Jacquizz Rodgers (1) scores one of his three rushing touchdowns against California. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Final Score: Oregon St. 35 California 7
Oregon St. continued its hex on California, winning their fourth straight game against the Bears, this time by a 35-7 score, and it wasn't that close. The Beavers had a 28-0 lead at halftime, after scoring on each of their first four possessions, and proceeded to score on their first possession of the third quarter.
Jacquizz Rodgers ran 22 times for 119 yards, and more importantly, three touchdowns for Oregon St. Rodgers also threw an 11 yard touchdown pass to Colby Prince for the Beavers' first score, and caught a ball for 11 more yards, and a first down.
"We have worked on that play all week, and it is something that we bring out around Halloween time," ‘Quizz commented. "I kind of made a mistake on the throw, underthrowing, but Colby (Prince) adjusted, and made the catch, which now makes me 2-for-2 in my college career in completing that pass."
Oregon St.'s Colby Prince catches his first career touchdown pass.
Oregon St. also on several occasions showed a new look, with ‘Quizz at fullback, and Marcus Wheaton, usually a wide receiver, at tailback. California's defense seemed completely unsure what to expect from that twist.
"Offensively, I think that was the key, we did have them (Cal's defense) off balance," Oregon St. coach Mike Riley observed. "If they could just hunker down there and play the run or rush the passer, it was going to be tough. But Danny (Langsdorf) called a great game, guys made plays, and there was just a great mixture there that I think was the key to the first half."
Cal didn't score until there were only 20 seconds left, and had more than half of their passing yards, and 45% of their total yards from scrimmage, in the last two minutes of the game, long after Oregon St. had cleared the bench, and most of the 45,439 fans in attendance, the fourth largest crowd in Reser Stadium history, had headed for some Homecoming weekend post-game Halloween parties.
Cal also lost senior quarterback Kevin Riley (13, below), from Beaverton, OR, to an apparent MCL injury that will end his college career, on the Bears' second drive of the game.
Junior Brock Mansion took over for Riley, and completed 14 of 24 passes, for 138 yards, but 6 of those completions, for 93 yards, came on Cal's final drive.
"After Kevin Riley went down, we knew they were going to rely on their run game," Oregon St. linebacker Dwight Roberson said. "So we started to bring the pressure. Coach (Mark) Banker made the right calls, and we got a couple of sacks in the process too."
Oregon St.'s Dwight Roberson (59) sacks California quarterback Brock Mansion (10).
The Bears have now lost 10 of the last 12 against the Beavers, and Cal coach Jeff Tedford fell to 2-6 against Mike Riley, who coached Tedford when both were in the Canadian Football League.
Rodgers moved to 14th. all time in rushing in the Pac-10, passing Justin Forsett and Russell White of Cal, and USC's O.J. Simpson.
"They went right up and down the field," Tedford said afterwards. "We knew Jacquizz was a great player, but they pretty much did everything they wanted. Their quarterback played well, they protected him well, and he made a lot of plays."
Ryan Katz (12, below) completed 20 of 27 passes for 184 yards, and a 17 yard touchdown to TE Joe Halahuni, for Oregon St. Katz completed passes to six receivers, and showed much better decision making than against Washington.
Oregon St.'s Joe Halahuni (87) headed for a touchdown, with Alex Linnenkohl (60) running interference.
But it was the Oregon St. defense that really made the difference. The Beavers sacked Riley and Mansion five times, allowed Cal tailback Shane Vereen only 53 yards on 12 carries, and yielded only 23 total net rushing yards, once sacks were figured into the totals.
Oregon St.'s Dwight Roberson (59) deflects a pass by Cal's Brock Mansion (10).
Cal utilized the "wildcat" with Vereen taking the snap with some regularity, but Vereen's only apparent option was to run. As a result, it was only minimally effective, especially contrasted to the success Oregon St. had from the "Wild Beaver", where 'Quizz employed the fly sweep and passing, as well as his own running.
Cal was so bottled up that by the mid-point of the third quarter, they had already run 16 plays where they needed more than 10 yards for a first down, and had 1 net rushing yard.
Only Keenan Allen, who added 106 yards on 6 kickoff returns to his 65 yards on 8 catches for 171 total yards for the Bears, could be considered to have had a decent day for Cal.
Oregon St.'s Jordan Poyer (14) tackles Cal's Keenan Allen.
Jordan Poyer, who also contributed 74 yards on kick returns, led Oregon St. with 4 tackles and 2 assists, while Keith Pankey had 3 tackles and 3 assists, and Brandon Hardin added 4 tackles, including an emphatic pile drive tackle, and an assist, for the Beaver defense.
Oregon St.'s Brandon Hardin (17) brings down Cal's Shane Vereen (34).
Halahuni had 4 catches for 52 yards, and Wheaton had 6 catches for 57 yards, to go with 6 carries, on fly sweeps and swing passes, for 73 more yards, for Oregon St. Wheaton, who recovered from a sore ankle that had plagued him against Washington during the bye week, showed major progress in filling in for James Rodgers, who is out for the season after knee surgery this week, on the fly sweep. Aaron Nichols also had 4 catches.
Oregon St.'s Marcus Wheaton (2) follows a block by Aaron Nichols (46).
Aaron Nichols hauls in one of his 4 catches against Cal for Oregon St.
Cal further complicated things for themselves with a dozen penalties for 103 yards, several of which were the product of mis-communications in the face of noise from the Oregon St. crowd.
"Oregon State played very well, and we made way too many mistakes," Tedford felt. "We had a lot of penalties and, you know, then, we couldn't stop them. They played great on offense. We didn't force them to punt until the second half. And we didn't do much on offense. Kevin went down, and that kind of limits us, but give their defense credit as well. So, way too many mistakes."
For Oregon St. (4-3, 3-1), the win, after a bye week, reflected an excellent job of making adjustments, after dropping a 35-34 double overtime contest at Washington in their last outing.
"Today's win was a statement game for us," ‘Quizz said. "After coming off of that tough loss last week, and then bouncing back with a great win like this, it could not have gone any better. I see the win as motivation to get the team as a whole back onto the right track. We need to build from this each week and continue to climb the latter. I am hard on us as a team, because I know what we are capable of. Today we came out to prove that we could play well."
For California (4-4, 2-3), who came in off a 50-17 rout of Arizona St. last week, their third game this season where they scored 50 or more points, it continued a pattern of playing spectacularly at home, and terrible, usually to the point of being uncompetitive, away from Berkeley.
Oregon St. visits UCLA (3-5, 1-4) next Saturday at 4 PM, in a game to be shown on Versus. The Bruins lost a close 29-21 decision to #15 Arizona today. The ‘Cats led wire to wire, but could never put UCLA away until the end.
Cal stays on the road next week, for a visit to Pullman to play Washington St. (1-8, 0-6) at 1 PM. The Cougars were clobbered 42-0 in Tempe by Arizona St. today.
Despite some drizzle, it was a darn good day to be a Beaver, especially compared
to being a Bear, in Benny's estimation.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)