The Unusual Suspects: Week 8

CORVALLIS -- Oregon State's special teams played a vital role in the Beaver victory and throughout the game against UCLA -- the field position battle was won thanks to this week's unsung difference makers.

Also, a Beaver defense that was gashed for 227 rushing yards on the ground last week at USC, gave up just 51 yards on the ground on Saturday.

John Hekker: UCLA came into the game with an advantage in both punting average and net average, however Hekker stole the show and gave the defense the upper hand with his leg.

The 6-5 sophomore punted four times for an average of 44.5 yards and his coverage team corralled a very dangerous returner in Terrance Austin, allowing less than two yards per return.

Hekker had the ball downed inside the 20 yard line three times.

Coverage Teams: In close games, which this one turned into late, field position is key, and Oregon State did an outstanding job covering punts and kick offs.

Austin entered the game averaging 10.9 yards per punt return and UCLA, 25.8 yards per kick return. OSU held the dangerous return man to just 1.7 on punt returns, and more impressively, just 19 on kick returns.

UCLA's average starting field position was their own 22 and they never started a drive from beyond their 32 yard line.

Stephen Paea: While his number of tackles doesn't scream "unsung", the Tongan Terror finally had his time to shine and came up with three sacks for a defense that has been anemic when it comes to sacking the quarterback.

Paea has been double teamed all year long, and has still managed to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

And when No. 54 cut loose on Saturday, he had his best game of the year. Paea finished with 4 tackles (3 solo), three sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Justin Kahut: Yet again the Beaver offense faltered near the goal line and Kahut bailed OSU out by making something out of nothing, booting four of five field goals through the uprights.

Kahut connected from 27, 31, 42, and 48 and missed from 47.

The offense needs to convert red zone trips into touchdowns, but it's good to see Kahut kicking with confidence and getting three points on the board opposed to none, especially in a seven point win.

Danny Langsdorf: OSU is the best when they are balanced, and the orange and black were just that on Saturday -- 35 passes and 35 runs led to 463 total yards on what was believed to be a stout UCLA defense.

Langsdorf, the offensive coordinator, was unpredictable in his play calling and very diverse.

The "Wild Beaver" was run numerous times, and this week we finally saw Jacquizz Rodgers throw out of it, and for a touchdown no less.

Quizz went over 100 rushing, his brother James added over 100 receiving and Canfield found seven targets for 300 plus yards-a winning combination for the Beavs.

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