OSU football: Beavers are only team to face Oregon and Wisconsin this season

2011-12-31T23:45:00Z OSU football: Beavers are only team to face Oregon and Wisconsin this seasonBy CLIFF KIRKPATRICK, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

The Oregon State football team has the distinction of being the only common opponent this season of the Rose Bowl teams.

The Beavers played Wisconsin early in the season and faced Oregon in the final game of the regular season.

OSU played both games on the road. Wisconsin handed the Beavers a 35-0 setback and the Ducks won the Civil War 49-21.

The connection with the two schools goes deeper for the Beavers.

One of OSU coach Mike Riley's closest friends is Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who was recently named the head coach of Pittsburgh.

Riley has also become friends with Oregon coach Chip Kelly due to Nike's sponsorship of both programs.

When asked to pick a winner, Riley chose to play "the neutral card."

"I think it's a great matchup," Riley said. "It's an interesting one. I

couldn't pick a favorite. These two teams (create) one of the best matchups in the bowl season."

OSU faced Wisconsin the second game of the season and was the backdrop of the quarterback controversy, where redshirt freshman Sean Mannion took over for returning starter Ryan Katz after the first possession.

OSU's running game issues began there with only 23 yards as a team. Mannion threw 38 times for 244 yards.

Wisconsin ran for 208 yards, 118 coming from Montee Ball, and quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

Ball ended up with 1,759 rushing yards and 32 TDs this season, and Wilson threw for an average of 221.5 yards a game and 31 TDs. Wilson ran for 24.6 yards a game and five scores.

"He's a really good athlete," Riley said of Wilson. "It's Paul's greatest coaching job. He's a one-year quarterback and playing at that level. It looks like he's been in the program forever."

Wilson's combination of power running and precise passing made the offense go and lead the Badgers to the Big Ten Conference title. The Badgers are similar to the Beavers with a balanced pro-style approach.

They lead the Big Ten in scoring with 44.6 points a game, rushing offense with 237.4 yards a game and total offense at 466.9 yards a game.

"Wisconsin, they play really sound," Riley said. "I don't see them stopping Oregon, so it's a matter of who can score the most points."

The Badgers allow 138 rushing yards a game, fourth in the conference and 155 passing a game. The passing ranked first in the Big Ten, and the scoring defense was second with 17 points a game.

However, they don't see the speed of Oregon on a regular basis. The Ducks rushed for 365 yards and passed for 305 against the Beavers.

The Ducks ended up No. 5 in the country in rushing (295.7 ypg) and total (515.2 ypg) offense using their version of the spread offense.

One difference in the games with the Beavers was Wisconsin pulled back in the second half since Chryst didn't want to rub it in.

The Ducks, however, are the in-state rival and style points count at the end of the season to impress the poll voters.

What looking at the common opponent tells you is if either the Ducks or Badgers get on a roll it will be hard to stop them.

"They are productive with two different styles," Riley said. "They play good defense and will have to play their best to stop the other."

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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