Oregon State Gameday: Beavers Seek Road Win at UNLV

Sept. 8, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The only road non-conference game of the season has the Oregon State Beavers (1-0, 0-0) traveling to Las Vegas to play the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels (1-0). Kickoff is 8:04 p.m. from Sam Boyd Stadium (36,800). The game will be televised live by the CBS College Sports Network - located on DirecTV (613), the Dish Network (152), Cablevision (412), Comcast (412 and 725 in HD), Cox, Insight, Time Warner and Verizon FIOS. Saturday marks the 20th consecutive live televised Beaver game.

SERIES: This is the fifth meeting between the two schools on the football field, with UNLV holding a 3-1 advantage. Saturday concludes a two-game contract that started with Oregon State's 47-17 2002 victory over the Rebels in Corvallis. UNLV's three wins came in 1983 (35-21), 1990 (45-20) and 1991 (23-9 - only previous meeting in Las Vegas).

BEAVERS AT SAM BOYD: As noted earlier, the Beavers lost to UNLV in 1991, but the program does have an important victory at the venue. In 2003, Mike Riley won his first bowl game as a Beaver, defeating New Mexico 55-14 in the Las Vegas Bowl. Las Vegas native running back Steven Jackson tied a bowl record with five touchdowns in the game and announced immediately after that he was forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL Draft - the All-American back was a first round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams and has since been a Pro Bowl participant. The 2003 team had several Las Vegas natives, in addition to Jackson (Eldorado HS), defensive tackle Curtis Coker (Desert Pines), cornerback Gerard Lawson (Palo Verde), cornerback Kellen Marshall (Cimarron-Memorial), linebacker Jonathan Pollard (Las Vegas), linebacker Richard Seigler (Chaparral), safety Lawrence Turner (Cheyenne) and defensive end Jeff Van Orsow (Foothill).

OSU-UNLV CONNECTIONS: Not many to note. UNLV head coach Mike Sanford was the wide receivers (1999-2001) coach for Mike Riley during Riley's stint as the head coach of the Chargers. Sanford was also the receivers coach for USC while Riley served as the offensive coordinator (1993-96) - they shared offices. Beaver defensive coordinator Mark Banker was on the same staff with Sanford (Off. coord.) at Stanford in 2002. OSU running backs coach Reggie Davis held the same position at UNLV from 2005-07.

2-0 WOULD BE NICE: It's modest, but a win Saturday night would give OSU its first 2-0 start to the season since the Beavers defeated Portland State and Boise State to open 2005. OSU hasn't won its first three games since 2002 when it won four in a row.

POLLS: Oregon State moved up one spot to No. 24 in this week's USA Today/Coaches Poll. The Beavers are the top team receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll (113 votes), essentially No. 26 (No. 10 in 2001 preseason poll) ... This year's preseason poll marked the first time the Beavers have entered the season nationally ranked since being No. 12 (Coaches Poll) in August of 2001. The Beavers have finished in the AP poll each of the last three years - No. 21 in 2006, No. 25 in 2007 and No. 18 in 2008.

NOT A FREQUENT FLYER MILE TEAM: The Beavers will stay close to the dam this year as the team does not have a road game that is played outside of the Pacific Time Zone (Oct. 3 at Arizona State is a Pacific Time game). The last time that happened was 2003 - since the program has made trips to LSU, Boise State (twice), Louisville, Penn State, Utah, Hawai'i, Cincinnati, Arizona (in 2002) and two Sun Bowl appearances in El Paso.

HAPPY 100TH: Saturday's game marks OSU head coach Mike Riley's 100th game as a Beaver. He enters the contest with a record of 57-42. He is six victories short of matching Hall of Fame coach Tommy Prothro for second all-time for wins at OSU. Some notable accomplishments for Riley (see page 43 of media guide) include being named head coach Dec. 13, 1996; winning his first game as a head coach as OSU scores 27 fourth-quarter points to beat North Texas Sept. 6, 1997; beating Stanford 30-23 for his first Pac-10 win on Oct. 10, 1998; his first of five bowl wins with a 55-14 trouncing of New Mexico in the Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 24, 2003; defeats No. 1 USC 27-21 Sept. 25, 2008; and named Pac-10 Coach of the Year Dec. 8, 2008.

FOUR HEALTHY SHOULDERS: It seems that might be too much to ask, but it might finally happen Saturday for the Beavers' senior quarterbacks. The story is well-documented that senior quarterbacks Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao have been rarely healthy at the same time, so a quarterback controversy hasn't even materialized to a great extent. Canfield suffered an injury to his left shoulder in a Nov. 3, 2007 game at USC, subsequently wouldn't be cleared again to play after offseason surgery until Oct. 2, 2008 at Utah (played the following week against Washington State). Moevao hurt his right shoulder Nov. 1, 2008 against Arizona State, missed two of the next three games, before coming back for the final two contests - he had offseason surgery and missed all of last month's fall camp before getting cleared to play.

7 IN 2: Oregon State's defense has allowed just seven points (Portland State) in its last two games, dating back to last season. The Beaver defense was the only unit in the nation last season to hold it bowl opponent (Pittsburgh/Sun Bowl) scoreless.

100-PLUS USUALLY A W: When a Beaver rushes for 100-plus yards it usually equals a victory. OSU has won 14 of its last 15 games when a rusher gains 100 - the only loss in that period was Oct. 2, 2008 at Utah (Jacquizz Rodgers 101 yds). Quizz, his brother James Rodgers, Yvenson Bernard and Matthew Sieverson are the individuals who have accounted for the 100 yard outings.

WINNING SEASONS: If Oregon State can achieve a 7-5 regular season or better it would mark its fourth consecutive winning season - the longest streak since a five-year run from 1966-70.

THE FIRST SINCE 1997: Last Saturday in the season's opening game, true freshman offensive tackle Michael Philipp became the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a game at Oregon State since Keith DiDomenico did at right guard in 1997 vs. USC and Oregon.

TRUE FRESHMEN MAKE A MARK: Oregon State played eight true freshmen in the season opener against Portland State; the most in modern history - up until the late 1980s true freshmen played in junior varsity games. The eight freshmen to open this season were OT Michael Philipp, WR Markus Wheaton, OT Geoff Garner, Safety Jordan Poyer, LB Rueben Robinson, RB Jovan Stevenson, and linebackers 'Feti' and 'Uani' `Unga. It should be noted that Garner and Unga brothers came to OSU after two-year LDS Missions, and Stevenson enrolled at OSU during winter term of 2009 and was thus a greyshirt.

WALK-ONS: Wide receiver Mike Hass (2005 Biletnikoff Award winner) was one; placekicker Alexis Serna (2005 Groza Award recipient) was one; punter Johnny Hekker (2008 Sun Bowl Special Teams MVP) was one; quarterback Jonathan Smith (2001 Fiesta Bowl Off. MVP) was one. That is just a small sample of walkons at Oregon State that had or having great careers at Oregon State. This season opened with former walkons Mike Remmers (RT) and Damola Adeniji (WR) starting, and current walkon Grant Johnson (LG). Senior receiver/holder/punt returner Taylor Kavanaugh also was a walkon until recently and Adeniji learned he had earned a scholarship on Sept. 4, the eve of the season opener.

OH BROTHER (S): The Beavers have a FBS high five sets of brothers on the team. The LaGrones (Matt and Josh), Krebs' (Kameron and Kaulin), Rodgers' (Jacquizz and James), Watkins' (Anthony and Brian) and Ungas (Devin and Kevin). Virginia Tech has four sets of brothers.

BEAVERS' E-MAG: You can check out the unique Oregon State football e-mag at IAMORANGE.com. The interactive online publication features bios, stats, videos and more.

MILITARY DAY: Oregon State's annual Military Day will be Sept. 19 against Cincinnati. Military personnel will receive special discount ticket prices. Check osubeavers.com or call 1-800-GO-BEAVS for more information.

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