college football picks Louisville at Oregon State 9-18-10

September 18, 2010


GAME NOTES: The 25th-ranked Oregon State Beavers have won eight straight home openers and they will try to extend that streak this weekend against the Louisville Cardinals at Reser Stadium.

The Beavers enter the contest fresh off a bye week after opening the season with a tough 30-21 loss to then sixth-ranked TCU in Arlington, Texas.

“It would be crazy if we weren’t frustrated with the way that game went,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. “We came down here and fought hard, gave ourselves an opportunity to be in it in the fourth quarter and didn’t quite finish it. That’s about as tough as it gets.”

It was a hard fought game and the Beavers certainly earned respect with their effort, as they rejoined the Top 25 this past week despite being idle. OSU will look to shake off the rust this weekend before the team makes its way to Idaho to face third-ranked Boise State on September 25th.

Louisville meanwhile, notched its first win under new coach Charlie Strong with a 23-13 triumph of Eastern Kentucky this past weekend.

“It is important, and I said it today, we have to go out and win a football game, because our guys are football players,” stated Strong. “And if you watch the game, and watch the whole flow of it, I just thought we were in total control of the football game which was good for our program.”

It was certainly a nice confidence boost for the rebuilding Cardinals, who opened the season with a 23-16 loss to rival Kentucky.

The Cardinals and Beavers have met just one time previously, with then No.11 Louisville rolling to a 63-27 home victory in 2005. The 63 points allowed tied for the second most ever surrendered by an OSU team.

Louisville managed a respectable 388 yards of total offense against EKU, but failed to make the most of its opportunities. The offense was a bit sloppy at times, as the Cardinals went just 2-of-10 on third downs while committing 11 penalties for 100 yards. That kind of performance certainly won’t get the job done against a much more talented OSU squad this weekend.

QB Adam Froman connected on 15-of-23 tosses for 219 yards and a TD, while Doug Beaumont snared four balls for 83 yards and a score. Neither player was much of a factor in the opener versus Kentucky, so it was good to see the duo back on track.

The most productive part of the Cardinals’ offense thus far has been the ground attack, which churned out 169 yards last weekend after gaining 190 in the opener. Bilal Powell had an 80-yard TD run on his way to 153 yards versus Kentucky and he followed that effort up with 92 yards and two scores last weekend.

Following an inconsistent performance in the setback to Kentucky, Louisville’s defense turned in a stout showing last weekend. The unit not only limited EKU to just 230 yards, but it also recorded two takeaways and eight sacks. The Cardinals, who failed to create a turnover and had no sacks in the opener, also generated a safety, while limiting EKU to miserable 2-of-14 performance on third downs.

Defensive end Rodney Gnat put forth a career effort in the win, as he logged four sacks, to go with seven tackles and a forced and recovered fumble. It was obviously a game to remember for Gnat, who will look to build on that performance this weekend.

The Beavers hung tough with TCU and were in position for a potential game- winning drive until some miscommunication cost them a safety with 4:14 left. OSU trailed just 28-21 before QB Ryan Katz kicked the ball out the back of the end zone after a snap over his head, resulting in two points and possession for TCU, which eventually ran out the clock.

Katz, making his first start for OSU, threw for 159 yards and two TDs, but struggled with consistency, completing just 9-of-25 tosses. The sophomore QB had a tough task in his initial start and will need to improve with a daunting schedule ahead.

Helping ease Katz’ transition is the Rodgers brothers, who both enjoyed solid performances in the opener. James Rodgers, the older of the two brothers, hauled in four balls for 75 yards, while Jacquizz toted 18 times for 75 yards and a TD. Jacquizz, however, didn’t post a reception and that was rather odd considering he averaged six catches per game last season. One of the most dynamic players around, Jacquizz will look to Katz to get him the ball more this weekend.

Defensively, the Beavers were pushed around by TCU, which rolled up 278 yards and three TDs on the ground. TCU has one of the top ground games around, so it wasn’t a big surprise that OSU couldn’t stop it. OSU, though, didn’t allow a run longer then 16 yards and that certainly helped keep the team in the game. The Beavers also picked off a pair of passes, although the defense spent nearly 40 minutes on the field, far too long.

Lance Mitchell paced the defense with a career-high 18 tackles and an INT, while Suaesi Tuimaunei also enjoyed a big night with 14 stops.

Despite the inexperience at QB, the Beavers are a talented team with plenty of weapons, including the Rodgers brothers, who will make the difference in this one.

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