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October 6, 2003

Beavers Overpower Bears for Big Road Win




Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to October 26th, 1968…

Demosthenes Andros was a larger than life figure on the OSU sideline, the average three-bedroom house cost around $25,000, gasoline cost $0.34 per gallon, and yours truly was just learning to walk. Hard to imagine, but as the Beavers walked off the field that day in Pullman following a 16-8 victory over the 'Cougs, it would be the last time OSU started conference play at 2-0.

This is certainly not the same program that suffered through dark days (ok, let's be honest… dark decades) during most of the 70's, 80's, and 90's, but even during recent times, OSU has quite simply not been a very good road team. To see the team come out ready to play, execute on both sides of the ball, and win with a dominance that wasn't fully reflected on the scoreboard gives us all a cause for optimism as we approach road games at Washington State, Oregon, and USC later in the year.

It's still hard to say just how good this team can ultimately be, but for the fourth consecutive game the Beavers showed marked improvement from the previous week. Of course, the penalty issue is still rearing it's ugly head in maddening proportions (man, I'm getting tired of typing that each week), but otherwise, it's hard to believe this is the same team that looked so dreadful during the final three quarters of play down in Fresno.

Derek Anderson's renaissance continues, Steven Jackson is putting up numbers that the national media can no longer ignore, and the defense is rounding into a dominant group despite losing seven players that had starts during the 2002 season.

Now, the trick becomes further duplicating the feats of the 1968 team and starting conference play 3-0 when the Huskies come to town in two weeks. With the week off to heal some of the inevitable nicks players are feeling, and a little extra time to prepare for a UW team that looked horrible last week, I like our chances to keep pace with the Great Pumpkin's boys and their fast start.



-- Hog Wild: Derek Anderson had ample time to throw almost all day long and Steven Jackson put up another 200+ yard effort against the Bears - both of which point to an outstanding effort by the offensive line. Much of the game, the line simply bullied the opposition, a fact that Bear defenders made mention of in post-game interviews. A very strong outing by the entire unit!

-- The Road Warrior: Well, ok, I shouldn't get carried away… but, Derek Anderson cast aside the demons that have seemed to curse him on the road thus far in his collegiate career, and the favorite son of Scappoose had an excellent afternoon. Despite an interception that was returned 71 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter, DA shook it off, came back firing, and put together his best overall road performance by completing 18 of 27 (66.7%) for 224 yards, two passing TD's, and one rushing TD. After the five-interception debacle in Fresno the last time the Beavers played outside the friendly confines of Reser Stadium, DA's performance might well have been the most encouraging thing to come out of Saturday's game.

-- As the kids might say, these guys are "tight": Yeah, ok, so I'm way too old to try to keep up with what passes as hip lingo with the youth of America, but I do know good tight end play when I see it. Tim Euhus and Joe Newton were a huge part of the passing game, and were as solid as could be when the ball went their direction. Euhus's four grabs for 65 yards and a score were nicely complimented by Newton's five catches for 40 yards, as Derek and his TE's did a great job exploiting what the Cal defense gave them.


Tailback Steven Jackson


35 carries for 227 yards, 2 receptions for 12 yards, 3 total TD's
It's becoming more and more difficult for the national media to ignore the feats of the 20 year-old phenom from Las Vegas. I'm about out of superlatives to describe him, so I'll let the numbers speak for themselves: #2 in the nation in rushing yards per game (146.17), #1 in the nation in total rushing yards (877), #3 in all-purpose yards per game (180.00), #8 in scoring per game (10.0 pts/game), and a tie for #2 in touchdowns scored (10).


-- Making a good QB look very bad: Cal QB Aaron Rodgers entered the game having completed 61.5% of his passes, and sported an impressive 144.58 QB rating. The final stats for Rodgers showed 9 of 34 (26.5%) for a meager 52 yards and one interception (and another that was nullified by penalty). It's fair to say that Rodgers had a horrible day, but the pressure the front seven was able to get, coupled with the coverage of the secondary, had a lot to do with his miseries.

-- Winning the take away battle: Once again, the D had a nose for the ball, as Bill Swancutt forced a fumble that fellow book-end Dan Rothwell recovered, Mitch Meeuwsen recorded his 11th career interception, and Brandon Browner lost what should have been his 4th interception in two weeks due to an unfortunate (and not very smart) late hit by Jayson Jean-Baptiste.

-- Must be something about the first weekend in October: Adimchinobe Echemandu had the biggest day an opposing back has had against the Beavers since UCLA's Tyler Ebell ran for 203 yards on October 5, 2002. I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I'll certainly give Echemandu credit where it's due, as he had a very strong outing against a team that is normally very stingy against the run. Fortunately, he was about all Cal had going for them all day long, and I imagine he's wondering (as I am) why he only got 19 carries.


Strong Safety Lawrence Turner


5 solo tackles (2 for a loss), 1 assisted tackle, 2 pass break-ups
Turner made his return to the familiar sites of the Bay Area having played two seasons at City College of San Francisco, and had quite a homecoming. His pass coverage has improved in recent weeks, and his defense against the run was impressive, especially when he sniffed out the reverse Cal attempted early in the third quarter, and corralled the ball carrier for a five-yard loss.

Florida State NEWS


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