NCAA Football Picks: Oregon Ducks @ Oregon State Beavers Keys to the Game

Last Updated: December 3rd, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)

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The Oregon Ducks are just one game away from the BCS Championship, but standing in their way are their hated arch rivals, the Oregon State Beavers. This game is known as the Civil War for a reason, as you won’t find two teams that despise each other as much as these two do. Check out the keys to winning this game for both sides and the things that you must remember before making your NCAA football picks on this game.

Key #1: Stopping LaMichael James
Good luck, Oregon State. The Beavers rank No. 82 in the nation against the rush at 165.43 yards per game, and they have been absolutely wrecked by some of the best running teams on their schedule. Fortunately, we have a lot of great games to compare this one to, but unfortunately for the Beavs, none of them have turned out all that well. The TCU Horned Frogs rolled off 278 yards on the ground, the Boise State Broncos racked up 178, while the Stanford Cardinal had 167. Though these three teams are all phenomenal squads, none of them have LaMichael James on their roster. Simply put, this is the best and most dynamic running back in college today, and he proves it week in and week out. James already has 1,568 rushing yards and a total of 20 TDs in just ten games this year, and he is pacing a rushing attack that is averaging 306.6 yards per game on the season. If Oregon State can’t at least slow this unit down on the ground and keep James relatively in check (and by that, we mean in the near 100ish yard range), there isn’t much hope for knocking off the best team in the country.

Key #2: You Must Believe, Oregon State!
The Beavers have had their backs to the wall a number of times before, but probably never really like this. They’re a 5-6 team right now that is certainly one of the best 40 or so teams in the country. They have fallen upon hard times because of a brutal schedule, and one absolutely unforgiveable slip up at home against the Washington State Cougars shouldn’t be the difference between them going to a bowl game and not going to one. The Civil War has been won before, right here at Reser Stadium, and Oregon State has blown away the Rose Bowl and National Championship hopes for the Ducks in the past. Oregon is a great team. There’s no taking that away from them. However, if they really think that they are going to be competing in this one, the Beavers have to enter with the mindset that they are the aggressors in this game, not the team that is just trying to keep it close and hang on for a ‘W’ at the end. If that’s what happens, they’ll get destroyed.

Key #3: Take Jacquizz Rodgers Out of the Game and Make Ryan Katz Beat You, Oregon
This is really the only think that the Ducks need to worry about. We know that their offense is going to get the job done; that’s why they’re ranked No. 1 in the country at 546.7 yards and 50.5 points per game this year. The real question is whether or not the defense, which has been shaky at times this year, can really get the job done in this rivalry game. The Beavers were shut out last week and have fallen upon some hard times, but they really aren’t to blame for all of these hassles. Their schedule and some injuries are. WR James Rodgers has been out for the majority of the season, and he was the team’s most dynamic receiver. It was bad enough that QB Ryan Katz was already being asked to step in an replace QB Sean Canfield, who was phenomenal with the Beavers in his short time in Corvallis. Now, Katz had to get the job done with Rodgers. He does have his brother to work with though, and RB Jacquizz Rodgers is the man most likely to blow this game open with big plays for the Beavers. Last year in this game, Rodgers rushed for 64 yards and caught 73 yards worth of passes, and this season, he already has 1,110 yards and 16 total scores. The way that you slow down Rodgers is by not letting him have the football. As long as Oregon’s offense keeps scoring and the defense can at least work Oregon State into a few third and long situations, the Ducks should be fine. It’s only going to take a few early stops to take the lead in this game, and once the Beavers fall two scores behind, that’s when things can get a little ugly for Katz, who has only thrown for 2,159 yards this year.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 @ 9:42 am (EST)
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