BREAKDOWN: Time for Beavs to step up vs ASU

CORVALLIS -- The Beavs sit tied with Cal at 0-1 for ninth in the league-2-2 overall. The road doesn't get any easier as OSU travels to Sun Devil Stadium for a match up with their former coach Dennis Erickson and the 2-1 Sun Devils. Is there urgency attached to this one? You bet.

Despite winning the first three games played at Arizona State in 1966, 1967, and 1969, the Beavs haven't won a conference game in Tempe in their last 16 tries.

Statistical Match-Up:
Oregon State is scoring just over 26 points per game. However, they're also giving up 23-plus. Arizona State comes in scoring 35 points per game and surrendering just over 12. Strength of opponents looks somewhat similar -- both OSU and ASU losing to top 20 teams and winning against two non-BCS conference teams.

Expected to be a slow starting offensive ball club, the Devils are living up to said expectations. ASU has managed just 312 yards per game while OSU averages 391. OSU has leaned on Sean Canfield and the air attack to date, attempting 148 passes to 137 rushes.

Arizona State has kept things fairly balanced with 94 pass attempts to 90 rush attempts.

Oregon State takes the Pac-10's best passing attack into Sun Devil Stadium to face the Pac-10's best pass defense. OSU chucks it at 255 yards per game and ASU is giving up just 136 through the air. ASU has the conference's best overall defense and will be the biggest test to date for the OSU offense.

Something has to give with injuries on the ASU offensive line and OSU's lack of pressure on the quarterback. Will ASU have a field day against the still learning OSU secondary? Or will the holes left from injuries lead to consistent pressure from the OSU d-line?

Lose and OSU is again standing at 2-3 with a scary Pac-10 schedule ahead of them and having lost three in a row will truly test the character of the young Beaver team.

Win and you create momentum, move to 3-2 and 1-1 in league with a win on the road somewhere you haven't won in 40 years.

ASU Last Week:
Arizona State took Georgia down to the wire in Athens, eventually falling to the No. 21 team in the nation 20-17. The Bulldogs tied the game early in the fourth quarter with a Blair Walsh field goal after their drive stalled on the ASU four yard line. The remainder of the fourth was a defensive battle which saw five consecutive punts and a Georgia turnover.

ASU intercepted Joe Cox with 5:30 left to go in the fourth. On the Georgia 20, ASU went -1 yards in three plays and had the 38 yard go ahead field goal attempt blocked. The Bulldogs went to work inside their own two yard line, driving the length of the field and setting up their game winning kick from 37 yards as time expired.

What may be more devastating than having victory slip through your fingers on the road against a storied SEC program such as Georgia, are the injuries the Devils sustained on the already thin offensive line.

Center Thomas Altieri left with a knee injury. Guard Jon Hargis and tackle Mike Marcisz both sustained shoulder separations. And guard Matt Hustad looked to have the worst injury out of the group with an injured MCL. Hargis and Altieri returned to finish out the game and all are questionable for Saturday's match up with OSU.

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