Turning Point - Special Blunders

The lone bright spot. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a game where the Beavers struggled to compete, mistakes were what would completely finish off the Beavs.

This game was in USC's control for essentially the whole game. Oregon State struggled to stem the flow of momentum for the entire game and only made one play that affected the stranglehold that the Trojans were applying.

In the second quarter the Beavers still had some life and had just pulled back to within 7 on a Brandin Cooks touchdown. Romaine booted the ball for a touchback and it was time for the Beaver defense to hold the Trojan offense, in order to maintain some momentum. They would exceed that expectation.

The defensive line got pressure on Cody Kessler and he forced a throw deep into double coverage and Ryan Murphy went up and snatched up the pick. He then took the ball and streaked down the sideline and would have been met before the end zone but he vaulted into the air, where he landed in the end zone. The game was tied back up after a Romaine extra point, and suddenly the Beavs were back on equal footing despite playing a pretty poor game so far.

USC continued to beat down the Beavs though, answering with a 10 play, 75 yard touchdown drive. And after the Trojans opened the second half with a field goal, the Beavers were one failed drive away from ceding absolute control of the game. Sean Mannion struck once to Richard Mullaney for a first down, and then was followed with a fly sweep to Brandin Cooks for 29 yards. Mannion would then hit Cooks for a 17 yard gain and the Beavs looked like they were finally in sync. From there the offense sputtered though, resulting in a fourth down from the USC 9.

A field goal would have moved the game back to a one score difference, and the Beavers would have still had a shot, but Romaine shanked the 26 yard field goal. For an Oregon State team that has been excellent in the red zone for most of the year, this was an absolute failure, especially with how the USC defense had been playing, points were certainly at a premium.

After that the Beaver defense got smashed en route to a USC touchdown, and although OSU would muster one more decent drive, it already felt like it was too little, too late. USC was dominating on both lines and the Beavers had lost control of them, namely the Trojan run game which was just chewing up yards and time. In fact USC ended up with a 12 minute advantage in time of possession.

There were just too many opportunities left on the field for the Beavs to beat a USC team who came to play. All the red zone failures stand out the most as that was at least nine points that should have been on the board for the Beavs, and the blocked field goal was just as bad of a contributor. For the Beavs to handle any of their remaining opponents it will require mistake free football.

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