Beavers Set to Begin Sun Bowl Preparations

Dec. 16, 2008

Bowl Central | Complete Game Notes | Ticket Office | Beaver Sports Radio Network

For the eighth time in 10 seasons Oregon State (8-4, 7-2 Pac-10) will play in a bowl game, traveling this year to the 75th Brut Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas to play the Pittsburgh Panthers of the Big East Conference. Kickoff is Dec. 31 at approximately 11 a.m. PST from Sun Bowl Stadium (50,426) with CBS Sports televising the game.

Heading into the 1999 season saying routine about Oregon State playing in a bowl game would have evoked numerous responses, and not one would have been positive. But, it has indeed become routine as Oregon State plays in its eighth bowl game in 10 years - tied for the second most appearances in that span in the Pac-10 with USC (Oregon has appeared in nine bowls during that timeframe).

Beaver head coach Mike Riley began his second tenure at Oregon State in February of 2003 and has since led OSU to a 4-0 mark in bowls, which includes a 39-38 thriller over Missouri in the 2006 Brut Sun Bowl. The streak also includes wins in the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl (55-14 vs. New Mexico), the 2004 Insight Bowl (38-21 vs. Notre Dame) and the 2007 Emerald Bowl (21-14 vs. Maryland). Riley is actually undefeated in bowl games - 4-0 at OSU and 3-0 as offensive coordinator at USC. Oregon State has the third longest active bowl win streak at four games, trailing only Boston College (8 games) and Utah (7).

CBS analyst Steve Beuerlein announced to the nation that Oregon State would attempt the game-tying extra point with 22.1 seconds left after rallying from a 14-point deficit in the last 6:02 against Missouri in the 73rd Brut Sun Bowl in 2006 - apparently Beaver head coach Mike Riley didn't hear him, nor did then junior running back Yvenson (Evan-son) Bernard. Instead of giving the high-octane Chase Daniel led Tigers the opportunity in overtime, Riley - with a little prodding from Bernard - went for two points. The Bernard urging prompted Riley to call his number on the 'ice blast' and the offensive line provided just enough room for the conversion in the improbable comeback. Beaver quarterback Matt Moore, now a Carolina Panther, threw for a Sun Bowl record four touchdowns on his way to earning the game's MVP honor. Moore (356 yds) and Missouri's Daniel (330) accounted for 686 yards passing. OSU ended its longest football season ever 10-4 overall and No. 21 in the final Associated Press Ranking.

Expect a large contingent of Beaver fans coming from Richmond, Texas (near Houston) to support high school legends and current Beaver duo James and Jacquizz Rodgers. James is a sophomore wide receiver/kick returner who unfortunately will miss the Sun Bowl due to suffering a broken collarbone late in the game vs. Oregon. 'Quizz' enters the contest after being named the Freshman of the Year by several publications and organizations, including the Pac-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year (first freshman ever). He suffered a sprained shoulder in game 11 of the season at Arizona and missed the season finale. Quizz has rushed for a Pac-10 freshman record 1,253 yards.

Overall, Oregon State is 5-8 vs. current Big East Conference members - 0-1 vs. Cincinnati, Pitt and Louisville; 2-0 vs. West Virginia and 3-5 vs. Syracuse. Cincinnati travels to Corvallis next season and Louisville makes the trek in 2010.

Oregon State enters the Sun Bowl No. 24 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Pitt is No. 18 AP/No. 21 USA Today/No. 20 BCS. The Beavers have been ranked four consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since the 2000 season (9 weeks) when the team finished No. 4.

Two of the best running backs in the nation will be on display at Sun Bowl Stadium in OSU true freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers and Pitt sophomore LeSean McCoy. Rodgers is 13th in the nation and second in the Pac-10 for rushing at 113.9 yards per game and McCoy is 10th in the nation and second in the Big East at 116.9 yards. Rodgers has rushed for 100-plus yards seven times, including a career-high 186 in the win over No. 1 USC. McCoy has rushed for 100-plus yards six times, including a season-high 183 yards against West Virginia.

Oregon State had its first ever 7-game Pac-10 Conference win streak during its 8-4 campaign. The Beavers also finished tied for second in the league, its highest finish in the Pac-10 other than a tie for first in 2000 (7-1). Over the last three seasons OSU is the second-winningest program in the Pac-10 with 27 victories, trailing only USC (34).

Oregon State played one of the more difficult schedules in the nation in 2008, including BCS bowl participants No. 5 (AP) USC, No. 6 Penn Stae and No. 7 Utah. In addition, the Beavers played bowl bound Hawai'i, Arizona, California and No. 15 Oregon. Arkansas and Michigan are the only other teams in the nation to play three BCS Bowl bound squads in 2008.


Never too early to look ahead - here is how the 2009 schedule looks as of December 2008 - Sept. 5 vs. Portland State; Sept. 12 at UNLV; Sept. 19 vs. Cincinnati; Sept. 26 vs. Arizona; Oct. 3 at Arizona State; Oct. 10 vs. Stanford; Oct. 17 at Washington State; Oct. 24 at USC; Oct. 31 vs. UCLA; Nov. 7 at California; Nov. 14 vs. Washington; Nov. 28 at Oregon. The Beavers currently have a bye Nov. 21.

Oregon State continues to overachieve, at least according to the media who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference. Every July the media make their predictions for the season and of late the Beavers have finished higher than expected. Here is a closer look:

Year      Predicted           Actual

2008 6th T2nd

2007 5th 3rd

2006 7th 3rd

Fifteen Beavers, tied for the most in the Pac-10 Conference, earned academic all-league recognition. First teamers include starting wide receiver/punt returner Sammie Stroughter and defensive tackle Pernnell Booth. Joining the duo are special teams standouts Casey Kjos and Cameron Collins. Second team honorees are Taylor Kavanaugh (WR), Andy Levitre (OT), Greg Laybourn (S) and Brandon Hardin (ST). Those earning honorable mention recognition include Kevin Frahm (DE), Austin Hall (S), Justin Kahut (PK), Alex Linnenkohl (C), Gabe Miller (TE), Gregg Peat (OG) and Adam Speer (OG).

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