September 7, 2006

Beavers look to break Broncos

When the Oregon State football team steps onto the "smurf turf" at Bronco Stadium tonight, it hopes to erase memories from the last time it played there in 2004. After OSU jumped out to an early 14 point lead, Boise State scored 34 straight points en route to a 53-35 blowout of the Beavers.

The win was BSU's first ever against a Pac-10 school. Making matters worse for OSU was the fact that it was torched by quarterback with local ties. Jared Zabransky, a 2002 graduate of Hermiston High School, completed 20-of-34 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the Broncos' leading rusher, carrying the ball 14 times for 73 yards and a touchdown.

And even though the Beavers beat BSU last season in Corvallis, they will be looking for revenge tonight. It's a crucial game for OSU, which routed D1-AA Eastern Washington last Thursday, 56-17. While the Beavers looked impressive on both sides of the ball, it was hard to take much away from the game because of the opponent they faced. That won't be the case tonight. By the end of the night, OSU should have a much better idea of what kind of team they will be this season.

"We definitely have to step it up this week," said OSU head coach Mike
Riley. "It's going to be a different level. It's in a tough place to play, Boise State will have a great atmosphere there, and they'll obviously be very fired up for this game in particular."

Expect the Broncos to challenge the Beaver secondary from the get-go,
especially since cornerback Brandon Hughes is still out. With that in mind, the defensive line will also be put to the test. The unit must put pressure on Zabransky or it will be a long night for the secondary. BSU has a solid offensive line, so if OSU's front four performs well, it would bode well for the rest of the season. Ultimately, this game will prove if the defensive line and secondary have improved from last season because the Broncos love to air it out.

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