UNIVERSITY PARK - Oregon State threw the ball 54 times for 404 yards in its opener against Stanford, but Joe Paterno believes that was an aberration and not what Penn State will see Saturday.
''I think Oregon State got behind a little bit,'' Paterno said. ''I don't think that was necessarily their game.''
The Nittany Lions, therefore, are preparing to face a more balanced attack from the Beavers. Oregon State, however, may have learned quickly that its best chance for success this season might be airing it out - a lot.
The Beavers picked up 29 first downs against Stanford - the same number PSU had in scoring 66 points against Coastal Carolina - and 21 of those came through the air. Oregon State ran the ball just 28 times for 86 yards.
Many Penn State players watched the Thursday night game as the Beavers lost to the Cardinal, 36-28. What did they think of this week's opponent?
''I think it's a good representation of Pac-10 offenses,'' cornerback Lydell Sargeant said.
He stopped short of saying the Beavers will cause matchup problems, but Sargeant did add the secondary will ''have to step up to play a good game.''
Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao completed 34-of-54 passes for 404 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He averaged only 7.5 yards per attempt, possibly a telling statistic for this week.
Penn State's defensive backs play well off receivers and willingly give up the short routes. Oregon State ran primarily those kinds of routes against Stanford, settling for the underneath stuff rather than throwing downfield a lot.
Translation: The Beavers' offense may be on the field quite a bit and pick up a bunch of first downs Saturday if it chooses the pass-happy strategy.
Sammie Stroughter caught 12 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon State's loss, while Shane Morales had 13 receptions for 151 yards and one score.
''I think they're very good,'' Paterno said of the receiving corps. ''I am concerned about them. In fact, [the coaching staff] had a long talk Sunday night about it.''
Paterno watched the Oregon State game on TV and came away ''very impressed with them, and I'm very impressed with their quarterback.''
SUBHD: The flipside
Oregon State might be able to move the ball, but will the Beavers be able to stop Penn State's offense?
The oddsmakers don't think so as the Lions are favored by a lofty 16 points. What does that type of point spread mean to PSU's players?
''Good for us, I guess,'' receiver Jordan Norwood said. ''I don't know. We're not supposed to pay attention to it, and I could care so much less about that that I'm going to forget it when I walk out the door.''
The Beavers are not a smash-mouth team and could get manhandled at the line of scrimmage by the Lions' strong offensive and defensive lines. Oregon State gave up 210 yards rushing to Stanford, a team that went 4-8 last season and doesn't have the tradition of a power running game like Penn State.
SUBHD: Quarterback competition
Daryll Clark will start for PSU, so again there are questions of when Pat Devlin will play and how much.
Paterno said he patted Devlin on the back after Saturday's game and told him, ''Hey, nice going. You had a good day. Keep concentrating.''
JoePa said he told Clark, ''Now you got that one behind you. Maybe you can relax a little bit more.''
Paterno mentioned he has no problem with a little competition at quarterback. That competition likely will continue, too, since Clark has two years of eligibility and Devlin three.
''When you come into a program such as this one, you've got to figure there's going to be some competition,'' Paterno said.
SUBHD: PSU in the polls
The Lions moved up three spots to No. 19 in both The Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls this week.
SUBHD: Schedule shuffle
Penn State originally had been scheduled to play Arkansas State this week, but the Lions worked out a deal last season to drop ASU and bring in Oregon State instead.
The switch was lauded since it bumped a relative no-name school for one with a nice tradition from a power conference. But from a competition standpoint, it's conceivable Oregon State may not be as good of an opponent as the one removed from the schedule.
Arkansas State upset Texas A&M on the road in its opener, 18-14. That gave the Red Wolves - formerly called the Indians until the NCAA cracked down on those types of nicknames - one of the better wins in school history.
Penn State knows what it takes to beat Texas A&M, having just played the Aggies in the Alamo Bowl last season. Furthermore, Arkansas State barely lost at No. 4 Texas last year, 21-13, so the small school is used to big games in hostile environments.
Given Arkansas State's upset and Oregon State's loss at Stanford, the point spread for a PSU-ASU matchup this week might not have been much higher than the 16-point line against Oregon State.
Cory Giger is at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.