| Cougars (1-9) vs Beavers (7-3)|
AT A GLANCE
2:00 pm Pacific Time
Players to Know
Sean Canfield, QB: The up-down career of Sean Canfield appears to be ending on a high note. He's finally put it all together in his senior year, and is completing 70 percent of his throws for around 2,600 yards with 17 TDs this season. The o-line isn't as stout as last year's Beaver squad but they've done enough to keep the running lanes open and Canfield has limited his interceptions this season.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB: In any other year for conference running backs, Rodgers would be a sure-fire first team selection and potential player of the year. He just last week against UW climbed over the 1,000 yards mark for the second straight season and with 1,148 rushing yards, 400 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns, he makes as good a case as anybody.
James Rodgers, WR: Brother James remains an exceptional talent in his own right, with 832 receiving yards and 8 TDs and he remains a dangerous runner on the fly sweep. He's Canfield's go-to guy but...
Keep an eye on Damola Adeniji as well, especially on third down and TE Joe Halahuni has exploded the last few weeks, with a pair of 100-yard receiving games.
The Riley spread offense tends to focus more on the running back -- Riley often says Beaver football is about pounding the ball on the ground. But truth be told, it is driven by the passing game and that's been the biggest factor in the Beavs positioning themselves for the Rose Bowl scrum they find themselves in.
Oregon State often likes to open a game with at least three straight passes on the first possession, WSU needs to be ready for that. After the first possession, there is balance in this system, but weather may affect it more than normal. Put max focus on containing the Rodgers' brothers -- in the run game -- if the ball is wet or frozen. Even then, Adeniji and Halahuni present challenges with Canfield throwing so well -- Cal took away Quizz and held him to about 30 rushing yards through 3 1/2 quarters and the Beavs still beat Cal handily. The Cougs will need to stuff the middle first and then shut off the edges, where the Rodgers' do get much of their gains in the running game. It's been shown this season Canfield can make bad decisions when pressured, the problem will be in getting that pressure there.
THE BEAVERS ON DEFENSE
Players to Know
Keaton Kristick, LB: Emotional and statistical leader of the defense. He leads the team in tackles on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Stephen Paea, DT: Everyone in the Pac-10 (and elsewhere) missed on him and he's now arguably the best d-lineman in the Pac-10 as a junior, and the national media is starting to ask if he's going to come out early and enter the draft this year. He's been doubled most of the year but with the emergence of Brennan Olander the past couple of weeks, he's been singled and has started taking over the line of scrimmage.
OSU runs a very fast 4-3 defense that lacks in star power, but this seems to fit the blue collar mentality DC Mark Banker promotes. They have no true devastating strength to overcome and their biggest weakness has steadily improved over the season. That weakness is the secondary, where they've replaced all four seniors from a year ago and three of the four are now in the NFL.
The forecast is for rain and snow on Saturday and one of WSU's only seniors is Dwight Tardy. Pin your hopes on lousy weather and bruised pride. WSU wants to try and be balance but frankly, their best bet is to try and beat the OSU secondary. The problem is that the WSU o-line has not been able to provide any WSU quarterback consistent time in the pocket and WSU quarterbacks, for their part, haven't made the accurate passes when they've needed to -- they'll need to reverse that trend to day to have a chance.
THE BEAVERS ON SPECIAL TEAMS
The Beavs have a good punt return team when James Rodgers is back receiving punts. Their coverage units have been better than their return units but they're sound in all areas.
Seniors should be fired up for senior day...Two team hungry for respect... Beavers under Riley historically are not caught looking ahead...Poor weather could play a factor...WSU is stretched incredibly thin, how thin? They moved a walk-on offensive tackle to d-tackle so they would have enough bodies at the position in practice this week -- that's how thin....WSU's best bet is to get back to what they were doing at times earlier this season, putting together 14-, 15-, 17-play drives on offense. That was a different team then, without massive injuries across the board, but WSU needs to limit the times the OSU offense gets on the field and make some plays of their own. The three and outs have become legion in the first quarter and they have to stop. Today would be a fine time to get that done.