Rose Bowl in Sight
Tucson, AZ - Five straight wins overall and six in a row in the Pac-10 have put Oregon State in the driver's seat for its first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1965.
Two more victories will punch its ticket to Pasadena.
The 21st-ranked Beavers will try to get the first one on Saturday in Tucson, where they close their road schedule against an Arizona team they've beaten in eight of the last nine meetings.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Arizona –2.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Oregon State +2.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Oregon State (7-3, 6-1) probably didn't figure it would be in this position after a season-opening 36-28 loss at Stanford on Aug. 28, but the Beavers beat then-No. 1 Southern California 27-21 in their next Pac-10 game on Sept. 25 and they haven't missed a beat in conference play since then.
With USC as the only other one-loss team in the league and Oregon State holding the tiebreaker, coach Mike Riley's team needs only to win at Arizona and at home against Oregon on Nov. 29 to end the program's 44-year Rose Bowl drought.
"The thing about having it in the back of our minds is that we get hungry for it. We want it so bad," quarterback Lyle Moevao said. "But we know what we are going to have to do and how we're going to get there."
Even Riley admitted he's already been thinking about his team's New Year's Day plans.
"I do, and it scares me," the coach said. "We all know when the season starts what the goal is, and that's the Rose Bowl."
Recently, his team has stayed the course because of a high-scoring offense sparked by a dynamic ground game. During their five-game winning streak, the Beavers have averaged 39.0 points and 211.4 rushing yards, led by diminutive freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
The 5-foot-6 speedster has rushed for at least 100 yards in seven of his last eight games. He leads the Pac-10 and ranks ninth in the Bowl Subdivision with 1,233 rushing yards, also adding 11 rushing touchdowns in his first year in Corvallis.
He logged 144 yards and a touchdown on the ground in Saturday's 34-21 win over California, while his brother James, a sophomore, had a pair of TDs, including an 86-yard kickoff return to answer Cal's first touchdown.
Oregon State's defense, meanwhile, totaled five sacks for the third time in the last five games and held the Golden Bears to 232 total yards, as the relaxed Beavers didn't look like a team playing under pressure.
"I think these guys are having fun playing these games," Riley said. "I don't want them to get uptight about it. I just want this team to go out and have fun on Saturdays."
The Beavers have typically enjoyed playing Arizona in recent years, beating the Wildcats every year since 1999 except for a 29-27 home loss on Oct. 29, 2005. They haven't lost in three visits to Tucson since 1997, outscoring the Wildcats 78-33.
This season, however, only one visitor - USC - has won at Arizona. The Wildcats (6-4, 4-3) are 4-1 at home, scoring more than 40 points in each of the four victories before a 17-10 loss to the sixth-ranked Trojans on Oct. 25.
Arizona racked up 527 yards and 30 first downs Saturday in a 55-45 loss at Oregon, as running back Keola Antolin had four rushing touchdowns and tight end Rob Gronkowski had 12 catches for 143 yards and a score.
But a 48-17 deficit early in the third quarter was too much for the Wildcats to overcome, though they did score 28 straight points in the second half to get back in the game.
"Against Oregon State, we need to come out like we did in the second half," Gronkowski said.
Arizona already seems on track for its first bowl appearance since 1998, but the Wildcats may want one more victory against either Oregon State or Arizona State on Dec. 6 to be sure. They went 6-6 in 2006, but didn't receive a bowl invitation.
Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
OREGON ST is 11-5 against the spread versus ARIZONA since 1992
OREGON ST is 8-7 straight up against ARIZONA since 1992
7 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
OREGON ST is 2-0 against the spread versus ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
OREGON ST is 2-0 straight up against ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at ARIZONA since 1992
OREGON ST is 4-2 against the spread versus ARIZONA since 1992
ARIZONA is 3-3 straight up against OREGON ST since 1992
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons.
OREGON ST is 1-0 against the spread versus ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
OREGON ST is 1-0 straight up against ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[RB] Patrick Fuller has transferred - None - 09/01/08
[WR] Kyle Brown is expected to miss the rest of the season. - Achilles - 1
[TE] Gabe Miller missed last game %27?%27 - Hamstring - 11/03/08
[OL] Brent McNeil is out indefinitely - Toe - 09/01/08
[OL] Jeremy Perry is out indefinitely. - Knee - 10/18/08
[C] Alex Linnenkohl injured last game, probable - Ankle - 11/03/08
[QB] Sean Canfield is expected to start - None - 11/06/08
(!) [QB] Lyle Moevao not expected to start, but may be available - Shoulde
[CB] Keenan Lewis injured last game, probable - Ankle - 11/03/08
[S] Bryan Payton has transferred - None - 09/01/08
No significant injuries.
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Posted: 11/18/08 9:26 AM ET