Beavers down another ranked opponent
Yes we are in the Top 25.
With just one game under their belt entering Saturday’s conference opener, the Oregon State Beavers were mostly untested.
Sure, a win against then #13 ranked Wisconsin did wonders for their confidence, and certainly turned a few heads, but were the Beavers for real or did they just catch an overrated Wisconsin team on a bad day?
Saturday’s PAC-12 opener against the #19 UCLA Bruins (3-0 at the time) helped answer that question, as the Beavers cruised to a 27-20 victory down in Pasadena.
Playing in front of a little over 54,000 people at the legendary Rose Bowl, the Oregon State Beavers, led this week by Sean Mannion and the OSU offense, stunned the Bruins in a game where they never trailed.
After the win, the Beavers (2-0, 1-0 PAC 12) find themselves ranked #18 in the AP poll, and are quickly becoming one of the more talked about teams in the country.
Offensive Game Ball
Whenever somebody sets a career record they deserve every bit of recognition in this column. Sean Mannion, who is progressing in to a less turnover prone version of Derek Anderson, dazzled Saturday setting a career high in passing yards with 379.
Finishing the day 24-35, and adding two scores to go along with the 379 yards, Mannion looked poised throughout the contest and showed that the Beavers do, in fact, have a high powered offense.
Mannion’s first score, a 75 yard TD to speedster Brandin Cooks, came on the first play of a drive early in the 2nd quarter. Cooks ran a quick 8 yard slant when Mannion hit him in the hands and then he took off, outrunning the UCLA secondary and giving the Beavers a 7 point lead.
As impressive as it was to see Cooks turn on the jets and rack up some serious YAC, it was Mannion’s second touchdown that displayed his arm strength, and accuracy.
With 5:30 left in the 2nd quarter the Beaver’s dialed up a deep route for wideout Markus Wheaton, who was able to gain a step on his defender before Mannion threw a bomb to connect with him in the endzone.
This score put the Beavers up 17-3 and showed that Oregon State was in complete control on both sides of the ball.
Defensive Game Ball
Two weeks ago I was gushing about the Oregon State defense, and their ability to limit Heisman hopeful Montee Ball from scoring a touchdown, or reaching the century mark on the ground.
This week the defense has done it again.
Scott Crichton, who gets the game ball on defense this week, played an outstanding game Saturday and practically lived in the UCLA backfield for four quarters. Crichton, registering 6 solo tackles, 3 for a loss and 2 sacks, was one of the main reasons why UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin was never able to get going in the game.
Franklin, the nation’s leading rusher entering Saturday’s contest, was stifled all day and could only register 50 yards on 12 carries; Crichton and the stout OSU defense also kept Franklin out of the endzone.
With yet another impressive performance in the books, the OSU defense is quickly establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the PAC-12. They’ll be tested yet again this week when they travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats.
Special Teams Game Ball
While much of the attention surrounding the Beavers is the incredible play of the defense, and the progression of second year quarterback Sean Mannion, Trevor Romaine has quietly put together a strong start to his season.
On Saturday Romaine connected on both of his field goal attempts, from 22 and 17 yards, and knocked through all three of his extra point opportunities.
This kind of consistency is one the Beavers hope Romaine will be able to provide all year long.
Total Yards – 501
Passing – 24-35 – 379 yards – 10.8 YPA
Rushing – 41 carries – 122 yards – 3.0 YPC
1st Downs – 25
Penalties – 9-90 yards
TOP – 34:36
Sean Mannion: 24-35, 379 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Storm Woods: 21 rushes, 96 yards, 1 TD, 4.6 avg.
Markus Wheaton: 9 receptions, 150 yards, 1 TD, 16.7 avg., 1 rush, 10 yards
Brandin Cooks: 6 receptions, 175 yards, 1 TD, 29.2 avg., 2 rushes, 11 yards