Cal at OSU


When, where: 1 p.m., Reser Stadium

Radio: KEX (1190 AM)

• Quarterback Matt Moore has not played as well yet as he did early last season. In his first three games as a junior (against Portland State, Boise State and Louisville), Moore threw for 963 yards and six TDs with two interceptions. In his first three games this season, he has thrown for 372 yards and four TDs with two picks.

To be fair, Mike Hass - the nation's top receiver - is gone, Moore played only parts of the game against Eastern Washington and Idaho, and OSU's offense now includes more sweep reverses with Sammie Stroughter and Ruben Jackson and passes out of the backfield to fullback Micah Strickland.

Moore has thrown 62 passes this season, completing 35. In the first three games of '05, he was 78-of-126 passing as the Beavers (2-1, 0-0 Pac-10) struggled to find their running game.

But Moore seems to be missing some of his mojo. Maybe he is hearing footsteps from redshirt freshman backup Sean Canfield, who has played well (22-of-30 for 277 yards and two TDs with one interception) but isn't nearly as seasoned or as prepared to be a starter. Or maybe Moore has heard the criticism of his 19 interceptions of a year ago and is playing to avoid turnovers instead of making plays.

'Status quo,' coach Mike Riley says of the position. That means Moore starts and plays most of the game Saturday. But look for Canfield to get some scheduled work in the second quarter.

Against Cal (3-1, 1-0), Moore has to upgrade his game at QB, and the Beavers have to spread the field and go deep a time or two, something they rarely have done so far this season.

'We're throwing some different kind of passes, running more bootleg, trying to get some stuff going that will help us throughout the year,' Riley says. 'We'll still get those shots down the field.'

• While sitting out last week's Idaho game serving a one-game suspension for violation of team rules, defensive tackle Curtis Coker paid attention to the crowd. He didn't like what he heard - er, didn't hear.

'Boise State's 29,000 (crowd) sounds like LSU's 90,000,' the 6-1, 305-pound junior says. 'Our 42,000 (at Reser Stadium) is comparable to a Texas high school game. The new side was mediocre, and the old side was quiet.

'It's a football game. If you want to be quiet and watch a game, you can watch it at home. What I'm asking from the community and the fans is to be our 12th man. Make noise. Stomp your feet. Yell. Throw a towel in the air. Support us. The defense really needs that. And when our offense is on the field, be quiet, and relax - until the play gets going.'

Of course, the Idaho game was so one-sided, it may have been hard for the partisans to rev up much enthusiasm. The atmosphere at Reser should change when the Beavers open their conference season against No. 20 Cal.

• OSU's pass defense ranks fifth in the nation. The Beavers finished 115th out of 117 teams last season.