Despite missing their star wide receiver in James Rodgers, Oregon State generated plenty of offense to keep ahead of the defense in an impressive 31-28 victory over a talented Arizona State team.
However, the Beavers have just begun to run the gauntlet. This Saturday, OSU faces yet another AP Top 10 team, the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona is undefeated (4-0), and unpredictable. They have proven themselves tough in a gritty 34-27 victory over No. 17 Iowa, but then appeared dazed and confused against Cal, winning a low-scoring affair by one point, 10-9, at home.
In any event, the old phrase "a win is a win" remains valid and the Wildcats will present an uphill battle for Oregon State in the desert.
Going into the game against the Sun Devils, the Beavers knew they would be challenged by a passing game ranked fifth in the country.
OSU's secondary stepped up to the challenge, forcing ASU QB Steven Threet to throw three interceptions and the turnovers were a huge part of the Beavs' defenses successes.
A repeat performance will likely be necessary, and inducing turnovers may be the Beavers' only chance at stopping another high-powered passing attack.
Arizona is ranked eleventh in the nation averaging 301 yards per game; the Wildcats' defense is also stingy, allowing just 11 points per game.
Oregon State didn't fare well against a top ranked defense, losing to TCU while the offense was still finding out what worked and what failed miserably. The Black and Orange ranks a dismal 95th in the country in points against, allowing almost 31 points per contest. That number is right where the Wildcats are comfortable, scoring 34 a game.
It's hard to ignore the numbers, which show Arizona allows a number of points scored in the ballpark of what the Beavers produce and score what the Beavers allow.
Arizona is 4-0, and Oregon State is 2-2, so for the Beavs, "something's gotta give."
That something may be the increased play of Beavers QB Ryan Katz, who improved his completion percentage while racking up 260 yards and connecting for two touchdowns; running back Jacquizz Rodgers also returned to form, running for 145 yards, 74 of them on one run in route to the end zone.
The focus will continue to be on defense for Oregon State, as the offense has begun to solidify. The linebacker core has come under heavy scrutiny and will have something to prove against a potent Arizona offense.
Look for the Beavers to be embroiled in another high-scoring affair, as Wildcats QB Nick Foles battles it out with Katz. Foles will likely win head-to-head, as OSU will protect Katz with several handoffs to Rodgers.
James Rodgers' return will be anticipated and a big boost to the morale of the team and to the play-calling.
Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, October 9 at 6:00 pm EST in Tucson, AZ. The game will be airing on Versus.