James Rodgers, left, has rushed for 352 yards, mainly out of the fly sweep, for the Beavers this season. - AP

Success on the fly

CORVALLIS — Without wily freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers, the Oregon State Beavers can turn to older brother James and the fly sweep.

Jacquizz Rodgers, the Pacific-10 Conference's leading rusher, probably won't be healthy enough to play when No. 17 Oregon State hosts No. 19 Oregon Saturday in the annual Civil War rivalry game.

A Rose Bowl berth is on the line for the Beavers (8-3, 7-1), who share the conference lead with No. 5 USC — a team they beat earlier this season.

Jacquizz Rodgers, who averages 113.9 yards rushing a game, injured his shoulder in last weekend's victory over Arizona and was doubtful for the Civil War.

Enter big brother James.

The flanker has become proficient in running Oregon State's fly sweep, once considered gimmicky and high schoolish but now a staple of the Beavers' offense.

It's deceptively simple to execute and tricky to defend. A receiver — in this case James Rodgers — goes in motion in the backfield. The quarterback fakes a run up the middle, handing off to the receiver, who is headed full speed toward the perimeter.

The Beavers relied on the fly sweep at times last weekend in a 19-17 victory at Arizona. James Rodgers rushed for 102 yards on 10 carries.

The elder Rodgers has run for 352 yards this season, gaining an average of 9 yards per carry. While he has had trouble with turf toe, Beavers coach Mike Riley said earlier this week that he would play.

Interestingly, it was James Rodgers on the fly sweep for a 25-yard touchdown run in the second overtime of last season's 38-31 Civil War victory over Oregon at Autzen Stadium.

This season Oregon (8-3, 6-2) is getting ready for it. Terence Scott, Jamere Holland and Elvis Akpla were running fly sweeps in practice this week, coach Mike Bellotti said.

"It's a complementary play, in a sense, to several other plays. And what Oregon State does is they run it differently. There's not just one way they block it. They influence block it, they reach block it, and they'll pull people," Bellotti said. "So really, it's three or four different plays, but it's the same effect of having a guy running full speed when he gets the ball as opposed to having to get to speed."

Oregon State has yet to name a starting quarterback for Saturday's game.

Lyle Moevao, who has started in nine games this season, was throwing again in practice this week after sitting out against Arizona.

Sean Canfield started and helped lead the Beavers on a comeback drive in the final two minutes that ended with Justin Kahut's game-winning field goal.

Canfield, a left-hander who missed fall practice while rehabbing a shoulder injury, has thrown for 703 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions this season, while Moevao, a righty, has thrown for 1,967 yards and 14 scores, with nine interceptions.

Jacquizz Rodgers is not officially out for the game, although Riley said he was "very doubtful" that he could play.

The 5-foot-7 rusher will no doubt try to convince Oregon State's coaching staff that he can play in the game, given its importance.

The Beavers have not been to the Rose Bowl since the 1964 season. If they win Saturday, they'll face Penn State in Pasadena on New Year's Day, and get the chance to avenge a 45-14 loss to the Nittany Lions earlier this season.

Jacquizz Rodgers has rushed for 11 touchdowns and has already set a Pac-10 freshman rushing record. He could be the first freshman in the league to finish as the season's rushing leader. California's Jahvid Best is second, averaging 108.3 yards.

In all likelihood, Ryan McCants will get the start at tailback for the Beavers, and Jeremy Francis also will play.

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