Oregon St. offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf brought the "Wild Beaver" out of the lab, and it sparked a performance by a determined Jacquizz Rodgers that earned the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honor, and also the Rivals.com national player of the week award.
Starting with a 61 yard gain on the Beavers' opening drive, the formation produced positive results throughout the game, and led to a career night for Jacquizz, who ran for an Oregon St. record tieing 4 touchdowns, and 189 yards. Quizz also led the Beavers with 82 yards receiving, which was four yards short of making him the game's leading receiver.
Quizz's 4 touchdowns tied him with Pete Pfeifer, Bill "Earthquake" Enyart, Ken Simonton, and Steven Jackson for the Beavers' game high in rushing touchdown production. (Jackson's 5 touchdown Las Vegas bowl performance, with one receiving, is still the overall record.)
"People been talking bad about me in the papers, man," Rodgers said after the game. "They say, ‘Quizz hasn't rushed over 100 yards in three games,' so I took that personal."
Jacquizz Rodgers found running lanes from the 'Wild Beaver' set.
In the showdown of running backs with Stanford's Toby Gerhart, ‘Quizz more than doubled the total production of the Cardinal's star power back. Not that Gerhart had a bad game, but his 96 yards rushing was well below his above-130 yards per game average coming in, a tribute not only to the Oregon St. rush defense which gave Gerhart very few open holes, but to the offense as well.
Oregon St. scored on all five first half possessions, taking leads of 21-0 and 31-7. Jumping far ahead early quickly forced Stanford at least partially away from being able to run Gerhart as much as they would have had the score been reversed. Coming into the Oregon St. game, the Cardinal had only trailed for a total of 4:42 all season. The Beavers added 55:11 to that total in the course of their 38-28 victory.
The performance also fulfilled one of Coach Mike Riley's objectives, in light of the deserved national build up for Gerhart coming into the game.
"Oregon St. wanted to remind everyone that Jacquizz Rodgers is a pretty good running back too."
Jacquizz Rodgers scored touchdowns on each of the Beavers' first three possessions against Stanford.
The Pac-10 player of the week honor had to have made for a happy Mom Rodgers too, coming on the heels of James Rodgers being named the Pac-10 player of the week last week against Arizona St. James has another decent night too, with 146 all-purpose yards, and a touchdown.
The strong offensive effort doesn't stop with the Rodgers brothers either, as Sean Canfield turned in his second consecutive strong performance. Canfield completed 22 of 32 passes, to seven different receivers, for 290 yards, and the touchdown to James. Canfield did suffer three sacks, but no interceptions, and more importantly, made very few poor decisions.
BTD, along with many others, were critical of Canfield after a couple of poor performances, especially against Arizona. To his credit, the senior has responded to a situation that demanded a marked improvement, or his replacement.
After the clutch performance in Tempe, the Beavers' field general looked like one, being at once confident and relaxed Saturday, actually seemingly looking forward to attacking the Stanford defense.
Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker and his portion of the staff have also made good progress with the young Beaver defense, but the bye couldn't have come at a better time. It will be interesting to see how much improvement is made by the time the Beavers travel to the LA Coliseum in two weeks to take on the USC Trojans, because there's no doubt the Oregon St. pass defense still has a lot of work to do.
How different might the game Saturday have gone if Stanford's Chris Owusu hadn't dropped a sure touchdown on the Cardinal's first play?
Still, the Beaver defense held Cardinal freshman quarterback Andrew Luck to 12 completions out of 30 attempts, and Luck didn't complete a pass until the middle of the second quarter.
Especially early, Luck looked like a quarterback who still hasn't won a road game. Several passes were "good" throws mechanically, and "good" decisions as far as who to throw to, but were off target. Even the Owusu drop was an underthrow that contributed to the drop.
Still, the 91 and 99 yard fourth quarter scoring drives Stanford mounted, especially on the heels of the Cardinal 83 yard third quarter scoring drive, continues a disturbing trend. Admittedly the Beavers were playing clock ball as soon as halftime was over, but for five straight weeks, the Oregon St. defense, which only managed to sack Luck once, has given up one or more long, sustained scoring drives, with the game still in doubt. Most distressing, the Beavers haven't appeared to have a chance of stopping many of these drives.
Whether this is mostly a product of the defense wearing down, or not countering the adjustments made by the opponent, or a combination, is difficult to judge. But if the Beavers' two game winning streak, forged against less than the best offenses the conference has to offer, is to continue, this is the area that most needs to improve before the mid-season break is over.
Individual great plays were turned in that broke up several plays, but sustained shut down defense is still a ways away.
Special teams, by contrast, continue to be outstanding. In a game where winning the special teams battle may have been even more important that the battle of the all-conference running backs, the Beavers excelled.
In addition to James' Rodgers' returns, Johnny Hekker, who averaged 46 yards per punt, and Justin Kahut, who was perfect on place kicks, effectively kept Owusu, one of the nation's best kick returners, starting in corners. Owusu, who has already this season taken three kicks back for touchdowns, was held to 87 yards on five returns, an average of 17.4 yards, far less than half his season average. And a longest return of 22 yards.
Stanford's Chris Owusu (81) found little room to run against the Oregon St. kick coverage.
The game, played on a beautiful autumn afternoon, was the third game to fall just shy of the 42,000 attendance mark this season, and the first home game not to be at least for a while, the 15th. largest in Reser stadium history. 41,979 fans showed up, leaving this the 16th. biggest crowd ever in Corvallis. Interestingly, the attendance has only varied 440 from the season low against Portland St. to the high against Arizona.
What it will take to get that last 4,000 or so to show is anyone's guess, as winning football, close games, good weather, a ranked opponent, and even a conference leading foe, have all proven to not be interesting enough to draw the fans that filled out Reser last season.
The student core continues to be the strength of support, as the "Sea of Orange" again made themselves heard Saturday.
And no game report on a contest with Stanford would be complete without acknowledging the presence of the rather unique Stanford band, a noisy group, apparently now led by McGruff the Band Mutt?
In the end though, the oldest band in the Pac-10 got to play their fight song last.
Despite the need for further improvement on defense, and especially because not just Quizz, but the entire offense again showed improvement, the general consensus was still clearly, that it was a great day to be a Beaver.