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Football: OSU v PSU2
James Rodgers races for the end zone to cap an 87-yard pass play on Oregon State's first offensive snap of the game. James and his brother Jacquizz Rodgers combined for 253 yards rushing and receiving and four touchdowns. (Scobel Wiggins, Gazette-Times)

Infuse the Rodgers brothers, and the Oregon State football team looks much different.

Both star offensive players made their returns from shoulder injuries and didn't show any signs of rust after missing the end of last season and being held out of preseason scrimmages.

They led the way as the Beavers defeated Portland State in the nonconference season opener 34-7 on Saturday before a crowd of 41,679 in Reser Stadium.

Piling up 433 yards of total offense on big plays and long drives was the kind of production you expect from the Beavers, not the 3-0 sleep-inducing Sun Bowl last December when both players were out with injuries.

"It's a world of difference, for sure," coach Mike Riley said. "Those guys are playmakers. Every time they have it they have a chance to go all they way. They are two great weapons for this team."

How the Beavers do this season depends on how the Rodgers brothers perform. It's that simple.

They need Jacquizz to pound out the tough yards and James to make the big plays.

The Rodgers brothers played less than three quarters because of the team's big lead, but they still accounted for 59 percent of the total offense.

Last season they contributed 48 percent of the total offense, and James missed the Sun Bowl while Jacquizz sat out two-plus games.

"The Rodgers brothers are probably worth more than what everybody says they are," Portland State coach Jerry Glanville said.

James Rodgers began the game with an 87-yard touchdown reception from Sean Canfield on OSU's first offensive play from scrimmage. He beat the cornerback off the line, streaked down the left side of the field, caught the ball in stride and raced into the end zone.

Canfield and James Rodgers saw the safety creeping up to help support a midrange throw. Both knew the deep pass would be open, and silently adjusted the route.

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James Rodgers finished the game with two receptions for 95 yards, and ran the ball for 23 yards on two carries. He also had one kickoff return for 49 yards, and he was one tackler from going all the way.

"I'm happy to be back," he said. "I've been out a long time. I just wanted to play football like I always do."

Tailback Jacquizz Rodgers returned to last year's form that helped him win the Pacific-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year award.

He carried the ball 16 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns. That was the first time he scored three TDs in a game and the eighth time he topped 100 yards.

The yards were hard to come by early, but his runs grew longer as the offensive line adjusted to Portland State's defense.

"It felt good; there were no problems with the shoulder," Jacquizz Rodgers said with no prodding. "My shoulder is good."

He knew his health would be the first question asked after the game. It came to the forefront again because he took a hard hit early and landed on his formerly injured shoulder.

"I thought about that when it happened," Riley said. "He has let it go. He's playing physically and hard. We have to let it go, too."

One of his TD runs was from 43 yards out, a career long. The most impressive was a 5-yarder when he carried several Vikings across the goal line.

The only thing missing from his resume are long TD runs. He called his latest one "medium length" and is still in search of the 80-yarders.

"It's awesome to have them back," Canfield said. "It seems like it has been a long time. And we did a tremendous job with them."

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers the Oregon State football team for the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at cliff.kirkpatrick@lee.net. Read more about the Beavers on his blog at cliffkirkpatrick.mvourtown.com.

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