OFFENSIVE MATCHUP: Beavs vs. Cougs

WITH JUST TWO games remaining in the increasingly exciting Oregon State regular season, the Beavs now turn their focus to beleaguered Washington State. While the Civil War looms large -- potentially sending the winner to the Rose Bowl -- it would be a moot point for OSU if by some form of a miracle, the Cougars could pull off a shocking, late November upset.

Don't count on it.

Statistically, Washington State has been anemic on offense and has scored just 10 points per game against Pac-10 opponents while Oregon State has put up over 34 ppg in conference. With an improved and aggressive defense of late, OSU will look to keep their win streak alive and settle the issue in Pullman as early as possible.

Here's a look into the offensive match-ups for Saturday.

Quarterback: Sean Canfield didn't throw for 300 yards for the first time in his last four games, but he did throw for four scores for the first time this season.

Canfield leads the conference in completion percentage (69.8) and yards per game (256.6) and is tied with Washington's Jake Locker with 17 touchdown passes. Canfield is a lock for Pac-10 All Conference honors.

On the other side of the coin, Washington State has started three different quarterbacks due to injury and poor performance -- Jeff Tuel , Marshall Lobbestael and Kevin Lopina. The trio, behind a porous offensive line, averages just 188 yards per game through the air with 11 scores and 15 interceptions thrown. No matter who starts, the Beaver secondary should have a field day, assuming the Cougars are able to get the pass off.

Pick: Beavers - Canfield is quite possibly headed towards first team All-Pac-10 honors and playing virtually error free football, while WSU can't protect their quarterback. In their last two games, WSU has scored 14 points, thrown for 234 yards and three interceptions.

Running Back: Dwight Tardy has potential but lacks a top gear and has few holes to run through. He is averaging 4.1 yards per carry, however, but his 83 carries speaks volumes to the inability for the offense to sustain drives and get him his rushes.

Tardy leads the Cougars with 343 yards, and just one score.

Jacquizz Rodgers has again eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark (1,148) and is second to Stanford's Toby Gerhart (19) with 17 rushing touchdowns.

Pick: Beavers - Jacquizz could hit 200 yards on the day if he's not pulled too early, while Tardy will be lucky to hit 50 against the conference's top rush defense.

Offensive Line: If you thought the 26 sacks allowed by OSU's offensive line was bad, compare that to the 47 times Cougar quarterbacks have been laid on their backs. The Cougs have little depth and injuries have been legion -- last Saturday was the first time since Week 2 since they had their starting five back on the field at the same time.

Granted, they've suffered through massive injuries up front but even when they've had most of their starters back, they've still struggled mightily. They're averaging 74.2 rushing yards per game this season.

Oregon State has given up 26 sacks but in the last three games have allowed just four, partially due to the overly patient Canfield holding the ball too long – we'll call it trust.

An unsung OSU offensive line has yet again helped to churn out a 1,000 yard rusher and more than likely a 3,000 yard passer.

Pick: Beavers - Statistically there is no comparison and the offensive line for OSU as improved every week.

Receivers: It's a one man show for Washington State and that man is wideout Jared Karstetter. Karstetter is WSU's deep threat and averages 15.5 yards per catch and has six scores. The problem is he has just 28 catches this season.

Much like the run game, the inability for the offensive line to protect its quarterback doesn't allow for routes to develop and thus the receiving corps suffers.

James Rodgers added another two scores last week to push his total to eight touchdowns. With 168 yards over his next two games, Rodgers will break 1,000 yards. At present, he leads the league in receptions per game (7.1), yards per game (83.2) and touchdowns (8).

Damola Adeniji is second on the team with 583 yards and three scores.

Pick: Beavers - The passing game continues to roll for OSU and the passing game has never gotten off the ground for WSU.

Tight Ends: If you can't have volume, how about efficiency. Two catches for eight yards…and two scores. With a sub-par passing yardage day (by Sean Canfield's standards) Joe Halahuni was used in the red zone and caught his first two scores of the season.

Brady Camp and Halahuni have accounted for 448 yards and four scores.

WSU's Tony Thompson, Skylar Stormo and Zach Tatman have recorded 14 catches for 139 yards.

Pick: Beavers - Halahuni has emerged as a big time threat while WSU's tight ends group suffers from the same ailment as the rest of the offense, an ineffective offensive line.


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