A BEAVER DOZEN: Two starters back

A COUPLE OF defensive starters, CB Brandon Hughes and S Al Afalava, are expected to make their return to the starting lineup while DE Slade Norris has been wreaking havoc in opposing team's backfield the last few games and a whole lot more.

RILEY SAYS: With Oregon State looking to make another improbable run coach Mike Riley is optimistic about his teams chances to end the season strong.  "Considering our record, which is average, I like this team. I like the work ethic. I like the fact that in the last four games, we have played our best football and we have grown, obviously from the opening two weeks of the season."

BACK IN 2006:  WR Sammie Stroughter had a huge day against the Huskies in 2006 catching seven passes for a still career high 223 yards and one touchdown, his first in a Beaver uniform.  His performance earned him Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.  Stroughter is the last player to have over 200 receiving yards against UW.

WE'RE BACK!:  CB Brandon Hughes and S Al Afalava are both expected to return to the starting lineup against Washington after missing last week's game with injuries.  Hughes has 10 tackles and a co-team high four pass breakups in four starts this year while Afalava has 17 tackles, one interception and a co-team high four pass breakups.

NASTY NORRIS: DE Slade Norris has created chaos in the opponents' backfield in recent games. Norris has had two sacks in each of the last two games and overall 5.5 tackles-for-loss.  He also also has three forced fumbles in the last three tilts.  He is tied for eighth all-time at OSU for career sacks at 13.5. His bookend end, Victor Butler is tied for fifth with 15.

STILL LOOKING:  Oregon State has not won on the road this year losing at Stanford, Penn State and Utah, but the Beavers have had success in Seattle winning the last three in Husky Stadium. 

DE Victor Butler says trust is the key to the Beavers recent success, ""We have rhythm now. We've developed chemistry together and we've gelled now. We can trust the guys behind us and we can depend on each other now. We can relax and play within our defense. Now we have guys going out and making plays because they're comfortable."

STARTING SLOW, FINISHING STRONG: Oregon State is tied with USC for a Pac-10 best 16-4 in games played in October, November and December over the last two-plus seasons and is entering the time of year when they excel.  Here's a closer look (not counting Bowl games):

2008 – 0-3 road start; ?
2007 – 0-2 road start; 3-1 finish
2006 – 0-1 start; 4-1 finish
2005 – 0-1 start; 2-2 finish
2004 – 0-3 start; 3-0 finish

RIVALRY GAME:  Saturday's game against the Huskies could get heated after last year's game in which S Al Afalava knocked QB Jake Locker out of the game and three players were ejected in a separate incident.   Hughes in the only player still active from the melee.   Afalava's family is worried about the Huskies retaliating Saturday, but Riley says this year is different with different players and teams

"These teams, year to year, are different," Riley told The Oregonian.  "They have different personalities. It's different guys. The game is bigger than what happened last year."

ONE FOR THE THUMB: Oregon State hopes not, but take a close look on the field and you will see four Beavers with casts on their hands and in full uniform. The list includes (all reserves) safety Suaesi Tuimaunei, defensive tackle Mitchel Hunt, offensive lineman Wilder McAndrews and cornerback/special teams standout Brandon Hardin.

WE'VE GOT THE BALL: Understanding that it's the most overrated statistic possibly in the game, but the Beavers do possess the sixth highest mark in the nation (1st in the Pac-10) in terms of time of possession at 32:54 (TCU leads at (36:32).

FAST START:   Oregon State has scored on its first possession in the last three games:
vs. WSU - Sammie Stroughter 30-yard pass reception, vs. Utah - Justin Kahut 37-yard FG, and vs. USC - James Rodgers 8-yard pass reception

REMEMBER WHEN:  QB Lyle Moevao made his starting debut last season in a 29-23 victory over Washington at Reser Stadium Nov. 10. He replaced Sean Canfield, who went down with a shoulder injury the prior week at USC.  Since taking the starting spot Moevao is 7-3.

MORE MOEVAO: Moevao is on record pace for completion percentage for one season for a Beaver at 61.3 (130-212) 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 3,176.  He leads in the Pac-10 and is 10th in the nation in passing yards per game (264.7).

BALANCE: It's an old adage for football coaches to say "you have to be able to run the ball." In the three Beaver victories, the team has rushed a combined 138 times for 716 yards. In the team's losses, 92 times for 270 yards.

DID YOU KNOW:  If RB Jacquizz Rodgers, who is averaging a Pac-10 best 119.7 ypg, continues to lead the Pac-10 he will become the first true freshman in Pac-10 history to lead the conference in rushing yards.

POP QUIZZ:  Quizz is on pace to accumulate 1,436 yards rushing this season which would eclipse the OSU freshman record of Ken Simonton's 1,028 in 1998. Here's a look at his rushing stats this season:

WSU: 23 for 168, 1 TD | Utah: 25 for 101, 1 TD | USC: 37 for 186, 2 TD | Hawaii: 26 for 110, 2 TD | Penn St: 22 for 99, 2 TD | Stanford: 14 for 54

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