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Arizona State at OSU

by: TOM HAUCK, Beaver Bryan Payton intercepts a pass Saturday against Southern Cal’s Trojans. OSU won 33-31.

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

Radio: KEX (1190 AM)

• Nobody can quibble after a victory over Southern Cal. But if not for Clinton Polk going the wrong way on second-and-inches at the SC goal line, resulting in Matt Moore getting sacked and Oregon State settling for an Alexis Serna field goal … if a poor snap had not been the biggest factor in a 25-yard Serna attempt getting partially blocked … if freshman punter Kyle Loomis hadn't dropped a catchable snap, resulting in the Trojans getting the ball deep in OSU territory to set up a touchdown with the Beavers ahead 33-10 … it could have been a blowout.

• Oregon State was the better team. SC's classy coach, Pete Carroll, said as much and was gracious in praise for the Beavers. But think about it. Carroll wasn't interested in recruiting a single player on Oregon State's roster. He has his pick of the litter in Southern California and gets his fill of prep All-Americans and five-star prospects. How in the world can the Beavers hope to compete with the Trojans, much less beat them? What does it say about the job OSU's coaching staff has done with its players?

• Moore has taken some heat from a few loudmouths behind the OSU bench this season. Asked after the SC game if he heard anything from the student section, the senior QB nodded. 'I heard some good things today,' he said. 'It was nice.'

• Alas, the Beavers had only one high school player on an official recruiting visit Saturday - long snapper Corey Adams, 6-5, 235, from Monument, Colo., who has offers from Arizona State and Kansas State. But there were several prospects on the sidelines and visiting for the weekend on unofficial looks.

• OSU coaches were smart to hold Yvenson Bernard out of the SC game. Chances are good now that the junior tailback, the Pac-10's No. 2 rusher, will be available for Arizona State. If healthy, Bernard will start. But backup Polk, who gained 100 yards in his first career start, will get at least a series or two of duty. 'Clinton earned that in the SC game,' coach Mike Riley says. 'He took center stage and came through for us.'

• Combine the performance of Serna and Sammie Stroughter, plus the coverage and blocking on the kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return units, and it's clear OSU special teams coach Bruce Read is doing his job.

'It's tremendous for our program to have a guy like Bruce,' Riley says of Read, who coached special teams in the NFL for five years. 'He has been with me eight years, and I don't know of a better special teams coach around. It's a passion for him, and he's really good at it. He's a good teacher not just in the kicking part of it but of snapping, blocking technique, coverage technique - everything.'

-Kerry Eggers