We all thought this would be the year that Mike Riley's team would buck the "slow start" trend, but here we are, six weeks into the season, and the Beavers are just now getting things headed in the right direction.
Bowl eligibility is almost certain now after back-to-back victories over Arizona State and Stanford, so that's not a big worry any more. There are probable victories left on the schedule with Washington coming to Reser and a late November trip to Washington State. Throw in UCLA at home and Cal on the road, and seven or eight wins doesn't seem out of the picture. And obviously, the big games left on the schedule are USC next week in Los Angeles, and Oregon on December 3 at Autzen.
We knew it heading into the season, but the Rodgers brothers are for real. They're freaks. But more importantly, I think what we're seeing here is an offensive line growing up before our eyes. There's no way to go back and replay the Cincinnati game or the Arizona game, but we're seeing Coach Cavanaugh's crew mature more and more each week. On Saturday Cav didn't have to do anywhere near the amount of chewing he did back on September 19, where he held the linemen out in the field at halftime to give them a piece of his mind before going into the locker room. And it was evident by Jacquizz Rodgers' production-- he had 239 yards in the last three weeks combined-- as Quizz racked up a career high 189 yards against the Cardinal. Take a look at his season so far:
Quizz's stats are a reflection of the progression of the offense. He fared well in the first two weeks against lesser opponents, but then once the level of competition ratcheted up, the offense struggled, and therefore Quizz struggled. It's now up to Oregon State to prove the the ASU win and the Stanford win weren't anomalies.
The Beavers now have twelve days to get ready for USC. The game is in Los Angeles, which means the Beavers won't be given much chance to pull off a victory. But given Mike Riley's recent history of out-coaching USC and his success after bye weeks, don't at least feel better about OSU's chances? Throw in the fact that the offense is clicking and the defense just had their best performance of the year, holding Toby Gerhart to under 100 yards, it could be an interesting four quarters in Los Angeles.