The Season's Second Half Begins Saturday in Seattle
Oct. 11, 2004
Corvallis, Ore. -
THEME: Both teams enter the game looking for conference victory number one and moving out of the basement of the Pac-10 standings (Arizona is also 0-2). Washington snapped a four-game losing streak with its 21-6 victory over San Jose State last week, while Oregon State looks the end a two-game skid. The Beavers had a bye last week. Oregon State, which has played four teams currently ranked in the top 25, have not won at Husky Stadium since its stunning 21-20 upset in 1985.
TOUGH AT HOME: Washington and Oregon State enter the week with 16-5 home conference records since the start of 1999 -- the best in the Pac-10. During that span the Beavers have lost at Reser Stadium to the Huskies twice, UCLA twice and California. Washington's losses have been to UCLA twice, Arizona State, California and USC.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Oregon State enters the week as the only program to have played four teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 -- California (#8), Arizona State (#15), LSU (#20), Boise State (#21). The combined record of OSU's first five opponents is 19-7. Of the Beavers' remaining six games, only USC (# 1) is nationally ranked. Oregon State's schedule is ranked first in terms of difficulty by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today.
THE SERIES: Washington owns a 57-27-4 advantage in the series that dates back to 1897. The Huskies pulled away from a 14-10 halftime lead to win 38-17 at Reser Stadium last season. UW receiver Charles Frederick caught nine passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and had a third score on an 86-yard punt return in the first quarter. Beaver quarterback Derek Anderson passed for 344 yards and one touchdown and former receiver James Newson has eight receptions for 128 yards. The Beavers make a return trip to Seattle next season, marking the first time in the series since the 1939 and `40 games that Oregon State has played at UW in back-to-back seasons. Next season will also mark the first time OSU has played at UW and Oregon in the same year since 1987. This is the 50th game overall in the series that has been played in Seattle.
HEALTH STATUS: As of Oct. 11, sophomore tight end Joe Newton is the only starter questionable for Saturday's game at UW. Newton suffered a left shoulder sprain against California Oct. 2. Reserve Harvey Whiten, originally on the two-deep at strong safety, is out for the season after having surgery on his left hamstring.
LINEBACKERS SHOWCASED: Three of the conference's top four linebackers, in terms of total tackles, will be on the Husky Stadium field Saturday. Junior inside backer Joe Lobendahn is second in the Pac-10 with 56 tackles, Beaver junior inside backer Trent Bray is third with 54, and Husky outside backer Evan Benjamin is fourth with 50.
TURNOVER TROUBLE: Oregon State enters Saturday's game 10th in the Pac-10 and 103rd nationally for turnover margin at minus-1.40. The Beavers have a total of 16 turnovers overall, while forcing nine.
OSU-UW CONNECTIONS: Oregon State administrative assistant Taylor Barton was a two-year letterman quarterback for the Huskies in 2001 and `02. Beaver cornerbacks coach Nigel Burton was a three-year letterman roverback from 1996-98 and is ultimately responsible for keeping OSU from a winning season in 1998 when he deflected a Jonathan Smith two-point conversion pass on the final play of a 35-34 Husky victory in Seattle (Oct. 24). Beaver linebackers coach Charlie Camp, Husky offensive line coach Charlie Dickey and tight ends/special teams coach Scott Pelluer were on the coaching staff at Arizona in 2002. Camp was Idaho's defensive ends and outside linebackers coach under former Idaho head coach and current UW linebackers coach Chris Tormey.
PASSING LEADERS: Oregon State is first in the Pac-10 and eighth nationally for passing yards per game at 302.2. Quarterback Derek Anderson is on pace to accumulate 3,161 yards this season, the third-highest in OSU history (Anderson, 4,058 in `03 & 3,313 in `02).
TRUE FRESHMEN EARNING TIME: Six true-freshmen have participated in games this season. Sammie Stroughter has earned the job as punt and kick returner, Lamar Herron has been a factor as a reserve defensive back and special teams member, and Charles Burnley, Daniel Drayton, Alan Darlin, and Matt Sieverson have participated mainly on special teams.
RARE RUSHING WOES: Oregon State has been among the conference and national leaders for rushing offense over the past few seasons, but 2004 has been a different story. The Beavers are averaging 67.6 yards per game on the ground -- 10th in the Pac-10 and 116th nationally (117 teams).
THIRD AND LONG: Oregon State leads Pac-10 for third down conversion defense, allowing just 25.4 percent (18-71). Washington is ninth for converted third downs at 36.0 percent. OSU's opponents have converted just 2 of 32 (6.3%) third downs when facing 3rd & 9-plus yards.
PENALTY PROBLEMS: Oregon State continues to have issues with penalties and is ninth in the league averaging 81.0 yards per game. Maybe the most telling statistic is OSU's opponents have 18 first downs via penalty, compared to just eight for the Beavers. While the 81.0 figure is high, it's down from 110.2 yards in 2003 and 100.2 in `02.
RECORD YEAR: Beaver junior receiver Mike Hass has already had a record setting season. He caught a school record 14 passes at Arizona State Sept. 25. Hass set the conference record with 293 receiving yards at Boise State Sept. 10. He is currently first in the Pac-10 and sixth nationally for receptions per game (7.6) and first in the conference and fourth in the nation for yards per game at 120.2.
SUDDEN CHANGE: Senior defensive back Aric Williams and sophomore safety Sabby Piscitelli share the Pac-10 lead and are tied for fifth in the nation for interceptions with three. Piscitelli made one interception in each of the first three games while Williams had two against California and one vs. New Mexico.
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: Junior linebacker Trent Bray is second in the Pac-10 for solo tackles with 37 (Spencer Havner, UCLA, 41). He ranks third for overall stops with 54, trailing Havner (71) and Joe Lobendahn of Washington (56).
BALANCING ACT: Oregon State head coach Mike Riley hopes to see more balance in the offense in the coming weeks. The Beavers have 241 pass attempts through five games (48 per game avg.) to 137 rush attempts (27). The 104-play difference is by far the highest in the conference. By comparison, OSU's opponents have 168 pass attempts and 183 rushing attempts. OSU has scored 10 of its 13 touchdowns via the air.
LINEBACKER U -- WEST COAST: Penn State has long been considered one of the best programs for outstanding linebackers and future NFL stars. Oregon State can argue it's the version of 'Linebacker U' on the West Coast. James Allen, a 3rd Round selection of the New Orleans Saints after the 2002 season is a starter; Nick Barnett, a 1st Round selection of the Green Bay Packers after the `03 season was the club's Defensive Rookie of the Year last year; and Richard Seigler was a 4th Round pick of the San Francisco 49ers following last season and is in the rotation.
THE ONE AND ONLY: Oregon State is the only program in the nation to play the two defending 2003 national champions. The Beavers traveled to defending Bowl Championship Series title winners LSU Sept. 4. USC, the `03 Associated Press champion, visits Reser Stadium Sat., Nov. 6.
THREE OUT OF FOUR....: Oregon State plays three of the four programs that lost just one game last season -- LSU, USC and Boise State. Miami (Ohio) also had one setback in 2003.