 26.0 yards per return.

OREGON STATE CAN WIN IF:  They establish the running game balancing the offense and win the turnover battle.

UCLA CAN WIN IF: They shut down the Beaver running game forcing OSU to be one dimensional putting the game squarely on young Sean  Canfield's shoulders.

OREGON STATE CAN LOSE IF: Turnovers give UCLA a short field.

UCLA CAN LOSE IF: They don't shutdown Bernard and the Oregon State running game.
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Dan Norz is the publisher of BeaverFootball.com.  Let's go Beavers...clap, clap, clap, clap clap. Dan Norz is the publisher of BeaverFootball.com.  Wouldn't some cooperation between publishers make all our lives a little easier?

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