Chadd's Blog -- Sept. 4, 2006

The Idaho StatesmanSeptember 4, 2006 

— The Boise State-Oregon State game Thursday night at Bronco Stadium will air on ESPN. The game had been listed as an ESPN2 broadcast since the schedule was announced earlier this year, but ESPN’s schedules list the game on its premier channel.

No explanation was available.

The ESPN crew will be Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Erin Andrews.

Kickoff has been set for 5:47 p.m.

•••

Here’s a quick preview of the Oregon State offense:

The Beavers will lean heavily on junior running back Yvenson Bernard. He rushed for 1,321 yards and 13 touchdowns last season — the fifth-best season in Beavers history.

He rushed for 92 yards and two scores against Boise State, including a 51-yarder.

Bernard rushed for 124 yards and two scores last week against Eastern Washington.

“He’s pretty much the backbone of their offense,” BSU linebacker Korey Hall said. “They have a great O-line, but their running back is what makes them tick. We’re going to have our work cut out for us stopping him.”

The starting offensive line returned this year intact.

Quarterback Matt Moore, who was red hot against BSU last year but struggled the rest of the year, also returns. He was solid in the opener and backup Sean Canfield — a highly touted redshirt freshman — was outstanding.

Junior Anthony Wheat-Brown leads an unproven group of wide receivers.

The key to the passing game might be senior tight end Joe Newton, who missed last season with a leg injury. Newton (6-foot-7, 256 pounds) made 56 catches for 687 yards and seven touchdowns in 2004.

He made five catches and scored twice last week.

“He’s a pretty good athlete for his size,” said Boise State linebacker Colt Brooks, who will cover Newton often.

Tomorrow, we’ll preview Oregon State’s defense and special teams.

•••

Brooks and punter Kyle Stringer, both seniors, were named WAC players of the week today.

Brooks was the defensive honoree. He led the team with eight tackles and also intercepted a pass last week as BSU shut out Sacramento State 45-0.

Stringer was the special teams honoree. He averaged 50.25 yards on four punts and pinned the Hornets inside the 20-yard line three times.

The offensive player of the week was Fresno State running back Dwayne Wright, who rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 28-19 win over Nevada.

•••

Other notes from today’s WAC coaches’ teleconference:

* New Mexico State coach Hal Mumme expects a nasty encounter with rival New Mexico this week after the Lobos lost to Division I-AA Portland State.

“The Lobos are reeling from a loss to I-AA Portland State,” Mumme said, “so I look at them as being kind of like a wounded rattlesnake. This game is always a bloodbath.”

* Utah State failed to score on offense last week in a loss at Wyoming. The Aggies’ only touchdown was an interception return.

“We feel like we have some playmakers,” coach Brent Guy said, “and none of those guys could make a play and get us going.”

* Adam Tafralis will start at quarterback for San Jose State this week in a home game against Stanford. Tafralis, who started last year, was on the verge of losing his job to newcomer Sean Flynn until Flynn got hurt in fall camp.

Tafralis got the start last week at Washington and played great. He completed 28-of-35 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns.

“He threw for 80 percent,” coach Dick Tomey said, “which is the thing he didn’t do a year ago. He was as high of a percentage passer as there was in the country last weekend.”

Tomey also would like to play Flynn this week.

•••

Check back tomorrow for a chance to win two tickets to the BSU-Oregon State game. A trivia question will appear here at either 12:30 p.m. or 4 p.m.

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