INSIDE SLANT: Stanford up next
JAMES RODGERS CLOSING IN RECORD
JAMES RODGERS CLOSING IN RECORD

Posted Oct 31, 2011


THE LAST THING the Oregon State defense needs to see is a power running team, and here comes Stanford. The unbeaten Cardinal is averaging 219.4 rushing yards, most of it by going right up the middle on opposing defenses.

Think that might work against the Beavers?

Utah, with little proven threat of being able to pass the football, still ran the football 44 times for 225 yards against Oregon State in Saturday's 27-8 thumping of the Beavers (2-6, 2-3 in the Pac-12).

That follows a trend which has seen the Oregon State defense three previous times this season be run over for more than 200 rushing yards, by Wisconsin (208), UCLA (211) and BYU (282).

The disturbing issue for the Beavers is that UCLA, BYU and Utah offered scant threat of a passing game, so OSU knew the inside run was what it had to defend.

And yet, the Utah linemen created plenty of running room, with John White running for 205 yards himself.

"Some of those holes were way too big," Oregon State outside linebacker Cameron Collins said.

The Beavers did miss leading tackler Feti Unga, out again because of a leg injury. Tony Wilson started in his place but didn't make as large an impact as needed, leading to Oregon State turning to using Rueben Robinson in the middle in the second half.

It also doesn't help that Oregon State's best run defender at tackle, Castro Masaniai, is lost for the season because of a broken leg.

With Stanford coming in, Oregon State better find a solution, and quickly.

NOTES:
--James Rodgers had seven receptions against Utah to raise his career total to 206. The only Oregon State players with more career catches are Mike Hass with 220 and James Newson with 213. Rodgers will finish No. 1 if he averages four receptions over the final four games.

--Freshman QB Sean Mannion has passed for at least 200 yards in seven consecutive games. In the last 10 seasons, the only other Oregon State quarterbacks to match that statistic are Sean Canfield (seven straight in 2009) and Derek Anderson (13 straight in 2003).

--Markus Wheaton made his first touchdown reception of the season, despite being the leading receiver for the Beavers. Wheaton would have had at least one more touchdown, and possibly another, but he dropped two passes when he was behind the Utah secondary.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Brandin Cooks got more playing time at Utah, and responded with his best game of the season. The receiver had five receptions for 43 yards and ran twice for 21 yards.

LOOKING GOOD: P Johnny Hekker not only set the Oregon State one-game record (minimum of five punts) by averaging 52.5 yards per punt against Utah, but had three punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Of his five total punts, four covered more than 40 yards, including a long of 64 yards.

NEEDS WORK: The Oregon State offensive line was simply overwhelmed by Utah's defensive front. The Beavers not only gave up five sacks, but offensive linemen were called for five false start penalties.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Right now, we can't worry about qualifying for a bowl game. We're playing Stanford and we have to worry about Stanford." -- Oregon State DT tackle Andrew Seumalo, on the Beavers (2-6) needing to win their final four games to be bowl eligible.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--Oregon State had its lowest rushing output against a Pac-12 opponent with 32 net yards on 26 attempts. That included QB Sean Mannion being sacked six times for losses of 59 yards, but RBs Malcolm Agnew and Terron Ward combined for only 48 yards on 14 carries.

--Because the Beavers had to keep the tight ends on the line to help the tackles against the Utah pass rush, that element of the receiving game was notably absent. TE Joe Halahuni had only one reception for the Beavers, after at least three in every other game this season.

--The Beavers were again on the negative side in turnovers, with three interceptions and a lost fumble at Utah, while the Utes had only one turnover, a lost fumble. Oregon State's only two victories came in games in which the Beavers had fewer turnovers than the opponent, while in the six losses Oregon State is minus-nine in turnover margin.

-- Unga, who had been Oregon State's leading tackler, missed his second consecutive game with a leg injury.



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