BF.C Keys to the Game: WSU

THE PLAYERS are saying all the right things this week at Oregon State headed into the WSU game. 'It's still a Pac 10 opponent.' 'You don't know what the weather is going to be like.' Taylor Kavanaugh stated in his blog for the Oregonian this weekend presents "another wonderful opportunity to get better, a shot to prosper in the face of distraction". But the Beavers aren't fooling anybody.

You have to love the sense of humility veritably coursing through the veins of the program -- it has Mike Riley's thumbprints all over it. But it's going to be a dominating beat down this Saturday and everyone knows it.

You have to feel for the Cougs. They've lost seven in a row, given up 40 plus games in the last 4 contests and they're losing by an average score of 26 points per game. Vegas was probably feeling generous when they put the Beavers up as "only" 31 point favorites -- the Beavers' offense is certifiably on fire at this point in the season.

Maybe Vegas knows something that the rest of us don't. Lies, damned lies and statistics, as Samuel Langhorne Clemens would say: Averages mean nothing when there is a big picture on the horizon. The Civil War looms large and it would not be overly surprising to see a Portland State-ish flavor of gameplan on offense on Saturday.

Nothing fancy, run your basic gameplan and don't create any film for the devil in green (and carbon and black and steel and..) Sit the Rodgers brothers midway through the first quarter, sit Sean Canfield at halftime. Give Stephen Paea and Brennan Olander, who by the way has been lights out the last few weeks, a much deserved rest.

BUT REALISTICALLY, Oregon State's second string could still give WSU a battle. The talent just isn't there with the 1's. Adding insult to injury -- are the injuries.

The beleaguered Cougs are suiting up something in the neighborhood of 45 kids on Saturday, scholarship and walk-on. They're down to just 5 linebackers TOTAL, they moved a walk-on redshirt freshman offensive tackle...over to defensive tackle with their top five DT's out, and the converted walk-on is probably going to play. The list goes on.

The Cougars are starting their third string QB, one-time Oregon State verbal Kevin Lopina. He's now a fifth year senior at WSU and one can only wonder if Lopina looks longingly at the Corvallis sidelines after his detour to K-State before landing in Pullman. Maybe it's a good thing he didn't. He started eight games last year and threw 11 interceptions and no touchdowns. The Keys:

Be Workmanlike
 
What the Beavers need to do is look at the trip to the Palouse as a business trip.
 
They need to take care of business, take a Pac-10 opponent who doesn't resemble a Pac-10 opponent seriously -- and put the game out of reach early. 
  
Stay Hungry

The worst imaginable thing that could come of this trip (aside from an unthinkable upset) would be injuries.

The worst thing you can do on a football field is relax -- that's when injuries happen.  

The Beavers need to finish plays, play the game the way they've been coached to play -- at full speed. Be efficient and stay disciplined. Get in and get out, unscathed.

Keep Eyes on the Prize  

The entire Beaver team needs to keep firmly in mind that they are in the pursuit of an end result, and stay focused.

It's fun to win, and it's fun to win big, but the entire thing can get messy in a hurry by engaging in some chipping after the play and showboating. 

It's an important game in an important moment for the program, no time to do something silly or act like they haven't been there before. 

  
REVIEWING LAST WEEK'S KEYS:
 
1 - Contain Jake Locker: Locker's stat line: Negative 13 yards rushing. 153 yards passing. What more really can you ask for? Grade: A+

2 - Calling Cyndi Lauper: Oregon State needed to give Sean Canfield time, and we're not entirely sure it's true but it's been reported that Canfield at one point took a nap during last week's contest. OK, officially Canfield was sacked three times, but the staff is willing to grade on a curve for that effort since Canfield was ALSO 21 of 29 passing with 4 TD's and no picks. Grade B+

3 - Keep A Foot On Their Throat: After going up 41-7 to conclude the 3rd quarter, the Huskies sacked Canfield and recovered the fumble at the OSU 39. Locker came under center and threw a strike for a touchdown, and it seemed like the Huskies might have found some kind of toe hold in the game. OSU took the field and scored in three plays, putting a stamp on the victory. Grade: A


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