Bowl Game On the Line Saturday in the Civil War
Nov. 15, 2004
THEME: One of the biggest games in the long rivalry will take place this Saturday at Reser Stadium. The winner of the 108th Civil War, presented by the Northwest Dodge Dealers, is bowl eligible. The loser of the game is ineligible for postseason play.
ONE OF THE OLDEST: The Civil War is the seventh most contested rivalry in NCAA Division I football. How it ranks (# of games include this season): Minnesota vs. Wisconsin (114) Missouri vs. Kansas (113) Nebraska vs. Kansas (111) Texas vs. Texas A&M (111) Miami (OH) vs. Cincinnati (109) North Carolina vs. Virginia (109) Auburn vs. Georgia (108) Oregon vs. Oregon State (108)
SELLOUT STREAK CONTINUES: Saturday's game will mark the 28th consecutive sellout for Oregon State at Reser Stadium (35,362).
WINNER TAKES ALL: Former Oregon State SID Hal Cowan researched the history of the Civil War and determined that in the 107-game history of the series the rivalry has never featured both teams with identical .500 records.
RECENT HISTORY FAVORS HOME TEAM: The last seven games in the series have been won by the home team (UO 4, OSU 3). Overall, UO leads 54-43-10. The last time the teams played in Corvallis, OSU scored a 45-24 victory -- the 45 points represent the most by OSU in the series. The victory propelled the Beavers to the Insight Bowl. Oregon won last year's encounter 34-20 at Autzen Stadium behind Kellen Clemens' three touchdown passes.
SENIOR DAY: Fifteen OSU seniors will be playing their final game at Reser Stadium on Saturday. These 15 seniors have combined for 222 starts and most have played in two bowl games (Insight, Las Vegas). A look at this year's class.
Derek Anderson, QB -- OSU's all-time passing leader Brent Bridges, OL -- Reserve lineman Matt Brock, C -- 36 straight starts Gabe Button, TE - Reserve Keller Christensen, LB -- Special Teams standout, 1 TD Kevin Davidson, LB -- backup, 27 career tackles George Gillett, WR -- 8 career starts, 27 receptions Pat Loney, TE -- 2 career starts, 14 receptions, 3 TDs Mitch Meeuwsen, FS -- OSU's all-time leader for INTs (19) Doug Nienhuis, OT -- 36 straight starts Jonathan Pollard, LB -- 116 tackles, 20 starts Adam Rothenfluh, QB -- 2 career TDs Bill Swancutt, DE -- OSU's career sack leader with 34 Aric Williams, CB -- 24 starts, 8 career INTs Dwight Wright, TB -- 1,481 rushing yards, 11 TDs.
NORTHWEST TITLE: Former Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel claimed Washington as the 'Northwest Champions' last year by virtue of victories over WSU, UO and OSU. Oregon State has an opportunity to make that claim this year if it can beat Oregon at home Nov. 20. The OSU program hasn't defeated all of its Northwest rivals in the same year since 1974.
TAKE A GOOD LOOK; IT WILL BE YOUR LAST: Demolition of the remaining east side of Reser Stadium, including the temporary bleachers, will begin Monday. The reconfigured stadium capacity will be approximately 43,000 and is scheduled to be completed in time for the Sept. 3, 2005 home opener.
RED ZONE CONVERSIONS: Oregon State has scored on its last 19 trips (11 TDs) inside the 20-yard line. The Beavers' opponents have converted just 9 of their last 18. For the season OSU is a conference best 82.4 percent when penetrating the 20-yard line. The Beavers also led the league last season at 86.4
TWO OF THE BEST UNITS ON DISPLAY: Two of the best defenses in the Pac-10 will take the field Saturday -- OSU is third for total yards allowed per game at 324.9 (29th in NCAA) and Oregon fourth at 327.3 (31st).
FIRST QUARTER FORCE: Oregon State has outscored its last five opponents in the first quarter 43-6 and for the season has a 77-34 advantage. The Beavers have averaged 100 yards in total offense in those five games in the first quarter, compared to 35 for their opponents.
THIRD DOWN DEFENSE: Oregon State is first in the Pac-10 for third-down conversion defense at 26.2 percent. Oregon is ninth at 40.8.
FAVORITE TARGETS: Beaver quarterbacks have looked for their tight ends often this season; in fact Oregon State leads the Pac-10 for receptions by the position with 63. Sophomore Joe Newton is second on the team with 44 (missed 1 game), reserves Dan Haines has 11 and Pat Loney has eight.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Oregon State quarterbacks have connected with eight different receivers for touchdowns this season -- Mke Hass (5), Joe Newton (4), Anthony Wheat-Brown (3), Marcel Love (3), Dwight Wright (2), Pat Loney (2), George Gillett (1) and Josh Hawkins (1). California and Arizona State lead the league with nine different receivers with scores.
ANOTHER GOOD NOVEMBER: Oregon State is 12-5 in the 11th month starting with the 1999 season and 9-1 at Reser Stadium during that time. Only USC has a better record during the month over that time span at 17-3.
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 73.2 yards per game on the ground -- 10th in the Pac-10 and 116th in the nation. However, the Beavers have faced four teams that rank among the top 11 in the country for rush defense -- Boise State (3rd), California (8th), New Mexico (10th) and LSU (11th).
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Oregon State enters the week with the most difficult schedule in the nation, according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. The Beavers have played USC (#1), California (#6), Boise State (#14), LSU (#17) and Arizona State (#20). The Pac-10 is well represented in the schedule rankings, Arizona State is second, Arizona is fourth, Washington is sixth, USC eighth and California 10th. Oregon ranks 24th.
HEALTH STATUS: As of Nov. 15, senior linebacker and co-team captain Jonathan Pollard is the only starter questionable this week. Pollard, who is third for the team for tackles for loss with eight, sprained his left ankle in the first half of the Oct. 30 game at Arizona and has missed the last two games. His status will be determined throughout the week. Backup cornerback sophomore Kellen Marshall is out for the season after knee surgery in October. Reserve Harvey Whiten, originally on the two-deep at strong safety, is out for the season after having surgery on his left hamstring in September.
RECORD PASSING PACE: Oregon State is on pace to pass for 3,278 yards this season, which would be the most ever for the program in an 11-game schedule. The current high is 3,152 in 1987. The school record is 4,265 yards in 2003 (13 games).
INTERESTING STAT: Head coach Mike Riley has been speaking about how the team needs more balance on offense in terms of the rush vs. the pass. Here is a closer examination of this year's statistics:
Wins Losses Rush Att. 202 124 Pass Att. 203 242 Difference 1 118
Rushing P/G 98.6 60.3 Poss. Time Avg. 34:44 27:49
FIRST STRIKE OFFENSE: Oregon State has scored on its first possession of the game in four of the last seven contests and in six of 10 overall. The Beavers failed to convert on its first drive at Arizona, but did on their second. Arizona, Stanford, USC and New Mexico are the only teams to not allow OSU to score on its opening drive.
TURNOVER REVERSAL: Oregon State ranked last in the Pac-10 and 103rd in the nation for turnover margin at minus-1.40 entering the Oct. 16 game at Washington. The Beavers have forced 18 turnovers over the last five games, while committing 11, and have moved up to a tie for fifth in the league at 0.00.
QUARTERBACK PRESSURE: Oregon State has 23 quarterback sacks for the season, 18 of those in the last six games. The school's career quarterback sacks record holder Bill Swancutt has 8.5 of the 18 and has a school record 34 for his career.
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: Junior linebacker Trent Bray is second in the Pac-10 for solo tackles with 61 (Spencer Havner, UCLA, 80). He ranks second for overall stops with 103, trailing Havner (119). Bray has accounted for double figures for tackles in six of the 10 games this season.
MEEUWSEN IN THE RECORD BOOK: Senior safety Mitch Meeuwsen is the new OSU career record holder for interceptions with 19. The Forest Grove High School graduate has had five picks over the last five games. Thirteen of his 19 have come in Pac-10 Conference games. Meeuwsen is currently tied for the active interceptions lead in the NCAA with Wisconsin's Jim Leonhard.
AIR DEFENSE: Senior cornerback Aric Williams is the Pac-10 leader for passes defended with 16 (12 brup, 4 int). Sophomore strong safety Sabby Piscitelli (8 brup, 4 int) and senior free safety Mitch Meeuwsen (7 brup, 5 int) are tied for fourth. Meeuwsen leads the league for interceptions with five. Meeuwsen is tied for second in the NCAA for total interceptions this season.
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.
PENALTY PROBLEMS: Oregon State continues to have issues with penalties and is 10th in the league averaging 77.8 yards per game. Maybe the most telling statistic is OSU's opponents have 34 first downs via penalty, compared to just 17 for the Beavers. While the 77.8 figure is high, it's down from 110.2 yards in 2003 and 100.2 in `02.
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, visited Reser Stadium Nov. 6.
THREE OUT OF FOUR....: Oregon State has played 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.
DIFFICULT SCHEDULE: Many have selected Oregon State's 2004 schedule as the toughest in the nation. The first ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll had USC No.1, LSU No. 3, California No. 15 and Oregon No. 25. OSU was in the 'also receiving votes' category with Boise State, WSU, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and New Mexico. Collegefootballnews.com, the Sporting News and Fox Sports among others lists OSU with the most difficult slate. The combined record of the Beavers' three non-conference opponents in 2003 was 34-7 (.829) -- the highest percentage in the nation in a study conducted by Chris Burkhalter of the University of Houston:1. .829 Oregon St. (34-7); 2. .789 Iowa St. (30-8); 3. .769 Cincinnati (30-9); 4. .755 Arkansas St. (40-13); 5. .730 Georgia Tech (27-10)
MORE SCHEDULE NOTES: Seven of Oregon State's 11 opponents in 2004 played in a bowl game in 2003 -- LSU, Boise State, New Mexico, California, Washington State, USC and Oregon. An eighth opponent, Washington, was eligible but was not invited.
NO QB CONTROVERSY HERE: Oregon State has had the luxury of having just two quarterbacks start over the last 74 games -- Jonathan Smith (current asst. coach at Idaho) and Derek Anderson. During that 73-game span the program has participated in the Fiesta, O'ahu, Insight and Las Vegas Bowls.
NEW THREADS: For the first time in five years Oregon State has new uniforms. The Nike designed uniforms were unveiled to the public Aug. 23. The Beavers wear white-on-white on the road and black-on-black at home. OSU wore its accustomed white jerseys at LSU forcing the Tigers out of their traditional home color and into their purple jerseys.
RAISING RESER: Oregon State is in the midst of refurbishing its home venue, Reser Stadium. Construction is currently ongoing to expand the stadium from its current capacity of 35,362 to approximately 43,000. The $93 million project is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2005 season. Temporary bleachers have been built for the 2004 home schedule.