Beavers Ready to Kickoff Season with Portland State

Aug. 31, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The 113th season of Oregon State University football opens Sat., Sept. 5 at Reser Stadium against the Portland State Vikings. The game will be televised live by FSN Northwest beginning with its pregame show live from the stadium at 11 a.m. Kickoff is approximately 11:35 a.m. The game marks the 19th consecutive live televised appearance (school record) that dates back to Nov. 3, 2007 at USC. The contest is being sponsored by USA Pears.

BRUNCH AT RESER: The 11:35 a.m. kickoff is believed to be the earliest in the history of Oregon State football at Reser, formerly Parker, Stadium. The stadium opened in 1953.

SERIES: This is the third meeting between the two in-state schools, with the Beavers winning both previous encounters - 51-14 in 1983 in Portland and 41-14 in 2005 at Reser Stadium. The 2005 game was significant as OSU christened the new east side of the stadium.

OSU-PSU CONNECTIONS: There are many connections between the two programs, but probably the most noteworthy is the Kavanaugh family. Taylor, a senior, is a punt returner/holder/reserve receiver for the Beavers. Connor, a sophomore, is a backup quarterback for the Vikings. In an odd quirk, the brothers are also each team's first string holders. PSU sophomore defensive end Carl Sommer is a former Beaver as is junior kicker Jake Webber and sophomore quarterback Justin Engstrom. Vikings starting QB Drew Hubel is a Corvallis HS grad. Beaver special teams coach Bruce Read is a 1986 graduate of Portland State and OSU football equipment coordinator Arnold Alcantar was on the staff at PSU and is a 1995 graduate.

NON-CONFERENCE HOME GAMES: Oregon State enters the 2009 season riding a streak of 25 consecutive non-conference home game victories that started Nov. 16, 1996 with a 67-28 victory over Northern Illinois. Head coach Mike Riley is 16-0 in non-conference home games.

GAINING SOME NATIONAL RESPECT: Oregon State enters the year at No. 25 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll, marking the first time the Beavers have entered the season nationally ranked since being No. 12 (Coaches Poll) in August of 2001. The Beavers are the top team receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll (122 votes), essentially No. 26 (No. 10 in 2001 preseason poll). 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.

BOWL STREAK: If Oregon State qualifies for a bowl game in 2009 it will be its fourth consecutive year - a school record. The program under then head coach Dennis Erickson went to the 2002 Insight Bowl, followed by current head coach Mike Riley's 2003 Las Vegas and 2004 Insight Bowl years. Riley has led the last three teams to two Sun Bowls and an Emerald Bowl. The Beavers have won five straight bowl games, the second-longest streak in the nation - Utah has won eight in a row. And, oh by the way, Riley is undefeated in bowl games as a head coach (5-0) and as the offensive coordinator at USC (3-0) - Howard Schnellenberger (Florida Atlantic/Miami) is the only active head coach to win more bowl games (6) without losing.

THE FIRST SINCE 1997: True freshman offensive tackle Michael Philipp could be 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.

FIRST QUARTER BLITZ: Oregon State has outscored its opponents 195-68 in the first quarter over the last three seasons, including 160-44 in the last 16 games.

WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE, WIN THE GAME: Over the last 62 games, Oregon State is 26-3 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 9-17 when committing more and 4-3 when even.

28 OUT OF 40: The Beavers are the second-winningest team in the Pac-10 over the last three seasons with 28 victories in 40 games. USC is the only other Pac-10 member with more victories during that span with 36.

ACADEMICS: It's a small but successful class of seniors on and off the field for the Beavers this year. Players such as Sean Canfield, Tim Clark, Patrick Henderson, Taylor Kavanaugh, Keaton Kristick, Lyle Moevao, Gregg Peat and John Reese could at least, if not played, suited up for four bowl games. Academically, Kavanaugh has graduated in construction engineering management. The following players will graduate in December - Sean Canfield (philosophy), Patrick Henderson (sociology), Lyle Moevao (sociology), Sioeli Nau (liberal studies) and John Reese (speech communication). Graduating in March 2010 are Tim Clark (human development/family studies), Howard Croom (sociology), Latu Moala (liberal studies) and Gregg Peat (double major in accounting and finance). March graduates include Damola Adeniji (liberal studies) and Keaton Kristick (business), and in July Ben Terry (sociology). OSU tied with Washington State for the most Pac-10 All-Academic selections last season with 15.

RILEY MOVING UP: Beaver head coach Mike Riley enters the season as the third-winningest coach in school history with 56 victories. Riley could move into second which is currently held by Hall of Fame coach Tommy Prothro (63). Lon Stiner, who coached at OSU from 1933-48 in Corvallis, won 74 games.

FOUR IN A ROW?: Can the Beavers finish higher than Pac-10 media predicted for the fourth consecutive year? This year's media, that regularly cover the conference, predicted OSU for fourth place. Here is a closer look at the last three years:
2006 - prediction 7th - actual finish 3rd
2007 - prediction 5th - actual finish 3rd
2008 - prediction 6th - actual finish T2nd

RUNNING BACK U?: Former Oregon State running backs Ken Simonton, Yvenson Bernard (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) all rank in the top 11 of the Pac-10 Conference for career rushing. USC is the only other school in the league with more - Charles White, Marcus Allen, Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell. If sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers averages his 2008 total (1,253 yards) for the next three seasons he would finish his career third on that chart with 5,012 yards, trailing only White (6,245) and Simonton (5,044).

BEAVERS UP FOR NATIONAL AWARDS: Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers enters the year on the 'watch' lists for the Walter Camp and Doak Walker awards; linebacker Keaton Kristick is on the Lott Trophy and Bednarik Award lists, and defensive end Stephen Paea is on the Nagurski list.

TEAM CAPTAINS: By a vote of the team, this year's team captains are seniors Keaton Kristick, Sean Canfield, Lyle Moevao, Gregg Peat and junior Stephen Paea.

SEARCH FOR CONTINUITY AT RECEIVER: According to Mike Riley, the biggest disappointment in fall camp has been the disruption of the receiving corps. All three expected starters - Darrell Catchings (hand), Casey Kjos (back/illness) and James Rodgers (knee) - missed time at various points in camp. In addition, backups Damola Adeniji (groin), Geno Munoz (illness/abdominal strain), Markus Wheaton (hamstring/NCAA Clearinghouse issues) have missed time. Catchings suffered the most serious injury and was initially expected to miss the season. Upon further examination it has been deemed that he'll return, but with Catchings out indefinitely the depth chart has been thrown in to further chaos.

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 in the Orange & Black. This season opens with former walkon Mike Remmers (RT) starting, and current walkons Grant Johnson (LG) and Damola Adeniji (WR) slated to start at press time. Senior receiver/holder/punt returner Taylor Kavanaugh also was a walkon until recently.

NFL BEAVERS: Seven Beavers off the 2008 team were drafted by NFL clubs, tied with Ohio State for the second-most draftees off of one team (USC had eight). Offensive tackle Andy Levitre was selected in the second round by Buffalo, cornerback Keenan Lewis was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh, defensive end Victor Butler went in the fourth round to Dallas as did fellow defensive end Slade Norris in the fourth round to Oakland, cornerback Brandon Hughes was a fifth-round selection of San Diego, safety Al Afalava was a sixth round tab of Chicago and Sammie Stroughter was a seventh round pick of Tampa Bay. A total of 23 Beavers are currently active on NFL rosters.

BEAVERS' E-MAG: You can check out the unique Oregon State football e-mag at 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 or call 1-800-GO-BEAVS for more information.

ODDS & ENDS:• OSU is 22-5 (82%) in games played in October, November and December over the last three seasons.
• Eight bowl games in last 10 years -- tied with USC for second-most in the Pac-10 during that timeframe.
• OSU is 6-4 over the last 10 games against top-25 teams.
• Oregon State has a .667 (8-4) bowl winning percentage - third among teams that have played in at least 10 games - Utah (.786/11-3) and Toledo (.700/7-3).

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