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Oregon State hopes to slow down Wilson

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - After bottling up Travis Wilson last season, the Beavers know the Utah quarterback has made big strides this year.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Oregon State had no trouble containing Travis Wilson last October in Corvallis.

Making just his second career start, the Beavers held Wilson to 15 of 28 passing, for just 172 yards and two interceptions. Wilson was also sacked twice and fumbled in Oregon State's 21-7 victory.

But after seeing Wilson in two games this year, the Beavers have noticed a huge difference.

"He's played a lot more football and is a lot more confident," said Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. "He's a lot more comfortable, he's had an entire off-season to prepare, so naturally he's going to be different. He's poised, has got good athletic ability and has a good arm."

Nobody on the Beavers roster knows Wilson better than offensive lineman Sean Harlow, who blocked for Wilson at San Clemente High School in California.

"He's super athletic," said Harlow. "I've seen him knock guys out running the ball and jump over them at the same time, so he's just a freak. We have to be ready for him."

In victories over Utah State and Weber State, Wilson has completed 31 of 47 passes (66 percent), for 566 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He has also rushed the ball for 120 yards and two more touchdowns.

"He's gotten so much better from last year," said Beavers cornerback Sean Martin. "We just have to get a good pass rush on him, keep him inside the pocket because he got two running touchdowns last week against Weber State. So, we're focusing on that a lot."

"The fact that he's a running quarterback makes him more of a threat," said Beavers linebacker D.J. Alexander. "But we're going to handle it and do what we need to do."

After a shocking season-opening loss to Eastern Washington, Oregon State, which was ranked #25 in the preseason, rebounded with a convincing win over Hawaii last week. So, which Beavers team will show up Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium?

"I feel like the Hawaii game helped us a lot," said Martin. "Once you get a good game like that, your confidence builds up, and holding them to 1 for 11 third downs really brings up the confidence. When we played Eastern Washington, we were just going through the motions. But last week we had a reality check and we realized that we have to step it up in practice."

We'll see if practice pays off for the Beavers Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
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