BEAVER NOTEBOOK: Looking to even record

OREGON STATE HAS given up the fewest turnovers in the Pac-10 (6) while in the last three games the defense has forced seven turnovers with the offense turning them all into touchdowns. Many more news and notes inside this week's Beaver Notebook.

THIRTY BIG ONES: The Beavers are a whopping 30-point favorite entering Saturday's game, and probably will be favored for most of the games remaining on their schedule due to the Pac-10 having a down year.  That may be comforting to some, but head coach Mike Riley says his team will prepare the same for WSU and others as if they were USC or Penn State.  “It’s not comforting to me,” Riley said. “All of them are hard. It will be about playing better than the other team each week. They are all winnable and all losable.”

SAME OLD, SAME OLD: For the third consecutive year the Oregon State football team has started out 2-3.  No big deal says QB Lyle Moevao, "Every year is a new year. We’ve started out 2-3 the last two years and we’ve been able to go through the rest of the season with only one loss but that’s not a goal for us. We’re always looking to defeat everyone from the start. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked out that way.” OG Adam Speer doesn't know what it is about them starting out slow, “I don’t know what our curse is starting like that but we can’t look at that at all. It still takes a lot of work to get to 10 and nine win seasons like we’ve had. We just need to get rolling.”

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT:   Oregon State has given up the fewest turnovers in the Pac-10, losing the ball only six times in five games with the turnovers resulting in just 17 points. Included are just two fumbles lost all season.  On the other side of the ball, in the last three games, Oregon State has forced seven turnovers and turned them into seven touchdowns (47 points).  Over the last 54 games, Oregon State is 23-3 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 6-16 when committing more turnovers and 3-3 when even.

LEADING THE PAC: Three players lead the Pac-10 in at least one statistical category.  RB Jacquizz Rodgers leads the Pac-10 in rushing at 110.0 yards per game while his 124 rushing attempts is also the most in the conference.  QB Lyle Moevao leads the Pac-10 in passing yards at 280.4 yards per game (12th in the nation) and S Greg Laybourn, who has posted 20 tackles over the last two games and leads the Pac-10 in stops at 9.0 per game.

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL:  Despite sitting at 2-3 Oregon State has a decent shot at going to the Rose Bowl if they win out.  They are tied with USC for a Pac-10 best 15-4 in games played in October, November and December over the last two-plus seasons and the player know that a trip to Pasadena is within their reach.  “We have the team to win every game that’s left on our schedule.  We know we have a shot at the Rose Bowl. Coach Riley always reminds us, ‘It’s not how good the team is, it’s who plays better that day.’ We want to be that team every weekend for the rest of the year," S Al Afalava told the Portland Tribune.

ON TARGET:  QB Lyle Moevao is on record pace for completion percentage for one season for a Beaver at 62.8 (118-188) percent - the current record holder is Matt Moore in 2006 at 60.6 (229-378) percent. He also is on pace to have the fourth-highest total yards in a season with 3,365.

POUND IT:  Running the ball shouldn't be a problem Saturday as the offense will be going against a defense that gives up an average 6.3 yards per carry, 240 yards (116th in the nation) and four rushing touchdowns a game.  Oregon State's success is tightly tied to their ability to run the football.  In the two Beaver victories, the team has rushed a combined 95 times for 393 yards (193.6 ypg, 4.13 ypc). In the team’s losses, 92 times for 270 yards (90.0 ypg, 2.93 ypc, ).

SEE QUIZZ RUN: RB Jacquizz Rodgers is on pace to accumulate 1,320 yards rushing this season which would eclipse the OSU freshman record of Ken Simonton’s 1,028 in 1998. Simonton was a redshirt-freshman while Rodgers is a true freshman. He currently leads the Pac-10 and is 14th in the nation in rushing with 110.0 yards per game.  At his current pace, Rodgers would set the rushing record for touchdowns in a season with 21 - Simonton had 19 in 1999 and 2000.

WHO'S YOUR DRADDY: Senior OT Andy Levitre has been selected a semifinalist for the Draddy Award, presented annually by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame to a student-athlete who excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The finalists will be announced Oct. 29. The winner will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.  Nominees must have at least a 3.2 GPA, must be a first team player or significant contributor and must demonstrate strong leadership and citizenship.

HOME SWEET HOME:  OSU has won their last five games at home and have outscored its opponents 146-41 in the first quarter over the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons at Reser Stadium, and in the last 12 games has a margin of 111-17 in the opening period at home.

ALMOST THERE:  With a win Saturday Mike Riley will move into the top three winningest coaches in Oregon State history. With OSU’s win over USC two weeks ago Riley now has 49 wins during his seven-plus years at the helm, moving him into sole possession of fourth place in OSU history. Two more triumphs would tie Riley with legendary coach Dee Andros (1965-75) with 51 wins for third on
the list.

STILL DOING GOOD:  Despite giving up a season high three sacks last week the offensive line still has given up only eight sacks in 190 attempted passes - that’s an average of 23.75 attempts
for every sack. Only USC (33 att/sack), Oregon (24.25 att/sack) and California (24 att/sack), in the Pac-10, has an average that high or low depending on your point of view. Beaver opponents have 139 attempts with nine sacks - or 15 attempts per sack.

SECONDARY UPDATE:  A few items on note in the secondary.  Senior CB Keenan Lewis will be making this 40th career start Saturday making him only the 13th player in school history to accomplish that feat.  S Al Afalava will start, but is not at 100-percent yet due to a groin injury.  Look for him to be pulled early if it is a blowout.  CB Brandon Hughes has not practiced all week and will miss the game.  Junior Tim Clark will receive his second start of the year.

SAMMIE MAY SIT:  With a bothersome hip flexor and a very winnable game it is likely that WR Sammie Stroughter, who needs just 58 receiving yards to become the fifth player in Beaver history to top the 2,000-yard mark, may sit out Saturday's game.   Sophomore Darrell Catchings will take his place in the lineup.  “Darrell can be a very good receiver for us,” Riley said. “If he takes this to another level and continues to improve and doesn’t just wait in the wings for Sammie to be gone, he has a lot of capability to do good things this season.”

BEAVER DAM:  The Beaver defense has limited each of last two opponents - ranked teams USC and Utah - to less than 340 yards total offense.

CANFIELD TO PLAY?:  Junior QB Sean Canfield was officially placed back on the depth chart last week against Utah and with a potential blowout on the horizon he could receiving his first snaps of 2008.  "he No. 1 goal is to win the game," Riley said.  "If we have a good flow going, I don't want to disrupt it. If we don't, then I'd like the quarterback to fight through it."

GOOD ARM:  The coaches have got a reasonable look at transfer QB Peter Lalich who is helping run the scout team.  “It’s early to say too much, but Pete is impressive throwing the ball out on the practice field,” Riley said. “We have no idea about decision-making and that sort of thing, but as far as showing an ability to throw the ball quickly, get it out of his hands and have a strong arm, all those parts are there.”

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