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Looking ahead to Oregon State

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Washington's post season hopes are hanging by a thread going into this encounter witht he Oregon State Beavers. Like all Mike Riley teams this squad keeps improving each week and most importantly keeps winning games. Last week it was on the road against Cal and this week it will be at home against Washington.

The Beavers are 4-2 in the Pac 10 race and 6-3 on the season. The losses were to Cincinnati, Arizona, and USC. Left on their slate is Washington, WSU, and Oregon so a finish as high as 9-3 is very possible this season. Even with only two losses the Rose bowl is unlikely. USC would have to lose one more time, Arizona would have to lose twice, and of course they would have to beat the hated Ducks.

The Beavers aren't what I would call a dominant team going into this one but Washington on paper doesn't match up well with these guys. Offensively the Beavers have a lot of firepower with the Rodgers brothers and Sean Canfield. Washington's defense hasn't been able to stop anyone lately and the Beavers sport one of the more explosive offenses in the Pac 10. The top passing team in the Pac 10 isn't a great match for a team ranked 7th in passing defense.

The Beavers lead the conference in passing averaging 279 ypg and balance it out with an average of 131 ypg on the ground. Jacquizz Rodgers averages 109 ypg which isn't that eye popping. What is eye popping is his 15 TD's this season which leads the league. The hidden ingredient in the Beaver's overall stats is all purpose yards. James Rodgers leads the league with an average of 179 ypg! Washington needs to be very careful when they kick the ball in James Rodgers direction.

Defensively the Beavers started the season young and challenged but the front seven has matured enough to start putting pressure on opposing QB's. The defensive backfield is still susceptible to giving up some big yards if you can get time to throw the ball. The Beavs give up an average of 264 ypg through the air and only 100 on the ground.

If Washington is going to pull off the upset they need to be able to run the ball to set up the pass. Chris Polk picked up 134 yards against UCLA on 15 carries. Coach Sarkisian says that when teams aren't expecting the run UW does fine. When teams are looking for the run the Huskies tend to get stuffed which has contributed to the problems scoring in the red zone this season. Washington needs to run the ball better to beat OSU.

Washington also needs to win the special teams battle in this game to have chance to win. James Johnson provided some spark to the return unit against UCLA which is something the staff has been looking for all season. The key in this one is containing James Rodgers on kick and punt returns. Washington can't allow him to get loose.

Jake Locker hasn't had a great game in some time. He is going to need one if Washington is going to have any chance of beating the Beavers in Corvallis. The quad bruise limited his mobility last week even though Sark called a few designed runs for him. Jake was still fast but you could tell he was running a little choppy. Another week of treatment in the training room should help with that.

Jake needs to take advantage of a Beaver secondary that has a propensity for being burned. The Beavs have some fast athletes back there so it isn't like he is going up against a bunch of stiffs. It is just a young secondary that is learning every game. Jake needs to take advantage of their mistakes. Despite the inexperience back there the Beavers play quit a bit man to man coverage. The Washington receivers need to expoit that early and make Oregon State play from behind.

Game Notes

Reggie Davis the Beavers’ first-year running backs coach, is a former Husky tight end and UW graduate.

 

Oregon State’s current roster includes 11 players that graduated from Washington high schools: PK Matt Barker (Sprague/Gonzaga Prep), OL Grant Enger (Seattle/O’Dea), TE Joe Halahuni (Orting), WR Garett Hall (Olympia), P Johnny Hekker (Bothell), OL, Colin Kelly (Kelso), C Alex Linnenkohl (Olympia/Capital), WR Geno Munoz (Tacoma/Mt. Tahoma), RB Dylan Parsons (Olympia), S Anthony (Burien/Highline) and CB Brian Watkins (Burien/Highline).

Washington leads the overall series with Oregon State 57-32-4.

The teams first met on Dec. 4, 1897, with Oregon State earning a 16-0 home win.