Beavers update

CORVALLIS — In his hotel room before Oregon State's night game at Arizona State last week, Beavers coach Mike Riley used the down time to watch other teams on TV.

His observation, made on the air to broadcaster Mike Parker before the game, was that the team with the most turnovers usually lost. Four hours and six turnovers later, the Beavers slinked out of Tempe as 44-32 losers.

In fact, few teams in the country have had the problems with turnovers the Beavers have.

The team's minus-2 turnover margin is 113th among the nation's 119 teams, and the Beavers have 13 interceptions, nine of them by starter Sean Canfield.

Oregon State (2-2, 0-1 Pacific-10 Conference) faces UCLA Saturday. The good news is that the Beavers are at home, where both their wins have come this season. The bad news is that UCLA has one of the best defenses in the conference, and is likely to keep up the pressure on Canfield, a sophomore who has suffered growing pains.

"We have our work cut out for us," Riley told reporters Tuesday. "They are talented guys, and I think as people watched them last year they realized how active and athletic this whole defense is."

Despite his struggles on the field, Canfield seems to have left the other contender for the starting job, Lyle Moevao, behind. Riley stuck with Canfield after five interceptions against Arizona State. He also named Canfield the starter for the UCLA game.

Canfield has been successful at times. In four games he has thrown for 677 yards and five touchdowns, and the Beavers outgained Arizona State in the loss.

"Even though it was a loss, you learn," Canfield said. "You learn just as much from this game. Each game is good for my experience, whether a loss or a win."

The Bruins (3-1, 2-0) lost 44-6 to Utah two weeks ago. UCLA immediately dropped out of the Top 25, but bounced back with a convincing win over Washington last week.

"They had their one clunker against Utah, but besides that they have played good football, really rebounded and played a very good game against the Huskies," Riley said.

UCLA JINX?: Oregon State has accomplished a lot in Mike Riley's two stints at the helm. One thing it's never done is beat UCLA. The Beavers are 0-4 against the Bruins under Riley.

The teams have met at Reser Stadium only once, however. In 1998, the third-ranked Bruins escaped with a 41-34 win when the Beavers, with freshman Jonathan Smith at QB, were driving late in the game with a chance to score.

Oregon State did beat the Bruins in 1999 and 2000 under Dennis Erickson.


EXTRA POINTS: The Oregon State offensive line's media blackout ended this week with center Kyle DeVan acting as spokesman for the group at Tuesday's media availability. ... Beavers receiver Sammie Stroughter (sore back) didn't practice Tuesday.

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