Home Opener Saturday vs. New Mexico

Sept. 13, 2004

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME:Oregon State opens its five-game home schedule this Saturday vs. the New Mexico Lobos at Reser Stadium. The Beavers are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start to the season since opening the 1996 slate 0-5.

SELLOUT STREAK: As press time, Oregon State had just nine tickets remaining for the home opener -- part of the return of New Mexico's allotment. Officials predict this will be the 24th consecutive sellout at Reser Stadium.

MILITARY DAY: Oregon State has teamed with the Oregon Army National Guard to honor troops in a number of ways throughout the day.

NON-CONFERENCE WIN STREAK: Oregon State has won 17 consecutive non-conference home games. The Beavers last loss at Reser Stadium to a non-Pac-10 opponent was Sept. 7, 1996 vs. Montana. Head coach Mike Riley is 8-0 at Reser Stadium vs. non-conference foes.

THE SERIES: Oregon State has won two of the three meetings, including a 55-14 victory Dec. 24, 2003 at the Las Vegas Bowl. The Beavers also have a 28-20 victory over the Lobos in 2000 in Albuquerque. New Mexico's lone victory was in 1979, 35-16, at home. OSU totaled 540 yards in last December's victory with former running back Steven Jackson rushing for 149 yards and a bowl record matching four touchdowns.

HEALTH STATUS: As of Sept. 13, Oregon State does not have any significant injuries to starters. Reserve safety/special teams player Dallas Buck is out due to an illness.

NEW MEXICO CONNECTIONS: Seventh-year head coach Rocky Long served as the defensive coordinator at Oregon State from 1991-95. Long's `95 defensive squad finished third in the Pac-10 for total defense. UNM defensive coordinator Osia Lewis is a 1986 graduate of Oregon State and later served as a graduate assistant coach (1987-88) and linebackers and special teams coach (1991-96). Lewis was named OSU's Most Improved Player in 1984, Most Inspirational in 1985 and was a `85 team captain. Lewis is fourth at OSU for single season tackles with 131 in `85.

OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM: Saturday's game features some interesting statistical trends. Here is a closer look at the national rankings (117 teams):

*OSU's Pass Offense (8th) vs. UNM's Pass Defense (113th)*UNM's Rush Defense (5th) vs. OSU's Rush Offense (T102nd)

TWO OF THE BEST: Two of the nation's best receivers will be on the field Saturday at Reser Stadium. Beaver junior wideout Mike Hass leads the nation with a 171.5 yards per game average while New Mexico junior Hank Baskett is seventh at 132.0.

POWERFUL PUNTER: Junior college transfer punter Sam Paulescu is second in the Pac-10 and 17th in the nation for average yards per punt at 44.1. Oregon State hasn't had a punter finish in the top three for yards per kick in the Pac-10 since Wendel Smith in 1975 was second at 41.4.

PITCHING A SHUT OUT: Oregon State has outscored its opponents 20-0 in the first quarter this season, but it has been outscored 20-3 in the second.

OPTIONS ABOUND: Beaver quarterback Derek Anderson has connected with nine different receivers through two games. Last year 13 receivers and tight ends caught at least one pass.

RECORD NIGHT: Oregon State junior wide receiver Mike Hass, a former walkon, set a Pac-10 record with 293 yards receiving on 12 receptions (ties OSU mark) at Boise State Sept. 10. Hass broke a record that stood for 28 years and was set by Cal's Wesley Walker in 1976 against San Jose State with 289 yards. In two games, Hass has 17 receptions for 343 yards, three touchdowns, and a 171.5 yards per game average (1st in NCAA).

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 expected to start this year; Nick Barnett, a 2nd 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 competing for a starting job.

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.

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 66 games -- Jonathan Smith (current asst. coach at Idaho) and Derek Anderson. During that 66-game span the program has participated in the Fiesta, O'ahu, Insight and Las Vegas Bowls.

ON THE TUBE: As of Aug. 11, OSU is scheduled to make three national television appearances. ESPN televised the Sept. 4 game at LSU and the Sept. 10 game at Boise State. FSN will broadcast the Nov. 20 Civil War. FSN NW will air the Sept. 25 contest at Arizona State. FSN NW will not be airing replays of all games this season, except for contests that are broadcast live on the cable network on Saturday. The regional carrier will air replays of the Oct. 16 game at Washington and Oct. 23 vs. Washington State, regardless of live television the prior Saturday.

TEAM CAPTAINS: Seniors Derek Anderson (QB), Jonathan Pollard (LB) and Bill Swancutt (DE) will serve as the team captains this season. The team also elects one game captain each week.

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. The Beavers wore their 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.

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