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OSU's Tim Clark Gameday
Cornerback Tim Clark and the rest of the Oregon State secondary will be tested by the run-and-shoot offense of Portland State in today’s season opener. (Casey Campbell, Gazette-Times)

Game 1 of the season is important for the Oregon State football team to gauge where it's at in terms of development and execution.

Beating Portland State still remains the bottom line. To do that the Beavers have five areas of the game they must win.

1. Stop the pass

The Vikings run the run-and-shoot offense, which uses four and five wide receivers. It's a quick-hitting passing offense that will test the young secondary.

The Beavers are breaking in all new starters in the backfield. Cornerback Tim Clark has had some success in pressure situations but no one else.

James Dockery, Patrick Henderson and Brandon Hardin must match Clark in effectiveness. Safeties Suaesi Tuimaunei, Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins have to deal with the rest.

2. Rush the passer

To make things easier on the secondary, the defensive line must get to the quarterback, rush him, knock him down and mix in a few sacks.

There are two new starting defensive ends in Ben Terry and Kevin Frahm. They've been in the system and know what to do; it's just a matter getting it done against players with different jerseys.

Standout defensive tackle Stephen Paea is stronger, faster and more knowledgeable about the game. Coaches think he can make an impact on every play.

3. Run the ball

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Controlling the tempo is always OSU's plan, but even more so against a team that likes to pass and, in theory, score quickly. Keeping the defense off the field and rested is important.

If the Beavers do that it also means the rebuilt offensive line is opening the holes for Jacquizz Rodgers and others to dart through.

An interesting matchup will be the left side of the line. The Beavers are starting true freshman Michael Philipp at tackle and walk-on Grant Johnson at guard.

4. Protect the QB

New starters on the offensive line also lead to concerns protecting quarterback Sean Canfield. When he has been rattled in the past, turnovers have followed.

There are new starting wide receivers in Casey Kjos and Damola Adeniji with a host of younger backups expected to play. They'll need time to get open.

Co-starting quarterback Lyle Moevao won't be ready to play in this game after offseason shoulder surgery. Until he's ready, the next in line behind Canfield is redshirt freshman Ryan Katz.

5. Be efficient

This is a game the Beavers should win by talent alone, but if too many first-game mistakes mount, an upset could happen.

Coach Mike Riley's biggest goal - besides winning of course - is to play an efficient game. That means avoiding turnovers, procedure penalties and keeping the mental errors to a minimum.

The only way the Beavers lose this game is if they give it away.

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