Final Score: Oregon State 48, Washington 21
It's hard to believe, but yes-- Washington did beat USC eight weeks ago, and Arizona five weeks ago
It's been that kind of year in the Pac-10. You never know what to expect week to week, but one thing is for certain: the Beavers are improving, and they're better now then they were when they lost games to Cincinnati, Arizona, and USC.
The Beavers are much more dynamic on offense. It was evident in the first half of Saturday's game--as it was last week-- that Oregon State simply didn't need to run the ball at times. The ground game with Quizz has been the bread and butter of the offense the past couple years, but with Sean Canfield playing out of his backside, the Beavers aren't as reliant on the run game. Quizz still got his yards though: 18 carries for 159 isn't a bad day at all, but half of those yards came on two plays.
It didn't hurt that UW's offensive line was no match for Steven Paea and the Oregon State defensive front. I heard on the radio broadcast that the starting left guard for the Huskies only lasted three plays before he got yanked. The first two Washington plays from scrimmage were both Chris Polk runs that went for a combined -4 yards-- the Huskies would battle to break even on rushing yards all throughout the first quarter. Three tackles for loss and one sack later, and the first quarter ended with Washington at (-1) in the rushing category.
Oregon State's opening drive of the game was just ugly-- Canfield was sacked on the first play then completed a couple passes for short gains. But their second drive was jump-started by a marvelous interception by senior Keaton Kristick that put the Beavers at the Washington 17 yard-line. James rushed for 14 yards to set up a nice play-action touchdown from Canfield to tight end Joe Halahuni. It was Halahuni's 27th reception of the year, but his first career Oregon State touchdown.
The Huskies would get a first down on their next drive, but after the Beaver defense shut down the Husky offense again, UW punter Will Mahan managed to boot a laughable 7-yard punt that set the Beavers up in prime field position for their next drive.
That drive included a humorous play in which Danny Langsdorf deployed the WildBeaver formation. Quizz handed the ball of to James on a fly sweep but the handoff wasn't made clean-- the ball dropped to the turf, and Quizz recovered the ball and ran for a nice three or four yard gain. A few plays later the Beavers tried to work magic with the Rodgers brothers on a reverse play, but that didn't really work either: Quizz flipped it to James, who was stuffed for a nice loss of about 8 yards. Canfield would hit Rodgers with a pass on the ensuing third down play that got the Beavers into field goal range, and Justin Kahut saved the day with a 44-yard field goal to make the score 10-0.
Ryan McCants made an appearance on the next OSU drive. He got a handoff, ran for a quick seven yards, then whoop! Lost the ball. Luckily, Alex Linnenkohl was there, and everything was okay. The Beavers would get another field goal on the drive, and take a 13-0 lead.
OSU sacked Locker for the second and third time of the day on UW's first drive of the second quarter. They'd get the ball back near the UW 30-yard line after a punt, but Quizz changed that on one play as he rushed up the middle for 44 yards to get into Husky territory. Canfield found Jordan Bishop for a 22 yard gain on a 3rd and 8 play, then found James Rodgers in the end zone for a six yard touchdown a few plays later, and everybody was happy: Beavers 21, Huskies 0.
It was on this drive that Quizz hurt his left leg somehow. Some speculated that he received a hip pointer on a 4-yard run that preceded the aforementioned touchdown catch by James, but he would re-enter the game in the second half looking better than before.
Before halftime, the Huskies would run 9 plays, take up 5 minutes of clock, and score-- then the Beavers countered with ten plays in 1:51 and another James Rodgers touchdown reception. The Beavers ran ten consecutive pass plays on the drive, and why not? Quizz was being attended to on the sideline, and if the passing game ain't broke, don't fix it. Quizz did run for 64 yards in the first half, but most of those came on a 44-yard run. Jake Locker was 7-of-10 passing at the half for just 39 yards.
The second half began with a 84-yard kickoff return by James Rodgers that came one yard away from being a kickoff return for a touchdown then Quizz would get the glory on an ensuing 1-yard touchdown run. Oregon State would move the ball at ease again on their next drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, and another Jaquizz Rodgers touchdown made the score 41-7 in favor of the Beavers.
By the time the third quarter came to a close, the game was over, but many of the Beaver starters remained in the game for much of the fourth quarter. The Beavers even broke out the WildBeaver again late in the fourth quarter, leading by four touchdowns. Quizz took the snap and ran up the middle for a 44-yard game that significantly padded his stats: he finished the game with 18 rushes for 159 yards.
Ryan Katz and some of the second string backs came in on Oregon State's final drive, and it started with OSU having to take a timeout because of some sort of confusion at the line of scrimmage. OSU would pick up a first down, then punt to the Huskies, who managed to score again with about a minute on the clock, making the final score seem closer than the game really was: Beavers 48, Huskies 21.
The Huskies recovered to gain a fair 274 yards of offense-- 121 on the ground. But the Beavers defense made it seem like less than that, and were really all over Chris Polk and Jake Locker all day. Locker was sacked four times in the game, but felt the pressure of the likes of Steven Paea and Brennan Olander more than that.
Sean Canfield finished the day 21-of-29 passing for 185 yards and four tochdowns-- two to James Rodgers, and two to Joe Halahuni. Halahuni's only two catches of the day went for touchdowns, his first two as a Beaver.
Mike Riley, who notched his 63rd win at Oregon State, was very happy with the result after the game: "It was like last week. We were really ready to play, but it didn't start of smoothly. Defensively, we were all over them and we never lost focus, it just seemed very workmanlike yet passionate at the same time. Guys kept going and making plaays, and it was really fun to see all the phases of the game today."
It's easy to quote players and coaches about the game, but it may have been a Husky fan that I overheard in the parking lot following the game who summed it up best:
"I'm drinking all the way home."