Oregon State has an explosive offense and a strong defense. They have three outstanding skill position players that make their offense go. Huge 6-6, 238 lb sophomore QB Derek Anderson leads the way from his position. Anderson is 190 of 404 for 2,994 yards and 24 TDs this season. He has thrown 12 INTs and has a QB rating of 47 percent. The running back position is manned by another impressive sophomore in 6-2, 224 lb Steven Jackson. Jackson has rushed for 1,656 yards on 300 attempts and 15 TDs. He has a 5.5 yards per carry average.
Perhaps the most talented athlete on their offense is 6-1, 202 lb junior James Newson. Newson has 64 catches for 1,119 yards and 11 TDs this season. He averages 17.5 yards per catch! Former Miami Hurricane coach Dennis Erickson coaches Oregon State. Erickson is known for his wide-open offensive attacking schemes and mixes the run and pass as well as anyone.
Oregon State is ranked the 10th best in total defense. Pitt is ranked the 11th best in total defense. Both Pitt and Oregon State have given up an average of 293 yards per game. Oregon State has a very aggressive defense that is led by two excellent cornerbacks. Dennis Weathersby, a 6-1, 206 lb senior cornerback and Terrell Roberts, a 5-9, 201 lb senior cornerback lead the way. Weathersby is one of the best cornerbacks in the entire country. He is a two-time first team PAC-10 selection.
The best player on the Oregon State defense may be 6-1, 297 lb senior defensive tackle Eric Manning. Manning forces teams to double team him and he is a two-year first team PAC-10 selection. Oregon State also has two outstanding linebackers. Nick Barnett, a 6-2, 220 lb senior, is a first team all PAC-10 selection. Barnett averages 9.3 tackles per game and has 112 tackles overall. Richard Seigler, a 6-3, 225 lb junior linebacker, is also a first team all PAC-10 selection. Seigler has 12.5 tackles for a loss and 6 QB hurries this season.
Oregon State is in its 3rd bowl game in four years. Pitt is in its 3rd bowl game in a row, and 4th in six years. Oregon State lost to Hawaii 23-17 in the 1999 O'ahu Bowl. In 2000, they crushed Notre Dame 41-9 in the Fiesta Bowl. Pitt's four losses this season have been by a combined 24 points. This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Pitt is ranked No. 23 by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and No. 24 by the AP Poll. Oregon State is unranked.