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July 20, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #21 Oregon State


2009 Record – 8-5, 6-3 PAC-10
Bowl Game – Las Vegas Bowl, lost to BYU 20-44
Letterman Returning: 58
Stadium – Reser Stadium (45,674)
College Location – Corvallis, OR
Coach – Mike Riley 64-47 (10th year)


Key Returnees – RB Jacquizz Rodgers (below), WR James Rodgers (below, #8), T Michael Philipp TE Joe Halahuni

Key Losses – QB Sean Canfield, WR Damola Adeniji, G Greg Peat, QB Peter Lalich

-The sing-along songs and overly nice guy attitude of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood may be long off the airwaves of the TV, but in Oregon, a new Rodgers family has been giving opposing fans and teams, just as big of headaches for the past three years. James and Jacquizz, or “quizz” for short, are the senior and junior offensive stars for the Beavers. The two both top the charts at 5’7’’ and tip the scales to just fewer than 190 pounds. James, the senior wideout, is coming off a junior campaign in which he finished with 91 catches for 1,034 yards and nine scores. In his career in Corvallis, James has amassed 161 receptions, 1,849 receiving yards and 24 total touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,297 yards. In just two seasons as the starter, Quizz has piled up 2,693 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns, while also catching 107 passes for 769 yards. Last season he brought in just less than 2,000 all-purpose yards, with 22 total touchdowns. The Rodgers brothers have been as reliable as fireworks on the fourth of July and put on just as good a show. Apart from the brother’s duo, OSU has questions to answer on offense. Reliable starting quarterback Sean Canfield departs, as does Virginia transfer, Peter Lalich, who was kicked off the team in the offseason. It leaves the Beavers with one dependable replacement in sophomore Ryan Katz. Katz attempted just 27 passes last season, but beyond him, depth gets pretty thin. Four out of five of the offensive line starters return however, giving OSU a solid base up front. If the James can bring in the long ball and Quizz can have another Heisman campaigning season, the offense may be one of the best in the PAC-10.


Key Returnees – DT Stephen Paea (below), S Lance Mitchell, LB Dwight Roberson

Key Losses – LB Keaton Kristick, LB David Pa’aluhi

- For the Beavers defense, it all starts along the defensive line. Tackle Stephen Paea may not wow the opposition with statistics, but he does a superb job of containing offensive lineman and disrupting plays in the backfield. Paea finished 2009 with 43 tackles and eight and a half tackles for loss. Senior end, Gabe Miller, made the switch from the offensive side of the ball in 2008, starting the last five games for the Beavers last season, bringing in 23 tackles and three sacks. Miller should have a breakout season, after one more offseason getting familiar on defense. Senior defensive tackle Brennan Olander also returns as a starter along the front. The Beavers lose its No.1 and No.2 leading tacklers from a year ago in linebackers Keaton Kristick and David Pa’aluhi, but have solid replacements in senior outside ‘backer Keith Pankey and either sophomore Rueben Robinson or sophomore Tony Wilson in the middle. All have solid range and speed for the position. Junior safety, Lance Mitchell returns as the team’s leading tackler with 72 stops a year ago and leader in interceptions, with three. Junior Cameron Collins, a big 6’2’’ 230 pound safety, and senior corner James Dockery, who brought in 10-pass deflections last season, also return in the secondary.


On paper everything looks bright for OSU. A solid defensive group returns, the Rodgers brothers return, and a steady group of coaches and coordinators return as well. Everything looks great until the road record and record versus ranked opponents gets read. The last three years the Beavers have played like a giant group of agoraphobia patients, with a 10-8 record traveling away from Corvallis. Just as bad, the Beavers have been unable to overcome ranked opponents the last two years, going 2-7 against ranked teams. This season the month of September is kicked off with two away matches against the two best non-BCS conference schools in at TCU Sept.4 and at Boise State, Sept. 25. Nine straight conference games then lie in store for the Beavers. On October 9 and 16, OSU travels to PAC-10 sleepers Arizona and Washington. A home meeting from Cal on the Oct. 30, rounds out the month. The last three games of the year give the Beavers a daunting gauntlet in games against USC Nov. 13, at Stanford Nov. 27, and Oregon at home Dec. 4. The annual “Civil War” game against the Ducks could decide the PAC-10 champion once again this season.

Schedule rating: A

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Sean Mannion (below), *#23 QB, 6-5 205, Pleasanton, CA

A excellent pocket passer with great field vision, committed to the Beavers very early.

2.) Thomas Molesi, #40 DT, 6-2 280, Oceanside, CA

A space eating defensive tackle who plays with a high energy and non-stop motor.

3.) Shaydon Akuna, #44 S, 6-3 209, Kapolei, HI

A speedy safety in high school, Akuna has the frame to play linebacker for the Beavers.

4.) Roman Sapolu, #32 G, 6-2 255, Huntington Beach, CA

The son of an ex-NFL lineman, Sapolu will most likely sit a year to add some size.

5.) Trevor Romaine, #4 K, 6-0 185, Corona, CA

Who says kickers can’t be important parts to recruiting classes? Romaine has a big leg and is very accurate for his age.

*Rankings according to

Rodgers: Curtis Barnard/The Daily Barometer
Paea: Ric Tapia/Icon SMI
Mannion: Dan Neied

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All writing and views subject to © Drew P. Kochanny, All Rights Reserved. Photo's credited to rights owner.