Sean Mannion was the star of the Beavers' 27-20 win. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Oregon State improved to 2-0 with two wins over ranked opponents Saturday, and in doing so they proved the win over Wisconsin wasn't a fluke.
Ignoring turnovers on consecutive plays, Sean Mannion played very well. He completed 24 of 35 attempts, racking up 379 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both touchdown passes were absolute beauties, the first led a crossing Brandin Cooks perfectly, and Cooks' speed did the rest. Markus Wheaton's speed did most of the work on Mannion's second touchdown, beating his man with a move to the inside and eventually catching a Mannion touch pass that was placed right where it needed to be.
The Beavers defense was also stellar, although they did soften up in the second half. Bruins QB Brett Hundley rushed for just one first down, and 32 yards overall. Former Heisman candidate Jonathan Franklin was limited to 45 yards on the ground, making him the second Heisman candidate to be bottled up by Mark Banker's defense. The Beavers defended the pass well enough, consistently getting pressure on Hundley without needing to send in any extra pass rushers. The blemish on their record is the 65 yard touchdown pass surrendered to Shaquelle Evans towards the end of the first half. UCLA scored 10 of their 20 points in the 4th quarter, a result of the tired Oregon State defense slowing down in the LA heat. The Beavers gave up 4 passing plays of over 25 yards in the second half, but they still managed to hold on and, as the cliché goes, bent but didn't break.
Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton combined for 325 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns, showing just how dangerous this Oregon State offense is. In total, the Beavers had 10 players catch a pass, combining for 384 yards. The rushing offense was underwhelming for most of the game, but towards the end of the game Storm Woods took advantage of the tired UCLA defense, picking up bigger chunks of yardage, and finishing with a quiet 96 yards and one touchdown. That is an area that needs to be improved for the Beavers.
Have to give a mention to both the offensive and defensive lines. The O-line did struggle at times, letting Bruin blitzers get into the backfield more often than they should have, but in general did enough to give Mannion the time he needed.
And a mention of penalties is also obligatory. There were some crucial ones called against the Beavs. The first was a roughing the passer call on Rudolf Fifita, keeping a first quarter UCLA drive alive. O-lineman Grant Enger was called for tripping when he leg-whipped a Bruin defender, a block that sprung Storm Woods for what would've been a 50 yard touchdown pass. Rueben Robinson was called (wrongly) for a late hit out of bounds on a third down Hundley scramble, extending that drive. A few very costly penalties that will need to be cleaned up.
And a quick note that no Beavers appeared to be injured in this game. Some players, like Woods, Rashaad Reynolds, and Ryan Murphy, cramped up, but beyond that everybody stayed healthy.
Overall, a very good game, and one that will get Oregon State into the top 25. Andy will have a full recap posted later.
For now, give your thoughts, no matter how hesitantly positive they are, comment on other games, and just speak your mind in the comments.