FInal Score: Cincinnati 28, Oregon State 18 (Game page)
The Beavers had their first 3-0 start in seven years in their crosshairs on Saturday at Reser Stadium, but the defending Big East champion Cincinnati Bearcats took care of business, capitalizing on Oregon State's missed opportunities for a 28-18 win.
Oregon State settled for field goals three times on potential touchdown drives, essentially squandering 12 points to the Bearcats. Field goal kicker Justin Kahut, however, handled himself well, making all of his kicks. Still, the Beavers will look back at the tape and wish Kahut hadn't had as many opportunities.
"It is very obvious to all of us now that two field goals instead of two touchdowns early make a major difference in the game," Mike Riley said during a post-game interview. "We'll look back at a lot of stuff and not like it."
Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 73 yards on the afternoon, and brother James rushed for 67 yards and racked up 90 more through the air. The Cincinnati defense, their liability on paper, played strong, as they limited Quizz to his lowest rushing total since last year's Arizona game in which he was injured. They also made it hard on Sean Canfield, who was sacked five times, several of them coverage sacks.
"They were big and fast, and we knew that coming in," Canfield said of the Bearcat defense. "It really was a matter of that second quarter, we really didn't do anything. Their defense was playing well all day."
Canfield completed 29 of 45 passes for 240 yards, and threw one interception.
Oregon State took a 6-0 lead into the aforementioned second quarter before giving up three touchdowns to the Bearcat offense. All Oregon State came away with was a safety, but it didn't do much to counter Cincinnati's charge.
"We moved the ball a little bit and had six points, and they made one play and were ahead," Riley said of Cincinnati's first touchdown
Cincinnati's third touchdown of the second quarter was one that could have been prevented with better clock management. Oregon State took possession of the ball with 1:52 remaining in the quarter and went three-and-out, managing to lose 15 yards on the drive and only consume a minute of game-clock. Cincinnati regained control of the ball with just under a minute left, and three plays and sixty-one yards later, they scored.
Trailing by thirteen at the break, Oregon State did exactly what they needed to do to begin the second half-- efficiently drove the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. It would be Oregon State's only touchdown of the game. James Rodgers perhaps said it best: "We don't want any more field goals; we want the touchdowns in the red zone."
The Beavers found themselves in prime position to take the lead when they started the fourth quarter with a 1st-and-goal opportunity from the five yard line, trailing by six. But in two plays the Beavers had moved backwards nine yards, and Quizz couldn't work a miracle on third down.
Asked about the series post-game, Riley just shook his head and said, "It wasn't very good."
At one point later in the fourth quarter, it looked as if the Beavers could take possession trailing by three after David Pa'aluhi stripped D.J. Woods on a screen pass. However, the officials said Woods was down by forward progress. Cincinnati then ran six more plays and scored, building a then nearly insurmountable lead with ten minutes left.
The Beavers did get a stop on defense and had a slim reason to believe they could quickly score and recover an onside kick, but the Cincinnati defense was just too stingy to allow Canfield and company to gain large chunks of yards.
"As disappointed as we are," said Riley, "We have to take this thing and turn it into a lot of teaching and learning."