Idaho (1-2) at OSU (1-1)
- Portland Tribune - Sports
When, where: 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Reser Stadium
TV, radio: FSN Northwest, KEX (1190 AM)
Notes: Saturday is a special game for Oregon State kicker Alexis Serna. The 2005 Lou Groza Award-winner's best friend is Idaho kicker Tino Amancio, a sophomore transfer. Serna and Amancio are both from Fontana, Calif.
'We'll have a little personal battle,' Serna says, a Miller High graduate. 'Tino went to Kaiser (High), which won the state championship but was at a lower classification. Every time we go back home, we're kicking together, helping each other out. We've gone to the same kicking camps. He came to Corvallis last summer and spent a month with me. It's going to be exciting.'
Amancio, who rates no mention in the Vandals' media guide, has made four of five field-goal attempts - including a 49-yarder - and all six extra-point tries. Serna is 10 for 10 on conversions but has missed both field-goal attempts - from 49 yards against Eastern Washington and from 36 yards versus Boise State, though he disputes the latter.
'I thought it was good,' he says. 'I hit it down the middle, and the wind took it to the left. It doesn't really bother me. I'm waiting to get my first one through. I'll just try to do my best from here on out.'
• The Idaho game has personal meaning for Oregon State coach Mike Riley, but not because of the return of Dennis Erickson. Riley's father, Bud, was an assistant under Dee Andros at Idaho, and Mike spent most of his early childhood in Moscow before moving to Corvallis in sixth grade.
'Dad is an alum, an Idaho Vandal,' Riley says. 'Before I came to Corvallis and hung around Parker Stadium and Bell Field, we lived right on campus in Moscow. I remember sitting in class and drawing pictures of Joe Vandal. I can't draw a lick, but I could draw Joe Vandal.'
• Riley's two children, Matt, 21, and Kate, 18, left this week on a two-month trip that will feature visits to nine countries in Europe. They're going by themselves.
'I'm excited for them, but at the same time, I'm like, wow, I'd never do that when I was that age,' Riley says. 'It's quite an adventure.'
• Offensive guard Jeremy Perry, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Sept. 8 - the day after the Boise State game - has practiced this week and is expected to start Saturday. 'I'm ready to go,' he says.
• Cornerback Brandon Hughes, who missed the first two games with a knee injury, also has been practicing and will start against Idaho.
• Defensive coordinator Mark Banker says he has been pleased with the progress of three JC transfers - starting linebacker Joey LaRocque and reserve defensive linemen Dorian Smith and Gerard Lee.
'Joey is more comfortable with our defensive schemes, and he's able to play faster,' Banker says. 'When that happens, a kid can play to his ability as opposed to paint by numbers. I think he'll get better and better. In practice (since the Boise State game), Dorian and Gerard have shown growth. They're going to be more of a factor.'
• Safety Sabby Piscitelli says the long wait between games has been difficult.
'I wanted to play the day after Boise,' he says. 'It's been hard, but it's been good for us, too, to kind of regroup and get our team back together. Practices have been pretty intense.'
Piscitelli says this Oregon State team could be the best since he has been in the program.
'Offensively, we have a lot of weapons,' the 6-2, 225-pound senior says. 'Defensively, we fly around. It's in our hands. We can be as good as we want to be, if we show the right effort and work ethic.'