No. 10 Beavers To Face Struggling Wildcats
Nov. 10, 2000
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Oregon State knows its improbable run for theroseswill come to an end if the 10th-ranked Beavers can't win at Arizona onSaturdaynight.
If Oregon State loses and Oregon beats California, the Ducks willclinch atrip to the Rose Bowl regardless of the outcome of next week's Oregon-OregonState 'Civil War' showdown.
Heading into this weekend's game, Oregon is 6-0 in the conference,whileOregon State and Washington are 5-1.
For Oregon State to earn their first Rose Bowl trip since the 1964season,Washington has to lose one of its last two and Oregon State must win itslasttwo.
'It's going to be a hard-fought game down there,' Oregon State coachDennis Erickson said. 'I've played down there before in the desert. They gethopped up and ready to play. I believe it's their homecoming, so they'regoingto have a big crowd.
'This is a scary game. We've got to go down and play well, andobviouslywe've got a lot of things to play for. To get that ninth win is the mostimportant thing.'
Oregon State is 8-1 for the first time ever and hasn't won nine gamesin aseason since going 9-1-1 in 1939. The Beavers are ranked in the top 10 forthefirst time since Sept. 16, 1968.
The Beavers, whose 29-year string of losing seasons ended with a 6-5recordlast year, have won four in a row. Arizona has lost its last three by acombined 10 points.
'Arizona is a good football team. They have just been very unfortunatethelast few weeks,' Erickson said.
A victory for the Wildcats would make them bowl-eligible at 6-4 andimprovetheir Pac-10 record to 4-3.
While Arizona can't seem to win the close ones, Oregon State is at itsbestin the fourth quarter.
'We are doing some good things. We are getting good productivity. Wejusthave to finish it,' Arizona coach Dick Tomey said. 'We need not panic. Weneed to relax.'
Oregon State has scored at least 30 points in each of its last sevengames.Its lone loss was 33-30 at Washington. The Beavers have gained over 25 yardsin40 plays this year, including 10 in last week's 38-32 victory overCalifornia.
The Beavers' 1-2 punch of running backs Ken Simonton and Patrick McCallisthe best in the conference. Simonton is sixth nationally in rushing at 143yards per game. McCall gained 117 yards last week against Cal.
To complement the ground attack, quarterback Jonathan Smith makes bigplaysin the passing game.
'It is going to be hard to shut him (Simonton) down because of the factthey are a pass-oriented offense with a great running game,' Arizonalinebacker Lance Briggs said. 'He his a hard runner to bring down because hereally likes to cut back on you.'
The strength to Arizona's defense is stopping the run, althoughWashington'soption attacked man-handled the Wildcats in the fourth quarter of a 35-32losslast week.
Arizona ranks 10th nationally, allowing just 91.67 yards per game ontheground.
Even if the Wildcats slow Simonton, they still must score against aBeaversdefense that leads the Pac-10 in fewest yards allowed.
When forced to throw, Arizona has struggled, averaging just 159 yardsthrough the air.
Ortege Jenkins is completing 47 percent of his attempts and has thrown10interceptions.