- WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
The statistics speak for themselves. In the last 52 games, when Oregon State commits fewer turnovers than its opponent they are 22-2, when they commit more turnovers, 6-16 and when they commit the same amount, 3-3.
The Men in Black are plus six in turnover margin during OSU's two victories (2000, 2006) over USC at home. They were plus four in 2006 and plus two in 2000.
So, it goes without saying that the Beavers must take care of the pigskin and win the turnover battle if they hope to knock off USC once again.
- GENERATE A BIG SPECIAL TEAMS PLAY EARLY
Several times against Hawaii, Sammie Stroughter was on the cusp of breaking a punt return for a touchdown while James Rodgers and Patrick Henderson were also just a few missed tackles from taking it to the house as well.
A big special teams play early swings the momentum heavily onto Oregon State's side of the field -- which gets the crowd into the game which gives the Beaver defense a little edge which creates problems for the Trojan offense.
Just as important, and perhaps even more so, the Beavs can recapture momentum in about eight seconds flat after and if USC puts together a long, methodical scoring drive -- just the kind that has demoralized opponents in their first two games so far.
Rodgers is averaging 24.2 yards per kickoff return per game good for fourth in the Pac-10 and 44th in the nation. Stroughter is averaging 12.1 yards per punt return good for second in the conference and 35th in the nation. Both of them are due.
- LET IT ALL HANG OUT
All of the pressure should be on USC. They dominated Ohio State on national television and media outlets from the left coast to the east coast are already penciling in USC for the National Championship game.
The Beavers are supposed to lose, and lose big, as Vegas odds makers have the Trojans as a 25 point favorite.
With many already chalking up the Sept. 25 game as a win for USC the OSU coaches and players having nothing to lose.
Open up the playbook. Take some shots downfield. Go for the big hit.
And fans, my Orange and Black brethren, that means you have to let it all hang out as well.
Yell until it hurts, and then yell a little more. Stand up at the start of the game and especially on third downs. And please for the love of God, don't forget to wear orange!
Reviewing last game's keys:
- Get Sammie and James involved - After both failed to score a touchdown
at Penn State, each scored six versus Hawaii while providing a spark on
Stroughter grabbed a co-team high five passes for 42 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown reception, and almost broke a punt return for a touchdown - multiple times.
Rodgers grabbed three passes for 76 yards, including a career high 56-yard score when he bounced off a defender near the first down marker before racing into the endzone. He also added a 35 yard kickoff return that gave the offense excellent field position.
- Get Quizz 30 carries - Rodgers got close enough to 30 carries as
he rushed 26 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns as the ground game got
on track. He is the first true freshman at Oregon State to gain
100 yards rushing in a game since Steven Jackson
did it against USC in 2001.
- Wrap up the ball carrier - The defense turned in a solid performance limiting Hawaii to just 1 of 11 on third down while not allowing any big plays on the ground or through the air. Hawaii had just 57 rushing yards.