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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Moevao preps Canfield for Autzen Stadium

Sean Canfield's play at quarterback this season has been crucial to the Oregon State football team's success.

For the 16th-ranked Beavers to win the Civil War on Thursday in Autzen Stadium, he'll need to keep up - maybe even enhance - what he has been doing.

To do that, he'll need to handle the intense atmosphere of the rivalry game on the road.

When the Beavers defeated Oregon in 2007 in Autzen Stadium, a cool, calm and collected Lyle Moevao led the team. He has missed this year with shoulder and ankles injuries, and will only watch on Thursday.

However, he's already prepping Canfield for the worst.

"It will be crazy," Canfield said. "I talked with Lyle about it when he started (the game) two years ago. It was just crazy on third down - on all downs, really. It will be a hostile environment, but it's a great stage for us. Our team in those situations, it rises to those occasions."

OSU players such as linebacker Keaton Kristick and cornerback Tim Clark talk about that constant hum in Autzen and how it can be unnerving.

However, they say when the fans are quiet, it stands out and it's an inspiring silence.

Moevao played well in Autzen in the 38-31 double-overtime victory in 2007 and helped calm the masses. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 245 yards. He didn't try to do too much, just get the ball to his playmakers.

"I told him it's going to be loud," Moevao said. "There will be times you can't hear your center or the guys in the huddle. But I also told him it can get quiet. And that's the key for us. You need more moments that are quiet than loud. That means you are doing good and winning."

The Beavers have been able to take the opponent's home crowd out of games on a regular basis, and have won eight of their last 10 Pacific-10 Conference road games.

OSU has beaten California five straight times on the road, and Arizona and Washington four straight.

"The crowd and noise are factors, and so is the poise you have to show if things don't go right," coach Mike Riley said.

However, Autzen is different. Before 2007, the last win came in 1993 with six losses in-between. The Beavers have a 23-25-3 record in Eugene.

The Ducks have won all six home games this season, and five of six last year. Their last home loss was Sept. 20, 2008, against Boise State.

"There's no doubt both teams have good home-field records," Riley said. "Autzen is a tough place to play. Their crowd gets into the game and you have to embrace it. I hope the experience of doing well on the road carries over into this ball game."

Canfield is in his fifth season with the Beavers, but has yet to play in a Civil War. He was the backup and didn't play as a freshman, was hurt his sophomore season and backed up Moevao last year.

Since he missed more than a full season between his sophomore and junior years due to injury, he faced many teams and visited many stadiums for the first time this season.

"For Sean, there have been a lot of firsts," Riley said. "It still has been a great stretch of play. He's had a very good year."

None of the trips to foreign stadiums bothered him. He leads the Pac-10 in passing yardage with 254.3 a game and passing efficiency with a 147.5 rating.

Canfield has yet to have a bad game.

"He has all the tools, more than I did in 2007," Moevao said. "Physically and mentally he's ready. He has done everything right."

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