BF.C KEYS TO THE GAME: UNLV

LAS VEGAS -- Looking ahead for the Beavers would be a bad idea, and I am confident that Mike Riley and Co. have the Beavs ready to play in the heat. Early estimates have as many as 8,000 Orange and Black clad faithful traveling to Vegas for the game and based on the anecdotal evidence observed, the hostile away-game environment might not be so hostile.

On the plane ride down, along with the number fellow Beav fans spotted in and around the area so far -- lots of Oregon Staters around Vegas.

Both myself and my Orange Attack staff have reviewed game film from Portland State and UNLV vs. Sac State. Presenting the following thoughts on the matchup this weekend, with Lynchburg Lemonade in hand:

Pass Rush

The gnashing of teeth about the lack of OSU's pass rush against Portland State is much ado about nothing.

Oregon State showed a vanilla defense, made no attempt to mix of the coverage in the linebackers and secondary, and as ANY decent Run and Shoot offense should do, they moved the ball between the 20s.

As one BF.C staffer put it, "their QB was dealing the ball QUICK. The Beaver pass rush is just FINE."

Standouts were Gabe Miller, showing quickness and great instincts, and Matt LaGrone, showing that the hype is for real.

OSU will rush the UNLV QB with success, and that will be a key to dealing with the Rebel spread offense.

Stretch the field, stay fresh

One key for the Beavs is to play 4 quarters of football on defense and to keep fresh legs on the field and stay hydrated.

UNLV looks susceptible to medium-to-long range passes. The Rebel faithful have proclaimed that their "tune-up" – a game against Sac State at home last week – should be viewed in the same light at Oregon State's relatively pedestrian 34-7 win over Portland State.

The Orange Attack strongly advises a "sell" action here...

National pundits who pick UNLV as the upset over Oregon State took a look at the bottom line, which compared somewhat equally to UNLV's 38-3 over Sacramento State.

Not so fast, my friend.

A closer look at the box score shows that at halftime the game was still 10-3, and a 21 point explosion all in the 4th quarter is the only thing that separated the Rebs from a decent win on paper and a fairly embarrassing margin of victory over an inferior opponent.

Start out strong, take it away early

File under "duuuhhhh:" Win the turnover battle.

Oregon State has the advantage in the ground game, and as with most spread offenses the best way to defeat it is simply to keep it off the field.

Oregon State can and will control the time of possession and this will go a long way towards keeping the UNLV offense from being able to establish rhythm.

Turnovers come in short supply when Jacquizz Rodgers is toting the rock, so it will be up to Sean Canfield and company to take care of the rock and take what the defense gives them.

REVIEWING LAST GAME'S KEYS:

1. Get to the quarterback -  The defense did not record a sack and just two tackles for loss, but they didn't blitz a whole either.  Plus, let's give credit where credit is due - Portland State's quarterbacks did a nice job of getting rid of the ball quickly which limited the chances for sack opportunities.

2. Have the game in control by halftime - With a 24-point half time lead the game was well in control.  Throw in James Rodgers kickoff return to open the second half and Jacquizz Rodgers 43-yard touchdown run and the nails were driven into the coffin.  Over 50 players suited up, including 13-different offensive linemen, which will pay dividends later in the season.

3. No turnovers - Zero fumbles and not one pass that was even close to being picked.  A perfect way to start the season.


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