Up next for Oregon State: No. 9 Arizona

The Oregon State Beavers have faith their tough schedule will

build a tougher team.

The Beavers, who it seems can hardly catch a scheduling break,

visit No. 9 Arizona on Saturday. The undefeated Wildcats will join

now-No. 5 TCU and now-No. 4 Boise State on the list of Oregon

State’s early opponents.

Rather than shrug at their lot this season, the Beavers are

welcoming it.

”I think we’re all pretty grateful for the opportunity to play

the type of opposition we’ve been playing,” linebacker Cameron

Collins said. ”We all came to Oregon State to play the best and

Coach (Mike) Riley’s given us that opportunity.”

Oregon State lost to the Horned Frogs and the Broncos but beat

Louisville earlier this season and is coming off a 31-28 victory

over Arizona State. Both of those wins came at Reser Stadium.

The Beavers’ preseason schedule was considered one of the most

difficult in the nation – indeed the most recent Sagarin computer

ratings give Oregon State the hardest overall schedule among FBS

teams.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Beavers play four of

their first six games on the road (however they play four of their

final six at home). Oregon State doesn’t return to Reser until Oct.

30 for homecoming against California.

The argument can be made that Oregon State’s schedule may have

cost the team a couple of early wins, but could pay dividends as

far as the conference standings at the end of the year.

”I think it helps from a standpoint that we are not going to be

scared of a moment, we are not going to shy away from a moment,”

cornerback James Dockery said. ”It is just another opportunity to

know what we need to do, to get the job done.”

Arizona (4-0, 1-0 Pac-10) opened the season with routs over

Toledo and the Citadel, followed by an impressive win over then-No.

9 Iowa and a gritty victory over California. Last weekend the

Wildcats had a bye.

The most glaring problem that Arizona presents for the Beavers

is their defense, ranked second in the nation behind Boise

State.

The Wildcats are only allowing opponents an average of 230 yards

total offense, 101 on the ground and 129 in the air. They

surrendered just 29 rushing yards to Iowa.

That will be a challenge for Oregon State’s steadily improving

offense. Against Arizona State, Beavers quarterback Ryan Katz

played his best game, completing 19 of 29 passes for 260 yards and

two touchdowns. And he did it without go-to receiver James Rodgers,

who sat out after sustaining a concussion the week before at Boise

State.

Katz, making his fourth career start, connected with nine

different receivers, including sophomores Markus Wheaton and Jordan

Bishop, who each had four catches.

”I think we’re just getting more comfortable,” Katz said. ”I

think the receivers are seeing the open lanes and the line’s giving

me time to throw the ball. We’ve corrected a lot of things since

the TCU game. I think we’re just scratching the surface.”

Rodgers, who was practicing at full speed Tuesday, will return

against the Wildcats.

While the Beavers have won four straight in Tucson, Arizona beat

them 37-32 in Corvallis last season. It was quarterback Nick Foles’

first start and he made the most of it, passing for 254 yards and

three touchdowns.

This season, Foles has thrown for 1,089 yards with six TDs and a

conference-best 74.5 completion percentage.

”The challenge that he throws at us especially from last year,

is his really nice fade ball. He can throw a fade into the field,

into the boundary, and he just does a nice job of putting a touch

on it in order to make sure his receivers will catch the ball,”

Dockery said. ”We definitely need to be disciplined with our eyes

and our technique. We cannot afford to be caught out of position

with this quarterback because he will make you pay.”