Sloppy play sinks Beavers
Defense hangs tough
There are two things to note about the Beavers defensive play.
1. You can’t expect to come out against Oregon and completely shut them down. OSU didn’t do that, but they made plenty of big plays. The Beavers had a lot of tackles in the backfield, and played stellar defense downfield.
2. When your teammates cough up the ball as many times as the Beavers did—and as quickly as the Beavers did—you’re going to get tired
Oregon State’s defense hung tough all day. They were explosive up the middle, and were surprisingly fast on the edges. But with the third quarter turnover implosion, they could only do so much given how much time they were on the field.
Running tandem plays well
The Beavers kept their running game hot, and relied on their tailback tandem of Storm Woods and Terron Ward to shred the clock and move the ball.
Woods finished his day with 70 yards and two touchdowns. He got his usual receptions as well, garnering 42 yards receiving.
Woods had great awareness all day, and might have had his best looking game of the season.
Ward was less vital on offense, but finished his day with 13 yards rushing and 15 receiving. But the explosive runner was phenomenal in the return game, with 101 yards on four returns.
Despite the score, I was really impressed with the coaching in this game.
Riley executed well on offense, and knew when to take risks. He called a strong final drive to run out the clock in the 2nd, keeping OSU within a touchdown.
Mark Banker had a good defensive game plan. He put a lot of pressure on Oregon’s tailbacks, but did so without taking away from the secondary.
Both men should be proud of the days they had.
Giving up a lot on the ground
As I said above, I think the defense played as good a game as anyone could have hoped for. They were aggressive, showed some speed and did their best to keep Oregon in check.
But that doesn’t dismiss the damage that was done.
The D took a while to get things ramped up in the first quarter, and they gave up a lot on the ground. Tackling was a problem at times, which is something they’ve been fantastic at all season long.
At the end of the day, the Ducks finish with 425 yards rushing, which is far too much from this Beavers team.
I’m not going to get on Sean Mannion here. He did have four interceptions, but two were off tremendous defensive efforts. The Beavs QB played a hard fought game, and played as well as he could with the momentum never in his favor.
The turnovers that killed OSU were on special teams.
After the Beavs return game became a difference maker in the first half, the Ducks made the decision to constantly kick away or kick on the ground.
As a result, Oregon State had back-to-back turnovers on returns. They were completely uncharacteristic of Riley’s fundamental first football.
Being forced to stay on the field for that long in the third, the defense eventually lost all momentum to the Ducks. And the Beavers finished their day with six turnovers, leading to 21 points for UO.
To be honest, when I looked at Markus Wheaton‘s final stat line I was stunned to see he had 98 receiving yards.
It felt like Wheaton was a non factor in this game. The Beavs speedy receiver had a plethora of drops and bobbles. He was great at breaking through the secondary, but constant miscues killed what should have been huge gains.
Wheaton also had OSU’s second special teams turnover on a punt in the third quarter.
With the ball floating away from the returners, Wheaton made an aggressive play to get the fair catch. Instead of just letting the ball drop around midfield, he made an attempt at a diving catch. The result was a fumble that inevitably sealed the deal for an Oregon win.