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Civil War Preview: OSU Offense

The Beavers have a very balanced offense, one that has gotten better as the season has gone on.  It all starts with quarterback Matt Moore.  Although Moore was much maligned last year and early this season for throwing a lot of interceptions, he has really turned things around, and leads the nation with 117 pass attempts without a pick.  He has always had a strong arm, but the major improvement that he has made over the season is that he no longer locks on to a single receiver and tries to  force a bad throw (something that Dennis Dixon is very guilty of right now).  He is reading his progression and finding the open man, and is extremely effective as a result.  Should something unfortunate happen Sean Canfield, the backup, is also a very capable passer.  Ryan Gunderson, last year's Civil War starter, is third string.

Helping make Moore look good is a very good receiving corps.  This has been a breakout season for Sammie Stroughter, who has 55 catches and almost 1000 yards on the season.  He's not a big receiver at 6'0", 183 lbs., but he is very quick and can burn you deep (and on punt returns).  Tight end Joe Newton is another matchup problem.  He goes 6'7" and has good hands, as evidenced by his 28 catches and four touchdowns this season.  Between Stroughter and Newton, the Oregon defense is really going to have their hands full.  Brandon Powers, the team's second leading receiver is also very good, as is Yvenson Bernard receiving out of the backfield.  The Ducks do catch a bit of a break, however, as Anthony Wheat-Brown is suspended.

Where Oregon really has a nightmare is at tailback.  Yvenson Bernard is again one of the best backs in the country, already having over 1000 yards despite missing the USC game.  Given that mediocre to bad running backs have hit the century mark against the Ducks, expect Bernard to have a huge game.  And if, heaven forbid, something were to happen to Bernard, Chris Polk punished SC for over 100 yards of his own.  Combine all of this with an offensive line that, like the Ducks, returned all of their starters and are very good, and OSU's offense is very, very good.  Despite their early season troubles, they still average 25.9 ppg, which means that they are probably good for 35 against Oregon.  If the Ducks cannot get penetration and slow Bernard, it could be another long day in Corvallis for the lightning yellow.