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Beavers notes: Oregon State must get back to work

On Oregon State football as the Beavers (6-1 overall, 4-0 in Pac-12 play) play host to eighth-ranked Stanford (6-1, 3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Reser Stadium. …

• The Beavers rolled into Corvallis about 4 a.m. Sunday after Saturday night's 49-17 drubbing of California at Berkeley.

Coach Mike Riley got to sleep about 5 a.m. and was up by 9 a.m., already thinking about the Cardinal.

"Lots of work to do," the veteran OSU mentor said.

There are only two Pac-12 teams left with unblemished conference records.

"Us and the Ducks," Riley said.

His thoughts about that?

"I can only talk about us," Riley said. "From where we started (after a 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington) to where we are now, I'm really proud of our group.

"There's a bunch of stuff ahead of us. We're going to try to stay with what we've been doing. We'll play the next game, get as ready for it as well as we can."

The stuff ahead starts with Stanford. Then there are Southern Cal at home, at Arizona State (with the benefit of a bye weekend), Washington at home and at Oregon.

There are no gimmes. But the Beavers are quietly building a confidence that will help give them an opportunity to win for at least the next four games.

A reader took me to task for minimizing Oregon State's chances against the second-ranked Ducks. "Should we even show up to play the game?" he asked.

Well, of course. All I'm saying is Oregon seems to be playing on a different level than the rest of the Pac-12 right now -- heck, the rest of the country with the exception of Alabama.

The Beavers don't have to worry about the Ducks at this point. The Beavs have their hands full every game the rest of the way. It's a minefield that will determine the level of bowl game they play at season's end. There's the potential for a truly memorable campaign for Riley's Men of Orange. But they'll have to step up their level of performance or they risk losing what they have built through an impressive six-game run.

• Oregon State's run game has showed signs of life in the fourth quarters of its recent routs of Washington State and California. Terron Ward, in particular, has found some wiggle room. Perhaps the Beavers' devastating passing attack is wearing down defenses. Maybe it's a mirage at the end of a blowout. As part of OSU's pseudo-run game, Storm Woods caught six screen passes for 63 yards against the Bears, including a 28-yard touchdown.

"There were some parts I liked," Riley said. "It was pretty good at times. it's getting a little more consistent. Storm is a good receiver and has a good feel for it. He's pretty elusive when he gets into space. (Improving the run game) is a matter of us being a little cleaner with our blocks. We'll continue to work on it."

• Riley remains puzzled about the fourth-quarter unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on offensive tackle Sean Harlow on the play in which Brandin Cooks was thrown out of bounds by a Cal defender.

"Maybe, maybe not," Riley said about whether or not Harlow deserved the penalty. "But there's no doubt the Cal guy deserved one. The referee was getting ready to throw a flag and then he got hit by two players coming out of bounds. I was sure he was going to call it, but he didn't. They missed the whole scene on that one."

• Sean Mannion and Cooks continue to lead the nation in the important passing categories.

Mannion leads in total offense per game (414.3 yards), passing yardage (427.4) and touchdown passes (29). The junior quarterback is seventh in pass efficiency (29 TDs, three interceptions) and 12th in completion percentage (68.6). Cooks leads in receptions (76), receiving yardage (1,176) and TD receptions (12).

OSU's Steven Nelson remains tied for the national lead in interceptions with five. Teammate Rashaad Reynolds is one back with four.

• Oregon State and Stanford will be a contrast of offensive styles Saturday night.

OSU ranks first nationally in pass offense (442.1 yards per game), while Stanford is 86th (208.3). The Cardinal are 40th in rushing offense (198.0), the Beavers 122nd (73.7). The Beavers are eighth in total offense (515.9), the Cardinal 73rd (406.3).

Both teams are strong in rush defense --- Stanford 18th (115.6), Oregon State 30th (131.7).

Oregon State is ninth in scoring offense (44.1), Stanford tied for 39th (34.4). OSU is tied for ninth in first downs (187); Stanford is 86th (131).

Other numbers: Oregon State is tied with Missouri for first in interceptions with 14; Stanford is tied for 14th in red-zone offense (22 of 24, with 15 TDs and seven field goals). Stanford's Ty Montgomery leads the nation with a 35.2-yard average on kickoff returns, taking two back for touchdowns. The 6-2, 215-pound junior leads the Cardinal with 36 receptions for 564 yards and five TDs.

• NOTES: Oregon State is 25th in the first BCS rankings. OSU was second among others receiving votes in the USA Today top 25 (91 points) and third among others receiving votes in the Associated Press poll. … OSU tight end Caleb Smith had some good moments (three catches, 39 yards, one touchdown) and some shaky ones (a fumble at the goal line after a reception, two false starts) at Cal. It's typical of the way the 6-6, 260-pound sophomore has played this season. "He's very talented," Riley said. "He makes some plays. We're looking for consistency from him." … Riley is keeping the door open that starting tight end Connor Hamlett, who underwent a knee procedure last week, could be available for Stanford. "But I'm doubtful on him," the OSU coach said. … True freshman Victor Bolden, who injured an ankle in the Cal game, is questionable for Stanford. "I'm sure he'll be sore," Riley said of Bolden, OSU's kick return specialist who was injured on a 30-yard return, his second-longest of the season. … Riley wasn't happy with some aspects of the Beavers' performance against Cal, including eight penalties for 80 yards. "We left some points out there," he said. "We had some bad penalties. It was a chippy type of game." … Trevor Romaine's 31-yard field-goal attempt against the Bears, which bounced off the right upright, was in part the result of a bad snap. ...

Oregon State has outscored Cal 111-31 in victories the past two years.

Jalen Grimble, the 6-2, 295-pound transfer from Miami who is sitting out this season but practicing with the Beavers, fits into their plans at defensive tackle next year. "He's really good," Riley said. "He's a good kid and works real hard on our scout team. If everything keeps going like it is, he'll be right in the mix (for rotation minutes) next season." Riley said Grimble will count as a member of the 2013 recruiting class. … Running back Harris Ross, who decommitted from Hawaii and has now verbaled with OSU, is coached by former Beaver great Ken Simonton at Pittsburg (Calif.) High. Simonton, who coaches the team's running backs, contacted the OSU coaching staff after the 5-11, 195-pound Ross ran for nearly 400 yards in a recent game. … Receiver Javon Williams, dismissed from Arizona Western's team a week ago, would have to go to junior college for another year before being eligible to play at a four-year school. Williams has announced a commitment to OSU … -- OSU coaches were told that Lawrence Mattison, the 6-1, 235-pound running back who has left Butler College in El Dorado, Kan., is transferring to Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. Mattison, who failed to qualify academically to attend OSU out of high school in Spring Branch, Texas, said via Twitter he intends to enroll at OSU for winter term. That wouldn't be possible unless he had gained academic eligibility at a junior college. .. OSU coaches are hopeful Kyle Peko -- the 6-2, 295-pound defensive tackle who failed to qualify academically out of Cerritos (Calif.) College -- will finish his classes at Cerritos this fall and gain eligibility so he can enroll at OSU winter term.