Oregon St. quarterback Sean Mannion had the time to throw for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Beavers' 44-21 win over Washington St. at Centurylink Field in Seattle. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Final Score: Oregon St. 44 Washington St. 21
Oregon St. never let off the throttle Saturday night, and pulled away from Washington St. for a dominant 44-21 win at Centurylink Field in Seattle.
The Cougars hung with the Beavers for the first third of the game, but Oregon St. then ran off 27 consecutive points, and dominated Washington St. in the process.
Oregon St. quarterback Sean Mannion had time to throw all night, a combination of the best job by the Beavers' offensive line since the win over USC last November, and an inept Cougar pass rush. The result was Mannion completing 26 of 34 passes, to 11 different receivers, for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns, to 4 different receivers.
The Beavers also had a healthy Malcolm Agnew for the first time since the start of the season, and Agnew came through with 103 or Oregon St.'s 175 total rushing yards, and a touchdown, on 23 carries.
Oregon St.'s offense was so dominant the Beavers didn't punt until there was less than a minute left in the game.
Malcolm Agnew cuts through a hole for some of the 103 yards he ran for against
The Beavers finished with 551 yards of total offense, the most since they piled up 567, coincidentally against the Cougars, in 2009.
While Oregon St.'s offense was rolling almost unchecked, Washington St. was never able to establish a running game, and came up with only 83 net yards rushing.
The Cougars' quarterback Jeff Tuel completed 11 of 13 passes in the first half, for 127 yards and a touchdown, but also was sacked 3 times, and didn't play after halftime.
"It's his left shoulder again," Washington St. coach Paul Wulff said after the game. "Right now, he is just very sore, and we still need to do some scans to see where he's at. We don't envision it being serious, though."
Marshall Lobestael took after the break, and completed only 10 of 20 passes, for just 105 yards, and a sack.
The Cougars also fumbled twice, not counting the one Carl Winston made, but was credited with Washington St.'s final touchdown on instead.
The Beavers put together sustained drive after sustained drive, scoring touchdowns on drives of 76 yards, 89 yards, 78 yards, and 75 yards, and getting a field goal out of a 91 yard drive that took nearly 8 minutes, after a Cougar punt had pinned them on their own 1 yard line.
As a result, Oregon St. held the ball over 9 minutes more than Washington St.
Brandin Cooks makes the 12 yard touchdown catch that capped an 89 yard drive,
putting Oregon St. ahead 14-7.
"Oregon State played the best football game I have ever seen them play," Wulff said. "They made every play possible, even when the ball was in the air, and converted everything. The bottom line is we couldn't force them to punt. That is the best they have played, and they should get credit for that."
"It looked like it to me," Oregon St. coach Mike Riley agreed. "We played hard, and we executed. I thought we blocked well up front, and as result, we seemed to run the ball pretty well, and the offensive line protected the quarterback, so he could throw the ball effectively."
Oregon St. broke open a tie game with 10 points late in the first half to take a 24-14 lead to the locker room, while bruising Tuel enough to sideline him.
But the game really got away from Washington St. in the third quarter.
The Beavers took the second half kickoff and drove 75 yards to open a 3 score lead, as Mannion hooked up with James Rodgers for 12 yards, and Joe "The Tank" Halahuni for a 25 yard touchdown, after winding up in a first down and 15 yard situation.
After forcing the Cougars to punt, and though Dan Wagner pinned the at their own one yard line, Mannion engineered the 91 yard that that pushed into the fourth quarter before bogging down. The second of Trevor Romaine's three field goals made it a 20 point game again.
Lobbestael's best pass of the game went for 38 yards to Iaiah Barton, and a couple of penalties, one a phantom holding call on a player that replay showed never made contact with the player he supposedly held, plus the fumble at the goal line that was ruled a touchdown for Carl Winston, gave Cougar fans some false hope, as they again trailed by only 13 points, with still 11 minutes to play.
But Mannion crushed the Cougars hopes with completions of 20 yards to Rodgers and 21 to Marcus Wheaton, below, who was the game's leading receiver, with 99 yards on 5 catches, and then an 18 yard scoring toss to Clayton York, to reopen the lead to 41-21.
The Oregon St. defense held Washington St. to a 1-2-3-4 turnover on downs possession, and Romaine tacked on another field goal. Rashaad Reynolds, who had been burned twice earlier in the game for a big gains, including by Marquees Wilson for the Cougars' first touchdown, got some revenge for that with an interception off of Lobbestael on the next play from scrimmage, and the Beavers had revenge for last season's 31-14 loss to the Cougars.
Just a handful under 50,000 watched the Beavers spoil the Cougars' annual Seattle game, on a dry and surprisingly comfortable night, given the earlier forecast for showery weather.
Dylan Wynn recovered both of Washington St.'s fumbles, giving him five on the year, which is a new Oregon St. single season record, and Scott Crichton forced both of the fumbles, as the Beavers' young defensive ends created havoc in the Cougar backfield all night.
Oregon St. was not without issues in the blowout win, however, as coverage assignment problems allowed for several big completions. Had Tuel not been knocked out of the game, the Beavers might have needed every point they put up.
The kick coverage was also not up to recent Beaver standards on a couple of occasions.
Oregon St. also was flagged 14 times for 120 yards, though the exact numbers for both teams on penalties were seriously skewed by dubious calls and non calls that left both sidelines steaming.
Nevertheless, Oregon St. improved to 2-5 on the season, and more importantly, 2-2 in the Pac-12 North, and in fourth place. The win was only their 4th in their last 14 games, and first on the road since the win at Arizona last year in which Rodgers suffered his season ending knee injury.
Just as Rodgers' absence had seemingly destroyed the Beavers' confidence, especially on the road, his contributions against the Cougars, 38 yards on 4 catches, including a critical 3rd down conversion late in the game, plus a 19 yard fly sweep, above, seemed to re-instill the killer instinct into Oregon St., who now heads for Salt Lake City, for a date next week with Utah.
The Utes (3-4, 0-4) dropped a 34-10 decision today to California (4-3, 1-3) in San Francisco.
The Cougars (3-4, 1-3), having lost 3 games in a row, and 4 of their last 5, head to Eugene to face Oregon next Saturday. The Ducks (6-1, 4-0) destroyed Colorado (1-7, 0-4) 45-2 in Boulder, after jumping to a 29-0 first quarter lead.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)