BEAVER NOTEBOOK: Eight straight!?

FOR THE FIRST time since the renovation of the south end zone, Reser Stadium will be sold out on Saturday. It also marks the first time since 2002 that ABC will broadcast a game from Reser Stadium. Can Oregon State make it eight straight victories at home and their first over Cal in Reser since 2002? And how will Lyle Moevao perform in his return after missing most of the last two games?

SELLOUT:  For the first time since the renovation of the south endzone, all 45,674 seats in Reser Stadium look to be filled and a new attendance record will be set.  The current school record is 45,629, set on Nov. 10 of last season against Washington.

CANFIELD OR MOEVAO TO START?: Although he's completed 35 of 50 (70 percent) of his passes for 440 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions since taking over for Lyle Moevao , Mike Riley is quoted in the Oregonian that junior Sean Canfield will almost certainly be the backup this Saturday.  Moevao took the majority of the snaps in Thursday's practice and unless he is unexpectedly sore Friday or in pre-game warmups, he will be back under center against Cal and notch his ninth start of the season.

MORALES GOOD TO GO:  WR Shane Morales practiced Thursday for the first time since injuring his hip at the Friday walk-through at UCLA. The star wideout was hurt while dunking a football over the goal posts and is expected to play Saturday.  Morales has 39 catches for 529 yards and is the Beavs' co-leader in TD grabs with six.

D-FENSE: The Beaver defense has allowed only one touchdown in the last two games and just two touchdowns in the last 16 quarters.  And for good reason. In the last four games, Beaver opponents have averaged just 260.1 yards of total offense -- a mere pittance in today's college football climate.  OSU is third in the conference in total defense (295.2), second in rushing defense (112.0) and fourth in pass defense (183.2).

TURNOVER ON DOWNS: The Men in Black are allowing opponents to convert a paltry 29.4 percent of third downs into first downs, which rates seventh nationally. Two keys to that: Brandon Hughes shares the conference lead in passes broken up and defensive ends Victor Butler and Slade Norris, and linebacker Keaton Kristick, all rank in the top five for the league in tackles for loss.

RAUCOUS RESER: The Beavers enter Saturday’s game winners of seven straight at Reser Stadium, dating back to a 40-14 loss Sept. 29, 2007 against UCLA. OSU has won 12 of its last 13 at home. The Beavers haven’t gone undefeated at home since the 2000 season (6-0, No. 4 final ranking).  Oregon State has outscored its opponents 174-44 in the first quarter over the 2006-08 seasons at Reser -- and in the last 14 games, OSU has a margin of 139-20 in the opening period at home.

FOSBURY FLOP:  One of Oregon State’s most recognizable student-athlete alums, Dick Fosbury, will present the game ball for this week’s game. Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump during his career at Oregon State with the “Fosbury Flop,” won the 1968 NCAA title and the U.S. Olympic Trials using his new technique. He later won the gold medal and set the Olympic record at the 1968
Games in Mexico City.

REMEMBER WHEN...:  The Beavers last laid claim to a Pac-10 title in 2000 when they shared it with Washington and Oregon at 7-1. Oregon State last won a league title outright in 1956 when the Beavs went 6-1-1 in the old Pacific Coast Conference, which at that time did not include the Arizona schools (1978 inclusion), but did have Idaho as a member. By virtue of the league title, the Beavers played in the 1957 Rose Bowl, losing to Iowa (35-19). Oregon State also played in the 1965 Rose Bowl, losing to Michigan (34-7) after sharing the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) title with USC.

HOLD ON NOW: For Oregon State to claim the Pac-10 title outright this season, they will have to navigate the most difficult schedule remaining in the Pac-10 Conference and they have three games left (UO and Stanford each have only two games remaining). The Beavers’ final three opponents have a combined record of 19-9. Arizona is the only other team that faces a three-game slate against foes with a combined winning mark, at 16-12.

NASTY NORRIS AND VICIOUS VICTOR:  Senior defensive ends Slade Norris and Victor Butler have combined to create their own personal brand of chaos theory in the opponents’ backfield this season, and particularly in recent games. In the last six contests, Norris has posted 30 tackles with 6.0 sacks, 10 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two pass break ups up.  In the past four games, Butler has been credited with 21 tackles, 4 sacks, 9.5 tackles-for-loss and three forced fumbles.  Butler, despite becoming a full time starter just this season, ranks third in OSU history with 18.0 career sacks while Norris, also a full-time first year starter, is tied for fifth with 15.5.

POSTSEASON HERE WE COME: For the eighth time in 10 years, Oregon State is bowl eligible and expects to play in its third straight postseason game. The Pac-10 has contracts with seven bowls and most of the bowls will have a representative at Saturday's game.

YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RUN:  In the six Beaver victories this season, the team has rushed a combined 259 times for 1,256 yards -- that's an average of 209.3 yards per game. In the team’s losses, the numbers stack up this way -- 92 carries for 270 yards an average of 90.0 ypg. Going along with the need to run the ball successfully, is the need to hang onto the ball. Oregon State has rushed the ball 351 times and has lost only three fumbles all season.  The Beavers are tied for fourth in the nation for fewest fumbles lost in the 2008 season, only Oklahoma (1), LSU (2) and Central Michigan (2) have lost fewer.

THE QUIZZ SHOW:  RB Jacquizz Rodgers picked up his third overall, and second consecutive, Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week award following his 144-yard, one rushing touchdown performance at UCLA.  Here's but some of the true freshman's accomplishments :

  • Became the third freshman in Pac-10 history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark and later set the conference’s and OSU's freshman record at 1,089 yards with three regular season games remaining.
  • Has led the Beavers in rushing in eight of his first nine career games
  • Has surpassed the 100-yard mark six times (110 vs. Hawai’i, 186 vs. USC, 101 at Utah, 168 vs. WSU, 133 vs. ASU and 144 at UCLA)
  • Leads the Pac-10, and is the only player in the league, in triple figures at 121 yards per game - a freshman has never before led the Pac-10 in rushing.
  • CBS Sportsline rates him the top freshman in the nation
  • Has been crowned the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week three times, including that last two weeks.

MAKING TURNOVERS COUNT: In the last seven games Oregon State has forced 17 turnovers and turned them into 14 scores and 88 points (12 touchdowns, 2 field goals). On the other side of the
ball, through nine games, the Beavers have committed 13 turnovers resulting in but 37 points (the breakdown: 7 at Stanford, 3 at Penn State, 7 at Utah, 13 against Washington State and 7 against Arizona State).

NO SHAVE NOVEMBER: In an effort to continue fostering a team atmosphere and unity, OSU’s offensive players devised the idea of “No Shave November.” While it may not be as noticeable through the facemasks of the players, it has become quite noticeable for several of the offensive coaches on the sidelines and around the Valley Football Center. Eat your heart out, Grizzly Adams.


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