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Jackson, other receivers to test depleted backfield
CORVALLIS -- Oregon State sophomore cornerback Tim Clark faces a daunting challenge. Clark, who is expected to make his first career start Saturday at No. 2 California in place of Keenan Lewis (knee strain), will find himself matched up against DeSean Jackson at some point. Jackson leads the Golden Bears with 28 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He is coming off a career-high 11 catch, 161-yard performance against Oregon. A Heisman Trophy candidate, Jackson has returned six punts for touchdowns in his career. "I'm definitely looking forward to the opportunity to be matched up with DeSean Jackson," Clark said. "They say he's one of the best receivers I'm going to go against, and I'm just excited to go out and compete with him and have some fun." Lewis, who is considered the Beavers' best cover corner, was injured in the second quarter of Saturday's 31-16 victory against Arizona. He is expected to be out two or three weeks. The Beavers also could be without strong safety Daniel Drayton (groin pull), who missed the Arizona game.
"I feel like I have a lot of experience now with a couple games under my belt," said Clark, who had four tackles and a pass breakup against the Wildcats. "Keenan's doing everything to help me off the field, watching film with me, telling me what I need to watch for." In addition to Jackson, the Bears feature wideouts Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins. Quarterback Nate Longshore has completed 63.8 percent of his passes. OSU plays primarily man-to-man defense, and Clark will be tested Saturday. "Every corner that plays the game is going to be isolated at times and he's got to make plays," coach Mike Riley said. "Timmy Clark's a good player. We see him as a younger version of the two guys that start (Lewis and Brandon Hughes) and so we're very confident in his play." Stroughter update: Split end Sammie Stroughter, who will pursue a medical redshirt because of a bruised kidney, is expected to be on the Beavers' sideline during games for the remainder of the season.
Although Stroughter could make himself eligible for the 2008 NFL draft, that scenario is unlikely. He is expected to graduate winter quarter. "I think he's going to go to school and play football for the Beavers for another year," Riley said. Although Stroughter played in just three games this season, he leads the team with two touchdown receptions. Dominant defense: The Beavers lead the nation in rushing defense, allowing 43.3 yards per game. They are tied for second in quarterback sacks with 26, paced by defensive ends Victor Butler and Slade Norris with 5 1/2 apiece. OSU gave up just nine yards rushing in the Arizona game. "We're going into the game saying, 'You're not going to run against us,'" Norris said.
Turnover story: Oregon continues to have the dubious distinction as the national leader with 23 turnovers. Quarterback Sean Canfield has thrown the most interceptions (13).
Bernard piling up yardage: Tailback Yvenson Bernard is third in the Pac-10 and 22nd in the nation in rushing, with an average of 107 yards per game. Bernard has rushed for 642 yards and seven touchdowns this season.