Beavers open Pac-10 play with Arizona Saturday at Reser

Sept. 21, 2009

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THIS WEEK: Saturday marks the Pac-10 Conference opener for both Oregon State (2-1) and Arizona (2-1). The game will be played at Reser Stadium in Corvallis with kickoff scheduled for approximately 4:30 p.m. PDT. Both teams are coming off their first loss of the season, the Beavers fell to No. 17 Cincinnati 28-18 while the Wildcats lost at Iowa 27-17. Saturday's game will be televised by the Versus Network, marking the 22nd consecutive live television appearance for the Beavers.

CONFERENCE OPENERS: Oregon State enters Saturday's game trying to snap a five-game Pac-10 Conference season opening losing streak - 2004 at Arizona State (14-27), 2005 vs. Arizona State (24-42), 2006 vs. California (13-41), 2007 at Arizona State (32-44) and 2008 at Stanford (28-36). The last Pac-10 opening win for OSU was 2003, a 45-17 victory over ASU. Arizona snapped a seven-game conference opening losing streak with a 48-14 win vs. Washington last season.

SERIES: The series dates back to 1966 with Arizona leading 20-11-1, but Oregon State has won three straight and nine of the last 10 meetings. Three of the last four games have been decided by seven points or less, including last season's 19-17 Beaver win in Tucson. Beaver placekicker Justin Kahut booted a 24-yard field goal on the last play of the Nov. 22 game to give OSU its eighth win of the season and keep it in a first-place tie with USC in the conference standings. The win was costly for the Beavers though as true freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers was lost for the season when he hurt his shoulder on a tackle by cornerback Devin Ross in the first quarter. The play to set up the winning field goal was a 47-yard pass from Sean Canfield to receiver and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Sammie Stroughter.

3-1 WOULD BE GOOD: After a disappointing loss last week to Cincinnati, Oregon State could still have its best record after four games since 2003 (started 5-1) with a win against Arizona. Since 2003, OSU has posted 2-2 marks every year, except 1-3 in '04.

NO. 2 vs. NO. 2: An interesting matchup, if statistics mean anything, as the second ranked Oregon State passing offense in the conference at 240 yards per game (UW 270.3) faces an Arizona pass defense that ranks second in the league allowing 157.3 yards (ASU 84.0).

HOME STATE TEAM VISITS: Oregon State true freshman running back Jovan Stevenson is a graduate of Sunnyside HS in Tucson. Other Beavers from Arizona include linebacker Keaton Kristick (Fountain Hills), offensive tackle Geoff Garner (Mesa), defensive tackle Mitchel Hunt (Chandler), linebacker Rueben Robinson (Chandler), offensive guard Rory Ross (Phoenix) and receiver Markus Wheaton (Chandler).

GOOD BACKS: The Pac-10 has five running backs averaging 100-plus yards rushing per game, two will be featured Saturday. Arizona's Nic Grigsby is second in the league with a 133.3 average, while OSU's Jacquizz Rodgers is third at 114. California's Jahvid Best leads the conference at 137.3, Stanford's Toby Gerhart is fourth at 105.3 and USC's Joe McKnight is fifth at 101.7.

6.3: Junior receiver James Rodgers and running back Jacquizz Rodgers are tied for second in the Pac-10 with a 6.3 receptions per game average. James is also third in the Pac-10 for receiving yards per game at 77.7 and for all-purpose yards at 159, while Quizz is fourth for all-purpose at 152.7.

WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE, WIN THE GAME: Over the last 65 games, Oregon State is 28-3 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 9-17 when committing more and 4-4 when even. Since 2001, the Beavers are tied for ninth in the nation for forced turnovers with 229 (Boise State). The OSU defense trails USC (271), Virginia Tech (253), Oklahoma (251), West Virginia (239), Boston College (238), Hawai'i and Southern Miss are tied with (234) and Washington State (231).

JUST ONE: Oregon State has just one turnover (INT) in its first three games, matching UTEP and California for teams that have played three games. Arizona State and Texas A&M do not have a turnover, but have played just two games.

GOOD IN THE CLUTCH: Oregon State has won 14 of its last 16 games decided by seven points or less.

COMMANDING FIRST QUARTER: Oregon State has outscored its opponents 215-68 in the first quarter over the last 43 games, including 180-44 in the last 19. The Beavers have not allowed a first quarter point in the last four games, dating back to last year. OSU has been prosperous in the odd quarters with a combined 51-7 advantage in the first and third quarters, while trailing by a combined 49-24 in the second and fourth.

1,000 x 2: Junior receiver James Rodgers is the second Beaver in school history to amass 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. James has 1,148 career yards rushing and 1,048 career yards receiving and has joined Pat Chaffey (1986, 88-89), who accumulated 1,421 yards rushing and 1,293 yards receiving. For more on James and the rest of the Beaver players see the individual player notes section (pages 6-7).

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