Black in the stands, orange on the field

After a couple disappointing losses, the Oregon State Beavers put another tally mark in the win column with a 31-16 home win against Arizona Saturday, Oct. 6, improving to 3-3 on the season. The Beavers played an amazing first half, taking a 31-3 lead early in the second quarter.

Senior tailback Yvenson Bernard had a big day with 32 carries for 140 yards and touchdown runs of 20 yards and 9 yards. Bernard also caught five passes for 24 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown.

In a big change from the previous game, the Beavers converted 8-of-16 times on third down - aside from the final score, quite possibly the biggest stat of the game.

What helped the Beavers convert on third down was their success on first and second. Of their eight conversions, OSU converted third-and-one three times, third-and-three twice, and third-and-two, third-and-four, and third-and-five each one time. It is much easier to get the necessary yardage on third down if the team has done its job on first and second.

For much of the first half – basically until the interception – Sean Canfield looked very sharp. It was nice to see him get some positive yards on the ground – three carries for 18 yards.

It did seem like the playbook was opened up some from the UCLA to the Arizona game. Canfield was allowed to throw the ball downfield more and hopefully that will continue. There were still quite a few short passes; as evidence see 139 yards from Canfield on 17 completions – as opposed to 222 yards on 18 completions for Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama.

The Beaver defense deserves another shout out after another great job. UA had just nine yards rushing – helped in large part by a number of sacks of Tuitama. The Arizona quarterback had eight “carries” for minus-75 yards. Without a 27-yard reverse to wide receiver Anthony Johnson, Arizona would have had negative rushing yards.

Not only was the run defense good – the pass defense was pretty solid, too – three interceptions for the Beavers, including one taken back the distance for a touchdown by Joey LaRocque. And did you all see the wall of blockers he had? If only it were that easy on kickoffs and punts.

Also, props go out to true freshmen Darrell Catchings and James Rodgers. These boys are becoming men very quickly. Catchings had four catches for 32 yards and now has 16 catches for 167 yards on the season. Rodgers had one carry for 40 yards and caught one pass for 8 yards – both plays resulted in first downs.

For the season, Rodgers has five catches for 68 yards and 11 rushes for 171 yards. Keep in mind folks, these two guys were in high school at this time last year – what they are doing thus far is pretty special. I’m looking for them to get more and more involved in the offense as the season goes on.

It is also good to see Anthony Brown come up with another solid game – four catches for 61 yards. In Sammie’s absence I feel Brown has stepped up, but he does need take it up another notch with the upcoming schedule.

Two side notes: First – the student section in almost all black looked awesome, I really hope this happens again and I encourage everyone else to come in black as well. I am a big orange fan – a big portion of my wardrobe is orange – even some non-OSU stuff is orange – but black is one of our colors too and a “Black-Out” at Reser in a few weeks would be great.

Second – personally, I love the orange jerseys; black in the stands and orange on the field, what a sight. Maybe I just like those two things because of the way the game turned out – I am extremely superstitious. But, I would like to see orange jerseys on the field and black clothing in the stands for the next home game Saturday, Oct. 27 against Stanford.

Speaking of Stanford, congratulations to coach Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinal for a monumental upset of then No. 2-ranked USC. Maybe this week we can knock off No. 2 Cal – don’t laugh, it could happen.

The last time OSU went to Berkley the Beavers came out winners, 23-20 back in October of 2005. If the defense plays like it can, if the line blocks like they did against Arizona, and if the Beavers can have two or fewer turnovers, look for a possible upset.

Maybe it is just wishful thinking, maybe it is one conference win getting to my head, but I’ll tell you what, if Appalachian State can win at Michigan, and if Stanford can win at USC, why can’t OSU win at Cal?

We have a talented football team and as non-optimistic as I was this past Saturday (mainly because of the excruciating way OSU lost to ASU and UCLA) – I still have some faith in the 2007 Oregon State Beavers’ football team. This has been a season of upsets in college football – I think it is our turn now.

Two quick words of advice to the OSU coaching staff: One – figure out a way to get some offense going in the second half, I know they are scratching their heads at this one too. Two – DO NOT kick/punt to DeSean Jackson. We have to give him the “Barry Bonds treatment” if you will – don’t let their best player beat us if at all possible.

Plus, if you look at it as if the glass is half full, Alexis Serna's shanks will come in handy as it keeps the ball out of Jackson's hands. Go Beaver defense!

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Jake Schubert is a new/old contributor to BeaverFootball.com. He writes for the Newport News-Times in Newport, Oregon and can be reached at sports@newportnewstimes.com. Jake has been to every home football at OSU for eight consecutive years and he is looking to make it nine this year.


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