Beavers hope to give Civil War best shot against long odds

2010-11-29T21:15:00Z 2010-12-02T15:28:20Z Beavers hope to give Civil War best shot against long oddsBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

Looking at the stats, matchups, rankings and season results, the 114th annual Civil War appears to be a foregone conclusion.

The Oregon State football team is overmatched in every way, shape and form. Top-ranked Oregon has rolled over the competition and needs to finish one more game on its way to the national championship game.

Can the Beavers somehow ruin Oregon's dream season?

"We're going to tee it up and do everything we can to prepare for this game," coach Mike Riley said. "We've got a shot and we're going to take it."

The Beavers (5-6, 4-4) and Ducks (11-0, 8-0) clash at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday in sold out Reser Stadium.

OSU hasn't been consistent all season. One game, like the blowout loss at Stanford last Saturday, the team looks horrible. But in other games, the Beavers play like champions.

People say in these heated rivalry games to throw out the records because anything can happen. OSU hopes that is the case Saturday.

"Despite every thing, it's going to be a Civil War game," Riley said. "It's going to be exciting. It's going to be a chance to do something really good when our season has been so up and down."

If the Beavers want a chance for a close game, let alone a win, they need to show up and play their best game.

All the minor things that add up must be eliminated, such as penalties, turnovers and missed assignments. All those issues have plagued the Beavers on a rotational basis.

"There's no need to analyze it now," Riley said of why the season has been such a challenge. "There's no hiding the fact that's the truth. We've had some really hard times and we've had some good moments.

"All we can do is to help our team get ready. It's rough to see people that you've been with a lot and care about not do as well as you want them to do. We've got a game and the best way to approach it is with some enthusiasm and optimistically. I don't think it does anybody any good to be moping around."

Riley says the Beavers don't need magic to beat the Ducks, he's just looking for a great effort from the players. Players giving their full effort has been another inconsistency from week to week.

That's not good when facing the Ducks, who have have been consistently good on offense, defense and special teams. Even in their not-so-great games they worked though the sluggishness to finish strong.

"Oregon is a very good team offensively and defensively," defensive tackle Stephen Paea said. "We have to show up and play like we did against (Southern California). I think it's going to be there. It's up to us. We just have to keep our heads up and get ready for Oregon."

Oregon's offense is the best in the country, and it scores quickly. Momentum is typically on Oregon's side as the defense has plenty of opportunities to make plays and be aggressive since the offense can always bail it out.

And the special teams have been game breaking with long returns and tight coverage.

"Every phase will pose a challenge," Riley said. "They are as good as advertised."

Where do the Beavers start to prepare?

"The focus will be in what we elect to do and play disciplined, tough football," Riley said. "It's a major job against this team. You have to play the game sound and tackle. You have to be disciplined on assignments."

Sounds like Football 101, but the Beavers have yet to master it.

Development and improvement have been their strength in the past, but that hasn't happened enough this year.

"It's hard to measure," Riley said of the team's development. "If you asked a week ago I would say there was, but not today. From the beginning it was a mixed bag. We've been through a lot with nice wins and hard times. We've handled the big disappointments well, and come back. We'll need to do that again."

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