The Unusual Suspects: Week 9

MANY ARE TALKING about QB Sean Canfield as the Pac-10's best passer, as well they should after the Beavs' win over then No. 23 Cal. But in looking at the win on the road, in what seems to be OSU's second home, Strawberry Canyon, save some of that praise for the o-line. Don't forget about Johnny Hekker, Brady Camp or Casey Kjos either. Here are this week's unsung performers.

After a quick 14-0 start the Beavers put the defensive clamps on the Cal offense, never looked back , and strolled to a workmanlike 31-14 victory. It marked OSU's ninth win against the Golden Bears in their last 11, and their fifth straight at Cal.

Sean Canfield threw at nearly a 75 percent completion rate for 342 yards and found James Rodgers and Jordan Bishop for scores — Bishop's first of his young career.

Both lines have begun to play to their potential and along with some other unusual suspects, they're the prime reason OSU is now ranked No. 23 in the BCS.

Offensive Line: A group that was much maligned for their pass protection early in the season and ranked near the bottom of the conference in sacks given up, Mike Remmers, Gregg Peat, Alex Linnenkohl, Grant Johnson and Michael Philipp pitched a shut-out on Saturday.

They allowed Sean Canfield time to surgically pick apart the Cal secondary after the Bears focused on stopping Jacquizz Rodgers -- and did so successfully.

If there's one thing Beaver fans know, it's the ability offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh to gauge potential and get production out of his hogs -- see true freshman left Michael Philipp. And consider that left guard Grant Johnson and right tackle Mike Remmers both came to OSU as walk-ons.

Defensive Line: With just 10 sacks on the season, the defensive line has recorded six of them in the past two weeks. Two came against Cal's Kevin Riley.

But if Riley wasn't sacked, he was pressured and hit often throughout the game.

Defensive coordinator Mark Banker has seemed to figure out the strengths of his group and schemed well to put pressure on the QB this week.

Not only that, Cal was held to just 39 rushing yards on the evening -- albeit without Jahvid Best for most the contest -- their lowest total of the season.

Team Discipline: It's not an individual player or group for that matter, but the Beavs played disciplined football while maintaining an aggressive edge. A few holding calls here and there were virtually all from the team. No personal fouls that lead to first downs, and no drive stalling penalties for Oregon State on the night. The Beavs were penalized just 36 yards on six infractions.

Johnny Hekker: It seems like the OSU punter is on this list every week, but maybe more deservingly so than ever this week.

Hekker's hang time (and OSU coverage) did not allow a single return in his four kicks. Hekker averaged 40.2 yards per boot, and netted as much. Two were caught for fair catches and the other two downed inside the 20. After an uneven period for most of his freshman year, Hekker has become a true weapon for OSU and should be in the conversation for All-Conference honors.

Brady Camp, Damola Adeniji and Casey Kjos: It's a pretty sure bet this trio came in for some praise during film study for their work without the ball.

On the fly sweep by James Rodgers that went for 28 yards, it was keyed by some find blocking out in space by TE Brady Camp and WR Casey Kjos. Blocking is one of the more unsung aspects of the game and one of the big reasons the OSU fly sweep works, in addition to the talent that is James Rodgers, is the execution on their blocks by the Beaver wideouts and tight ends out in space.

Damola Adeniji, in addition to his five catches for 87 yards, also got in some nice chucks against Cal, allowing for more Beaver yardage and first downs.

The Beavers are at it again! It's November and the team looks as good as they've looked this season. Sean Canfield is playing as good or better than any quarterback in the Pac-10 and arguably, beyond. Jacquizz Rodgers is one or two carries away from his second 1,000 yard season, and Joe Halahuni suddenly seems to be unstoppable with the ball in his hands. The Beavers, 6-3 (4-2) have won four of their last five (the loss was on the road by six to USC) and are ranked No. 23 in the BCS. The Beavers look to build on their momentum this Saturday as they host the Washington Huskies in their home finale.

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