Final Score: Oregon State 31, California 14
It was billed to be a marquee matchup between two of the premier running backs in the Pac-10 conference.
It ended up being a quarterback competition, with Sean Canfield in one corner for the Beavers, and Kevin Riley in another for the Bears.
It was obvious that Cal's defensive gameplan was to stop Jacquizz Rodgers, and Oregon State's intention was to stop Jahvid Best. Plain and simple. Both teams did a fairly good job at accomplishing this task. The Beavers held Jahvid Best to just 29 yards on the 9 carries he received before leaving the game due to injury. He left the game with six minutes remaining in the second quarter, so he could have done more damage, but OSU's defense was holding him to just over three yards per carry.
Cal seemed to be using some sort of "spy" defense, putting one player in charge of following Rodgers wherever he went. That may have worked-- Quizz had 14 yards on 14 carries at one point-- but it allowed for Sean Canfield to pick apart the Cal secondary throughout the game. It forced Canfield to beat the Bears through the air-- which he did.
Canfield was 29 of 39 passing in the game, racking up 342 yards. He threw two touchdowns and a pick. I felt that even his interception was a well thrown ball that the defender made a good play on, although it did give Cal a glimmer of hope in the game. But that glimmer disspeared when Cal QB Kevn RIley turned right around and threw an interception of his own to Lance Mitchell, which he returned all the way down to the Cal 15. The Beavers couldn't score from there, but a Justin Kahut field goal put the Beavers up 24-7.
Joe Halahuni caught six passes for a career high 128 yards. It's his second 100-yard game of the year, and he has quickly become one of Canfield's best options over the middle.
The Beavers got on the scoreboard first when Sean Canfield ran in for a 1-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. A 48-yard pass from Canfield to Halahuni got the Beavers into the red zone and set up the scoring opportunity.
The Cal offense then went three-and-out, and the Beavers were back in business again. James Rodgers gave the Beaver offense a nice boost on the first play of the drive, rushing right for 28 yards. Canfield hooked up with Damola Adeniji for a 32 yard gain that put the Beavers inside Cal's 30. All it took was a pass to Halahuni and a pass to James Rodgers, and the Beavers were up 14-0.
Cal's ensuing drive went 81 yards in 14 plays and took up nearly eight minutes of clock. It ended with Jahvid Best somersaulting into the end zone for the fateful touchdown after which he left the field on a gurney. The 7-yard score was one of Best's longest runs in the game-- he finished with 29 yards on 9 carries.
Oregon State answered with another touchdown on a four minute drive. Jordan Bishop scored his first touchdown of his OSU career to put the Beavers up 21-7, which would be the eventual score at halftime.
Neither team could get much going in the third quarter. As mentioned above, Canfield gave the Bears a chance to sneak back into the game with an interception on the third play of the half, but three plays later Riley gave the ball right back to the Beavers. OSU got a field goal there-- then couldn't score on their next three drives.
A frustrated Jacquizz Rodgers got into the scoring mix on the Beavers' second drive of the fourth quarter, scoring on a 24-yard run. That run accounted for about thirty-five percent of his offensive production in the game, but I'd argue that Jacquizz was one of the most valuable players for the Beavers in the game. Because Cal keyed so heavily on him, he was essentially taken out of the game, but it allowed for Canfield to attack the Bears through the air all night long. I'm sure it's frustrating for Jacquizz not to get his normal yards and to have a normal dominating performance on the ground, but he played a much bigger role in Saturday's game than the stat-sheet indicates.
His fourth quarter touchdown did put Oregon State up 31-7 with just a couple of minutes left in the game. Cal was able to drive down the field and score in under a minute to move the score to 31-14, which would be the final.
Overall, I felt both the offense and defense played great. The defense stepped up to stop Jahvid Best, Shane Voreen, and the whole Cal ground attack. Kevin Riley picked up 200 yards in the air, but wasn't able to hurt the Beavers much. The Bears obviously are having some offensive line troubles, and Riley didn't have much time to throw. He was sacked twice, once by Gabe Miller and once by Keaton Kristick. Canfield won the quarterback battle, and Oregon State won the game.