OSU surging, Washington fading

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By Brian Elder KVAL Sports

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Northwest rivals Washington and Oregon State meet again in Reser Stadium in Corvallis, and the last time these two teams played there things got ugly. Real ugly.

The incident that sticks out the most was the injury to Jake Locker. He was running toward the sideline when he took a vicious - but clean - hit from Al Afalava. He left the stadium in an ambulance, but later returned in street cloths with a brace on his neck.

Then before the half, as OSU was trying to run the clock out and head into the locker room, one of the Washington defenders appeared to be trying to rip the head off of Yvenson Bernard before several of the Beaver players came to his aid. No penalty was called, but Mike Riley gave the officials an earful on the way out.

But soon after the refs really blew it. Late in the game the Beavers were driving in for a score to put the game out of reach when Bernard broke a run where he appeared to score a touchdown. He met the UW defenders near the goal line when he stretched the ball across the plane and set the ball down on the turf in the endzone. But instead of calling a touchdown, the officials ruled that it was a fumble and gave the ball to the Huskies. The crowd at Reser, and Riley, let the officials hear about it for the rest of the night.

Two years later the teams are in similar situations. OSU is surging, while Washington is fading toward another disappointing season.

Since starting off the season 2-1, featuring a huge upset over USC, the Huskies have lost five of their last six games, including a current three game skid.

Washington does have one of the biggest weapons out there in Locker, but new head coach Steve Sarkisian seems to have pulled the reigns in on the junior quarterback this season.

In 2007 Locker set a single season Pac-10 record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 986.

This year he has only run for 230 yards, averaging just 25 per game.

Defense has also been an issue for Washington. The Dawgs rank 9th in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (29.1 ppg), 9th in rushing defense (164.4 ypg), 7th in pass defense (262.6 ypg) and 9th in total defense (427 ypg).

THE PICKS:

Brian Elder - True to form, the Beavers appear to be making their annual late season rally. But OSU hasn't really had the low moments that it did in any of the previous years. The Beavs have only lost three games, those coming against undefeated and 5th-ranked Cincinnati, 11th-ranked USC and 18th-ranked Arizona. Those are three very good teams. Now Oregon State should win its next two heading into the Civil War. It all starts against the Huskies this week. Locker is dangerous, and he has been much more effective throwing the ball this year. But he hasn't shown off the scrambling ability that made him so electric in the past, and an ever-improving OSU defense should hold him in check. On offense, the Beavers should get a big day from Jacquizz Rodgers, and Sean Canfield is playing as good as any quarterback in the country right now. That's bad news for one of the Pac-10's worst defenses.  OSU - 38, UW - 20

Tom Ward - The Beavers are peaking at the right time (again). The offense is clicking with the Rodgers brothers and Sean Canfield -who is playing the best ball of his career - and the Blackshirt defense was nasty against Cal. OSU finally got some pressure on the quarterback, and the Beavs did an excellent job containing Jahvid Best until that unfortunate injury. The Beaver D should stand out again. Jake Locker simply doesn't have enough help on offense, and that will keep the Dawgs grounded. OSU - 30, UW - 17

Nick Krupke - The spirits will be high at Reser Stadium for senior day. And if that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing for the Beavs, then the fact that they're playing the hated Huskies will. Sean Canfield will continue to play lights out, and he will definitely go out in style in his final game in front of the home fans. The Dawgs will keep things from getting too ugly by scoring a late touchdown in garbage time that will make the game appear closer than it really was. OSU - 27, UW - 21

Dirk Weishaar - This one might be close for a while, but the Huskies don't have what it takes to keep pace. They are a one man show with Jake Locker, and it's going to take more than that to beat the Beavers at Reser. OSU is rolling on offense, and against a bad Washington defense there should be plenty of opportunities for some big plays. OSU - 34, UW - 24

It was tough goings in the office last week, as we all combined for an 0-8 record. Ouch. But we still have a three way tie for first with Brian, Tom and Nick all still at 8-4. Dirk fell back to .500 at 6-6.

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