KERRY SAYS: Stop the run, and Beavers win a toughie
A week ago, most of those looking ahead to Saturday's Oregon State-Hawaii game in Honolulu would have forecast an easy win for the Beavers.
Not after the first weekend of play, with Oregon State struggling to score touchdowns in a 29-14 win over Portland State, and Hawaii taking Washington to the limit before falling 17-16.
Coach Norm Chow was 4-20 in his first two seasons with the Rainbow Warriors -- 1-11 last season, including 0-8 in Mountain West Conference contests.
But Hawaii returns 15 starters and appears to be blessed with balance on offense and more talent on the defensive side than a year ago.
Senior running back Joey Iosefa, a 6-foot, 245-pound freight train, carried 30 times for 143 yards and a TD against the Huskies. Oregon State's defense will focus on stopping the run and slowing down Iosefa in particular.
"When (the opponent) is able to run the ball, it's a tougher game," OSU safety Ryan Murphy says. "We know they're going to give (Iosefa) the rock. He's the centerpiece to their offense, a great player. If we can contain the run game and force them to go to their (passing) playbook, we give ourselves a shot."
Chow's first-year defensive coordinator, Kevin Clune, was linebackers coach the past five years at Utah State. Oregon State's offensive coaches and players have spent the week watching film of the Aggies of a year ago, and of the Warriors both last season and in the opener against U-Dub.
This year's Warriors will play a 3-4 and blitz a lot.
"They bring a variety of pressures," OSU O-coordinator John Garrett says. "We have to be on top of when they're doing that and how they're doing it.
"It's a challenging scheme. We'll have to be on top of all the different fronts and blitzes and coverages they use. We're going to have to be spot-on in our defensive identification and our execution."
It's no gimme for the Beavers. They'll play better than they did in the opener, though, and get enough things done offensively to run their record to 2-0.
THE PICK: Oregon State 27, Hawaii 17