KEYS TO THE GAME: Penn State

OREGON STATE HAS never won a non-conference road game against a BCS program and under coach Mike Riley the Beavers are an abysmal 0-10 in road games in September. Here are three keys for OSU to put a halt to those ugly trends.

  1. Gain 100 yards on the ground
    The century mark was the golden number for the Orange and Black offense when Yvenson Bernard was in the backfield.  If he topped 100 yards on the ground, the Beavers were almost guaranteed a win.

    In the last four non-conference road games the Beaver running game has failed miserably producing a total of just 220 yards or 55 yards per game. (36 yards vs. Cincinnati, 58 yards vs. Boise State, 42 yards vs. Louisville and 84 yards vs. LSU)  The failure of the running game resulted in a one dimensional team that was easy to defend.

    Getting the running game on track sucks in the defense which allows more big play opportunities for Sammie Stroughter and company which in turn creates more running room.

    The still developing Ryan McCants and Jacquizz Rodgers and possibly Jeremy Francis must combine for over 100 yards if the Beavers are to keep PSU on their heels.


     
  2. Take care of the football
    In three of their last four non-conference road games the Oregon State offense has averaged four turnovers (two fumbles lost and two interceptions).  In those games the Beavers finished -10 in the turnover battle losing three of the four games in convincing fashion.

    Not surprisingly, the Beavs are 6-16 when committing more turnovers than its foe.  OSU turned the ball over three times last week, one fumble and two interceptions, but the damage could have been much more as OSU put the ball on the ground five times.

    Taking care of the football is paramount in any game, but it becomes that much more important when on the road against a nationally ranked team. Taking care of the pigskin means a more rested defense, it reduces the number of opportunities the Nittany Lion offense has to score and it makes Penn State drive the length of the field for every point.

    The Men in Black must be on the positive side of the turnover battle if they hope to leave State College with a victory.


     
  3. Force Daryll Clark to throw
    With an experienced offensive line, a host of talented running backs and a green quarterback Penn State will most certainly pound the football early and often. 

    Oregon State's defense looked susceptible to the run as they got chewed last week for 210 rushing yards while the Penn State ground game racked up over 350 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

    Senior Daryll Clark, who threw just 14 passes last week, will be starting just his second game under center. Knocking him on his rear a few times and forcing him to pass against a smart, aggressive secondary may create scoring opportunities for the Beaver defense or at least give the offense a short field to work with.

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