BF.C KEYS TO THE GAME: No. 17 Cincinnati

THE HEAT GETS turned up Saturday because the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats are on fire. Sporting one of nation's hottest offenses, Cincinnati brings The Spread, Act III to Corvallis. Mark Banker will need to have the defense buckling the chinstraps. And the Beaver offense playing a little defense wouldn't hurt either.

Cincinnati comes in with a red-hot offense. They have a 6-6 senior quarterback with a rocket arm, and a Sammie Stroughter-esque do-it-all wide receiver with a good story about overcoming tough odds.

They play a fast break style of offense that is like a game-long two minute drill. The Beaver D will need to play well, both the starters and rotation-men.

What you may not know is this Cinci team is playing with a new defensive scheme – switching from a 4-3 base to a 3-4, and with just one returning starter. Yes, they've looked good against Rutgers and Southeast Missouri State but let's face it -- that was Rutgers and Southeast Missouri State. Oregon State will be a firm test for them defensively.

Punch Cincy ithe mouth

This isn't a spread option offense Brian Kelly runs, in some ways it's a lot more similar to Joe Tiller's basketball on grass style of offense and Tony Pike is perfect to run it. 
 
But Cincinnati has their own thumbprints on their version of the spread; lining up a 240 pound tight end behind center for a Tebow-esque sledgehammer, or direct snapping to dangerous WR Mardy Gilyard. 
 
The key to slowing all of this up is to bring the hardhat and get pressure up the middle.  Collapse the pocket, disrupt the timing, take away their rhythm and always, always be physical.
Punch them ithe mouth again

The best defense against Cincy is a good offense. 
 
Oregon State is going to need to run the ball, control the clock, and keep Cincinnati's offense on the sidelines watching long, grinding, tick-tock eating drives. 
 
The Oregon State o-line can get a good push and physically dominate UC's young defense. The question is, will they.
Play smart

Watching and re-watching the UNLV game made one thing painfully clear – untimely penalties and dumb mistakes were the single biggest reason for the Rebels being able to hang around and send Oregon State fans asking their family practitioner about blood pressure medication on Monday.  
 
If you want to beat a Top 20 team, you can't do it while missing PAT's.
 
You can't do it committing false start after false start.
 
You can't do it putting 12 men on the field.  It's the little things that kill winning.  And Oregon State can't make the same kind of mistakes they did against UNLV if they want to start the season at 3-0.
REVIEWING LAST WEEK'S KEYS:
 
  1. Pass Rush.  The numbers don't show it—Kevin Frahm recorded the lone sack for Oregon State against UNLV—but the Beavers were able to apply pressure enough and force UNLV to rely on quick drops and short passes in order to get the ball off in time.  Give the Beaver D a C+ in the pass rush category. 
  2. Stretch the Field.  The only stretching that went on was from sideline to sideline courtesy of OSU's patented stretch run.  The Beaver offense marched up and down the field using precise passing and some breakout runs from Jacquizz Rodgers, with a minimum of razzle dazzle and very few looks downfield.  Jordan Bishop's 21 yard reception was the long of the game.  However, Quizz took care of the field-stretching big plays, so we're going to give this category a mild "check".
  3. Win the turnover battle:  Credit Lance Mitchell for taking care of this Key to the Game all by himself.  One fumble forced, one interception, and the defensive MVP of the game nomination from the BF.C staff.  On the flip side, Canfield made good decisions and completed 80 percent of his passes without a single INT. And, of course, Quizz handled his end of the bargain as usual with another 35 or so touches without a fumble.  Check and Check. 

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