The Oregon State football team has arrived at the foot of the mountain.
After cruising along the flatlands of a fairly easy early schedule, the Beavers face a road through a rugged final five games.
After a stunning season-opening home loss to Eastern Washington, the Beavers have reeled off six straight wins. It wasn't all easy. The win at Utah now looks pretty impressive and San Diego State has won three in a row to even its record since playing OSU.
That's nice, but we're now talking No. 8 Stanford, a solid USC team, a trip to No. 26 Arizona State, highly-regarded Washington and then No. 2 Oregon in Autzen Stadium.
"This is murderers' row right here," offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said on Monday. "This starts with the No. (8) team in the country and it's going to be tough."
The good news is the Beavers get Stanford at home at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Utah was able to hand Stanford its only loss of the season in Salt Lake City.
"It's going to take our best game and we're really, truly trying to focus on this week," Langsdorf said. "Knowing what's ahead, there's a lot of very good teams out there that we have to play yet. There's a lot of football left in the season.
"So we have to gear ourselves up for a big game this weekend and try and knock these guys off."
Langsdorf said the way the schedule turned out was just luck of the draw
"I think it just happened to get kind of backloaded this year," he said. "But our conference is tough and some of the teams we've beaten in our conference are a little bit down right now but those aren't easy games still."
STOPPING CAL: Facing one of the better passing teams in the country, the Beavers came up strong on defense last Saturday and held California to three points at the half in a 49-17 win.
The Golden Bears finished with 366 total yards, 291 passing.
"I thought we ran to the ball as well as we've run to the ball all season," defensive coordinator Mark Banker said.
"We had a lot of short stuff on the outside game and stuff like that and guys were just taking off and going straight down the line of scrimmage and just getting after it."
Banker said the Beavers attained most of the goals set for the game.
"One of our goals was to make sure we shut down the run game early and turn it into a pass game, and we did that," he said. "The other was making tackles on the outside and handling the deep ball and making sure everything stayed in front of us."
GROUND OUT: The Beavers rushed for 74 yards and threw for 496 against the Bears.
Langsdorf acknowledged the need to run the ball consistently but pointed to the big numbers in the pass game.
"That's still something that we'd like to improve on, but also, when you're throwing for 500 yards, you're getting that production a different way and that's been working for us and so we've stuck with it," Langsdorf said. "But we would certainly like more production in the run game and that will help our balance and we're always at our best when we're more balanced."
BOLDEN'S ANKLE: Freshman receiver/kickoff returner Victor Bolden left Saturday's game on a cart with an ankle injury and missed Monday's practice.
Langsdorf said Bolden should be fine.
"He's OK," Langsdorf said. "He didn't practice (Monday) but we're going to keep giving him treatment and hopefully we'll get him back (today)."