NOTEBOOK: Stanford at Oregon State

Series history...last time each team played...a tough Beaver improving Cardinal offense and more inside.

Head coach: Jim Harbaugh (1st season)
(Career: 3-4 | At Stanford: 3-4)
Current ranking: NR
Current record: 3-4, 2-3
Streak: Two game winning streak
Head coach: Mike Riley (7th season)
(Career: 42-37 | At OSU: 42-37)
Current ranking: NR
Current record: 4-3, 2-2
Streak: Two game winning streak


Last time Oregon State and Stanford met...
Nov. 18, 2006 - Oregon State 30, Stanford 7
Oregon State and Stanford met late in the season at Palo Alto with the Beavers clinching a winning record and a bowl berth with a 30-7 victory. OSU TB Yvenson Bernard carried the load with 36 rushes for 168 yards to put him over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second consecutive season.

That dovetailed with a dominant Beaver defense that limited the Cardinal to 12 first downs and 210 yards total offense (85 rushing, 125 passing) and posted five second half QB sacks to keep Stanford at bay ... more from


Last time Stanford played in Corvallis...
Nov. 12, 2005 - Stanford 20, Oregon State 17
Stanford and Oregon State met late in the year on a damp day at Corvallis with the Cardinal hanging on for a hard-fought 20-17 victory. The game started out quickly with each team scoring a TD in the first five minutes, but then settled into a battle of defense and kicking.

Neither team could muster much of a running game and the total offense figures were OSU 312, Stanford 302.

QB Trent Edwards threw two TD passes for the Card before exiting with an injury, and DE Jeff Van Orsow scored a Beaver TD on a 24-yard interception return ... more from


Last time Stanford played...
Oct. 20, 2007 in Tucson - Stanford 21, Arizona 20
Stanford extended its winning streak in Tucson to four straight with a come-from-behind 21-20 victory over the Arizona Wildcats. Both teams made their share of mistakes but it was Stanford who capitalized on its opponent's errors, improving to a respectable 3-4 (2-3).

"Our guys hung in there," said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. "First of all, there is no such thing as an ugly win. There were too many penalties and turnovers, but our guys found a way to win."  ... more from


Last time Oregon State played...
Oct. 13, 2007 - Oregon State 31, No. 2 California 28
Playing with its No. 2 quarterback, California squandered a chance to grab the No. 1 ranking.

Yvenson Bernard leaped into the end zone on fourth down from the 1 with 8:30 remaining and Oregon State delivered the latest shocker in an upset-filled season, beating the second-ranked Golden Bears and backup quarterback Kevin Riley 31-28 ... more from


Series history (Stanford leads 47-23-3, 23-13-1 in Oregon, 17-11-1 in Corvallis).
Stanford and Oregon State have met 73 times dating to 1919 with the Cardinal leading the series 47-33-3.  Stanford has had more success vs. Oregon State (.664 winning percentage) than any other team in the Pac-10.  Stanford leads the series in Oregon 23-13-1 and 17-11-1 in Corvallis.  The Beavers have won five of the last six and seven of the last nine with Stanford's last victory (20-17) coming in 2005 in Corvallis.

From 1969-95, Stanford went 23-3-1 vs. Oregon State. Since then, the Cardinal are 3-7 vs. the Beavers. In those three wins, Stanford has won by margins of three (27-24 in 1997), four (21-17 in 1999) and three (20-17 in 2005).

In last year's contest running back Yvenson Bernard had 168 yards on the ground, his third-highest total as a Beaver. Oregon State's 3-23 victory in 1998 was Mike Riley's first Pac-10 win.

Two of USC's last three losses in the Pac-10 have been to Oregon State and Stanford. Last year the Beavers ended the Trojans' 27-game Pac-10 overall winning streak with a thrilling 33-31 victory over No. 3 Troy at Reser Stadium. Earlier this season the Cardinal ended the Trojans (then No. 2) 35-game home win streak with a 24-21 win at the Coliseum.


Stanford connections.
Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh was the quarterback for the San Diego Chargers when Oregon State head coach Mike Riley was leading the team. Harbaugh played 21 games during the 1999 and 2000 seasons for Riley, passing for 18 touchdowns and 4,177 yards.

The Cardinal have one player from Oregon on their roster, true freshman fullback Owen "O-train" Marecic who has started all seven games this season.


Back to back.
The 2007 national champion Beaver baseball team will be honored at halftime. OSU has won back-to-back national titles and appeared in the College World Series three consecutive years. The team opens defense of its titles Feb. 22 in a tournament at Arizona State. The full schedule will be released shortly.


You can't run on us!
Oregon State enters this week's action third in the nation and first in the Pac-10 for rush defense, allowing 46.4 yards per game. A big part of the statistic is OSU has accounted for 215 lost yards via sacks. The Beaver defense ranks fifth in the nation for accumulated lost yards with 300.

Here is a closer look at the opponents' rushing statistics -- only Cal has eclipsed its season average vs. OSU:

Click for larger graphic


Sack attack.
Sean Canfield and T.C. Ostrander or Tavita Pritchard might have a busy day trying to avoid would-be sackers.  OSU enters the game leading the Pac-10 and is fifth in the nation for sacks with 28 for minus 215 yards.  The Beavers are also first in the conference in tackles for loss (8.43) per game and No. 22 in the country in total defense.

Stanford is second in the conference with 21 sacks, seven more than they had all of last year. The Cardinal has recorded 15 sacks in the past four games (vs. ASU, USC,
TCU and Arizona) and are currently ranked second in the conference and 15th in the nation with a 3.0 sacks per game average.  LB Clinton Snyder is averaging 1.0 sacks per game and is third in the Pac-10 and tied for 10th nationally.  He is also fourth in the conference in tackles for loss per game (1.17).


Fast starts.
Oregon State has outscored its opponents 85-6 in the first quarter this season and over the last 16 games has a margin of 165-30 in the opening period. On the down side, the Beavers have been outscored 69-38 in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the first quarter has been Stanford's most difficult offensively losing the opener 40-13 through seven games.


One game at a time.
Four of Oregon State's six road opponents appear in this week's Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings. Arizona State is No. 4, Oregon is No. 5, USC is No. 12 and California is No. 21.


Those dang turnovers.
The good: Over the last 44 games, Oregon State is 20-2 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 3-14 when committing more turnovers and 3-2 when even. In its victories last season, Oregon State was plus-14 for turnover margin; in its losses minus-6.

The not so good: Oregon State co-leads the nation in the dubious turnover category with 24 -- Baylor, North Carolina State and Idaho also have 24. The Beavers are last in the Pac-10 for turnover margin at minus-7.

The effects:  Opponents have had a short field on several scoring drives this season. To be exact, opponents have scored 82 points or 46 percent of the total 179 when starting at midfield or in OSU territory. The stat does not factor in another seven points that Cincinnati scored on a blocked punt and seven points Arizona scored off an interception.

The positive side of the stat is the Beavers have given up only 10 points on the short field the last two games. In comparison, OSU's offense has scored 54 points or 28 percent of its total when starting

Stanford: Stanford's 11 turnovers this season have led to 27 points by its seven opponents.  Conversely, the Cardinal has caused 14 turnovers which have led to 56 points


Depth issues.
Injuries and other issues have started to take a significant toll on the starting lineup.  Here's the latest.

  • SS Daniel Drayton - missed the Arizona and Cal games, playing against Stanford
  • CB Keenan Lewis - out for the Cal and Stanford game, replaced by Tim Clark in the lineup
  • LG Andy Levitre - dinged knee Monday, will play
  • LG Jeremy Perry - out since the season opener, replaced by Adam Speer in the lineup, will serve as a backup against Stanford
  • RG Roy Schuening - pneumonia, probable for Stanford
  • WR Sammie Stroughter - out for the season, played in three games, replaced by Darrell Catchings in the lineup
  • LT Tavita Thompson - out for the season, NCAA ruled him ineligible, replaced by Ryan Pohl in the lineup


Ice water in their veins.
The Beavers have had tremendous success on fourth downs this season, converting a league-leading and tied for the third-best in the nation at 80 percent (8-10). Stanford has proven to be the most difficult to convert on fourth down in the conference, allowing just three in 11 (.273) attempts.


True freshman watch.
Wide receiver Darrell Catchings has 18 receptions for 210 yards, including having the first touchdown of the season via the pass, and will be starting his third consecutive game at split end. Wide Receiver James Rodgers has made his presence known on rushing plays with 13 attempts for 203 yards, good for second on the team.  He also has six catches for 90 yards.

Freshman linebacker Keith Pankey has been activated from redshirt status due to injuries on special teams and saw his first action at Arizona State.  He has six tackles and one fumble recovery in four games on special teams.


Improving Cardinal offense.
The Cardinal offense is averaging 345 yards and 24 points per game through the seven contests of 2007. A year ago, Stanford averaged 232 yards and 10.6 points per game. Stanford has rushed for more yards (818) than it did all of last season (781).

Stanford's 2007 ground game has already scored more rushing touchdowns in seven games (nine) than it did in all 12 games last year (three).  The Cardinal did not have a running back gain over 100 yards in a game during the past two years. 

So far in '07, Stanford has had two backs (Anthony Kimble and Toby Gerhart) rush for more than 100 yards in a game.  Gerhart gained 140 in game two vs. San Jose State; Kimble gained 119 in game three vs. Oregon and 109 vs. TCU.


Additional notes.

  • TB Yvenson Bernard was named Pac-10 offensive player of the week for his role in the Beavers' 31-28 upset road win at No. 2-ranked California a week ago. Bernard accounted for 163 yards (110 yards rushing and eight receptions for 53 yards) and rushed for two TDs vs. the Bears. The All-Pac-10 running back has climbed into 14th place on the Pac-10 career rushing chart with an even 3,400 yards.

  • Bernard has rushed for four TDs and added a fifth on a pass reception in the last two games. He is averaging 107 yards rushing per game.

  • PK Alexis Serna has connected on 125 straight extra points and is closing in on the Pac-10 record of 139. Serna also has moved into 10th place on the Pac-10 career scoring list with 331 points.

  • WR Anthony Brown is eighth all-time at OSU with 123 career receptions.

  • Oregon State has averaged 34 points in the last five games.

  • This week is homecoming at Oregon State.

  • Oregon State is 37-6 when it leads after three quarters with Mike Riley as the head coach. Starting with the 2004 season, the Beavers are 23-2 (losses to LSU - 04 & UCLA - 07) when they head into the fourth quarter with the lead.

  • At 3-4, Cardinal has tripled last year's win total.

  • Stanford is 2-0 on the road this season as it heads off to Oregon State this week. QB Tavita Pritchard is 2-1 as a starter and was at the controls of those two road wins.

  • Seven of Cardinal's most recent nine wins have come on the road.  They have won three of their last four conference road games.

  • CB Nick Sanchez was a player of the week nominee for performance in win at Arizona. Sanchez posted nine solo tackles, had an interception and forced a fumble with 2:10 remaining in the game and Stanford protecting a one-point lead.

  • Stanford averaging a modest 24.1 points per game, but that's a full two touchdown improvement over 10.6 per game in 2006. Total offense of 345.3 yards per game is more than 100 yards per game over last year's figure of 231.9.

  • The Cardinal will be looking for their third straight Pac-10 road victory.  The Cardinal has beaten both USC and Arizona on the road in Pac-10 play this season and will be looking to equal the three game road conference winning streak it had in 2005.

  • P Jay Ottovegio is on the verge of breaking school records for most punts and punting yardage.  He currently has 242 punts for 9,889 yards.  The school records are 248 punts and 9,973 yards, both held by Kevin Miller (1995-98).

  • WR Mark Bradford is now ninth all-time at Stanford with 142 career receptions. He needs 165 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns to move into the top-10

  • From 2005-07, Stanford is 6-5 in road conference games and 1-10 in home conference games, including losing the last nine Pac-10 games at home.

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