Beavers still one win away from postseason

The score doesn't actually look that bad – 24 to 3 – and the defense was pretty solid, but the OSU offense…that's another story.

Lets go with the positive first, the defense.

The Oregon State defense held USC to 287 yards of total offense, 187 in the air and 100 on the ground – respectable numbers. The Beaver-D held the Trojans scoreless in the second half, after allowing three touchdowns in the second quarter. The teams were even in the turnover category with one each – OSU’s interception, and USC’s fumble.

This game is something the defense should be able to build on going forward. They came up with two more sacks and eight tackles for loss.

However, it is the offense that needs some work.

Three points and 176 yards are just not going to cut it. Take away the great 39-yard run by James Rodgers on OSU's first offensive play fo the game and OSU had just 137 yards of total offense. Even with the absence of Yvenson Bernard, I expect more out of this offense.

I was encouraged that starting quarterback Sean Canfield threw just one interception, however I was discouraged that the team – I will not say the line because I don’t believe they were all the line’s fault – gave up nine sacks. Going into the game against USC, OSU had given up just 14 sacks in eight games – a pretty respectable number. But the USC front seven got the best of the Beavers more often than not.

On the occasions when the line did do its job, it seemed like a number of times Canfield held the ball way too long. Early in the game it seemed like Canfield had some open receivers and he threw to the right guys, but he was off target by quite a bit – leading to a night where he completed just 11-of-25 passes for 85 yards.

I’m not sure what was different from the previous three games to this one against USC, but Canfield really seemed to struggle – even when he did have time.

Of Canfield’s 11 completions, only three went for 10 yards or more – a 12-yarder to Anthony Brown, an 18-yarder to Howard Croom, and a 19-yarder to Darrell Catchings. The next longest completion was an 8-yarder to Brandon Powers, the rest were 5 yards or shorter.

Granted, Canfield was under immense pressure most of the night, but the Beavers have to find a way to stretch the field. I say try using Catchings and/or Rodgers as that guy. Those two are big-play guys and the coaching staff needs to do a better job of getting Catchings and Rodgers more involved in the game plan.

The season isn’t over, yet. The Beavers are 5-4 with a home game against Washington and away games at Washington State, and at Oregon. Win one and the team is bowl eligible. It is realistic to – I hate to use this word – expect to defeat each Washington school. However, this Oregon team is a different story.

I always give OSU a shot in Civil War and, typically, I’m a very optimistic person, but I have to be honest - I really, really, really, really, really, (add about fifty more really’s onto that) hate to say this... I think Oregon might be the best team in the country. I certainly feel they are the best one-loss team. I would rank them higher than LSU easily. I do think they are better than Ohio State – but that OSU is still unbeaten, so it is hard to argue that point.

Once again, it pains me to say this, but I was very, very impressed with the Ducks in their win against Arizona State this weekend. The way they are able to spread the field and get running lanes for Jonathan Stewart and of course Dennis Dixon is very impressive. I’d say some more good stuff about that team, but I think I might puke on my keyboard, so I’m going to switch gears.

I don’t usually do this – but I’m going to bring up the NFL for a bit. Where I live, there was one early game on TV Sunday – the San Diego Chargers at the Minnesota Vikings. For those of you who have not had the pleasure – watch the Vikings and watch former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. This guy is an absolute stud.

Against the Chargers, Peterson carried the ball 30 times for 296 yards – an NFL single-game record – and three touchdowns. Peterson had touchdown runs of 1, 64, and 46 yards – and he seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

Through eight games – as a rookie mind you – Peterson has already rushed for 1,036 yards. He is 22 years old and in his eight games as a pro has exceeded 200 yards twice, scoring three touchdowns in each of those games, and he has gone over 100 yards an addition three times – that is five of eight games so far that Peterson has cracked the century mark. Watch this kid.

I also have to give props to my man Derek Anderson of the 5-3 Cleveland Browns. Anderson has his team in playoff contention midway through the season. This week, despite trailing 21-9 at halftime and 24-16 going into the fourth quarter against Seattle, Anderson led his team to the win. He completed 29-of-48 passes for 364 yards and just one interception.

He didn't throw a touchdown pass, but running back Jamal Lewis rushed for four touchdowns. Anderson also added two carries for 21 yards. Anderson did have a couple very catch-able balls dropped in the end zone as well, but things worked out in the end.

Best of luck going forward buddy, Beaver Nation is pulling for you.

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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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