In a half-empty Stanford Stadium, Oregon State ran into a team with a worse record and was never competitive. Even early on, when the score was 7-7, it was obvious what the outcome was going to be. This wasn't going to be like the last time the Beavers came to town, and the game came down to the final drive.
The very first play from scrimmage was a Kevin Hogan pass to Ty Montgomery for a first down. In a sign of things to come, on Stanford's first third down, Kevin Hogan fumbled the ball, but manage to pick it up and move it across the line for a first down. Two plays later, Christian (son of Ed) McCaffrey caught a Hogan pass, below, dodged a single Beaver tackle, and was off 42 yards for a Stanford touchdown, just over three minutes into the game.
On Oregon State's first drive, Mannion was forced to throw the first down pass away, despite good protection. Both starting tight ends then decided, on consecutive plays, to commit a false start. On third down, Victor Bolden dropped a catchable (but not easy) catch, below, that would likely have resulted in a first down, and the Beavers' first possession ended in a three-and-out.
Next, a botched direct snap to Ty Montgomery resulted in a 2nd & 21. But Oregon State is nothing if not a gracious guest, so they allowed Stanford to get a first down anyway on two quick completions. Once in the red zone, however, Oregon State managed to force a 3rd & 13, and Ryan Murphy jumped in front of an off target Hogan pass for a critical interception, below, keeping the point differential at seven.
The Beavers managed to pick up a couple of first downs on their resulting possession, but ultimately a powerful Stanford pass rush, led by Henry Anderson, was too much, and the Beavers were forced to punt on 4th & 3 from about the 40-yard line. Kostol's punt was a good one, and knocked Stanford back to their own 17.
On Stanford's second play, Kevin Hogan tricked to sneak a pass in over the middle to Ty Montgomery, but Michael Doctor picked it off and returned it to the Stanford 5-yard line, above. The very next play, Chris Brown managed to power through the Stanford O-line for a touchdown, knotting the game up at 7.
After the kickoff, Barry Sanders (Jr) channeled his father and scampered for a 28-yard gain through the left side to get back into Beaver territory in a play that temporarily knocked Jabral Johnson out of the game. Three players later, Kevin Hogan took a QB keeper 37 yards through a sudden downpour for a touchdown, below, with only one Beaver getting close enough to touch him. Hogan stiff-armed Ryan Murphy like he was his little brother, and the TD put the Cardinal up 14-7.
A sack of Sean Mannion ended the first quarter on a typical Beaver note. In the second quarter, a quick screen to Chris Brown didn't pick up the first down on 3rd & 17, and Keith Kostol shanked a 25-yard punt, giving Stanford the ball at the 50.
After sniffing out a reverse for a 5-yard loss, the Beavers blitzed and Hogan found an open Ty Montgomery, who shrugged off a Beaver tackler for a first down. Three plays later, on 3rd and 7, another blitz was picked up and resulted in a touchdown, this one a 37 yard pass to Jordan Pratt, who hails from Independence, OR just up the street from Corvallis, below.
To this point, the Beavers had 0 net rushing yards, but Terron Ward picked up 9 yards on 2nd and 10 on the ensuing possession. Of course, 2nd and 9 isn't enough, and after a typically Beaver run up the middle for zero, the Beavers actually went for it on 4th and 1 and got it, by the skin of their teeth. Oregon State couldn't pick up another yard, so they ended up punting four plays later.
The Beavers' D manned up the next possession, with the Cardinal committing their first penalty (false start), and forcing the first Cardinal punt with 7:40 left in the second quarter.
Two quick Beaver completions, both for first downs, showed the first spark of life we saw from the Beaver offense today, and they drove the ball to the Stanford 40. However, that quickly stalled, and the Beavers decided to go for it on 4th and 6, which is not necessarily a bad idea, but the play call was bad, and the execution was worse, turning the ball over on downs.
The very next play, Stanford completed another pass for 32 yards. The Beavers forced a fumble at the end of the play, but three Beavers couldn't land on the ball, and Stanford recovered at the OSU 26 yard line.
Two plays later, it was first and goal from the Stanford 1. On the second try, Patrick Skov got the ball to about the six inch line, and the refs decided it close enough, so awarded Stanford a touchdown to put the Cardinal up 28-7. Not that it made a difference in the final result, but that play is likely going to spend some time at the Pac-12 offices on Monday.
The Beavers got the ball back deep in Stanford territory, and the Beavers finally managed to convert a third down (their first of the game), and followed it up by allowing a sack, and Sean Harlow drew his umpteenth false start of the year, bringing up 2nd & 25. Oregon State decided to play to punt, and called two Terron Ward runs up the middle in order to try to bring the clock down, punting from the 27 yard line with 1:13 to play in the half.
Despite having zero time outs and only 73 seconds, Stanford drove it down the field, and managed to get first and goal from the seven on a defensive holding call in the end zone. Two incomplete passes left Stanford with 6 seconds left, so they elected to kick a field goal. However, Jordan Williamson pushed it right, and the teams went to halftime with the Beavers trailing 28-7.
At halftime, Stanford had outgained the Beavers 331-84. OSU had managed 12 rushing yards. Mike Riley was quoted as saying "Not a lot of football from us in the first half."
A holding penalty and a personal foul for illegal hands to the face doomed the Beavers' first drive of the second half, forcing a 3rd & 22 which resulted in a sack from a three man rush, forcing the Beavers to punt from their own 2. The punt was returned for a touchdown by Ty Montgomery, below, putting Stanford up 35-7 and pretty much ending even the most optimistic of Beaver fans' hopes.
The Beavers actually recovered from getting outflanked on the return, but a great block opened a cut lane, and Oregon St. over-pursued the speedy Montgomery, who sprinted through the opportunity.
The Beavers actually converted a 3rd down (#2 of the game) on a Hunter Jarmon catch across the middle on the ensuing drive, but that was the offensive highlight of the drive, and a punt resulted on the next set of downs.
The Beaver defense followed up with their best series of the day, stopping Stanford on a three-and-out, their first of the game.
Ricky Ortiz proceeded to block the punt, and the Beavers returned it to the Stanford 24. The Beavers managed to get a little bit of offense going, and drove to the 5 yard line, where they threw low percentage passes into the end zone on 3rd and 1, below, and then again on 4th and 1, with the Cardinal taking over from within their own 5 yard line.
Could the Stanford defender Alex Carter gone through Villamin slightly before the ball arrived, which would be pass inteference?
A good stand by the Beaver D resulted in a punt and a good return by Rahmel Dockery. On first down, the Cardinal forced a sack, and on 3rd down,
Cody VazMannion got sacked again, forcing a punt on 4th & 22. That effectively ended the 3rd quarter, the Beavers with 116 total yards of offense to this point, 122 of which had come in the air. I'll pause for a second while you do the math.
A sluggish but effective Stanford drive was helped out by a 15-yard face mask penalty, and Stanford converted that into a field goal, making everyone who had the Over very happy.
Another ineffective Beaver possession resulted in a punt, and Stanford just keep running the ball and letting the clock run down to end the misery.
Eventually, Luke Del Rio came in to try and gain some experience for next year. He led the Beavers' only real scoring drive of the day, hitting Hunter Jarmon for a 52 yard gain to the Stanford 1, and Damien "Who?" Haskins took the handoff for a Beaver touchdown with just under four minutes left.
Stanford then got the ball back and ended up punting, giving it back to the Beavers with 24 seconds left, just enough time to give Luke Del Rio a few more practice passes, including a 16-yard diving catch by Hunter Jarmon to end the game. Del Rio ended up going 4 for 8 for 87 yards, only 35 yards fewer than Sean Mannion threw for in three and a half quarters.
In a game with few bright spots, the Beavers were outmuscled, outplayed, and generally out everythinged. We knew the offensive line was going to have problems against Stanford, but perhaps not to the extent they did. The Beavers had negative rushing yards at the end of the 3rd quarter.
David Shaw improved to 10-0 at Stanford after a loss.
Going into the game, Sean Mannion needed 316 yards to pass Matt Barkley's Pac-12 all time record for passing yards. That's going to have to wait at least a week, as he only threw for 122 yards, 1 less than his previous career low earlier this year at USC. Cal gives up a lot of points, he should be able to pick up 200 yards next week.
According to reports from Twitter, Storm Woods was warming up full speed in practice, but something must have changed, as he did not take a snap in the game. Chris Brown appeared to be the Beavers' most effective runner, averaging 5 yards a carry to Terron Ward's 2.6. We'll be keeping an eye on that situation, as Storm Woods appears to be OSU's most effective back.
Any dreams of division titles died today, and If Oregon State is going to go bowling at all, some things have to change. Last week, fans were upset with the offense while praising the defense. This week, we can't praise either. Although the defense did make a few big plays, they also gave up big plays -- Stanford's first three touchdowns came from 42, 37, and 37 yards, one of those on a QB keeper. All of those plays had missed tackles.
We knew the offensive line was going to be a problem given the injuries and the strength of Stanford's defensive line, but I believe it was worse than anticipated. Mannion had very little time to throw, and when he did, it was often because someone on the line was holding. Pressure forced a lot of bad throws, and although Mannion managed to avoid any interceptions, there were a lot of missed opportunities.
The Beavers managed to win the turnover battle 2-0, block a punt, and still lose by 24 points.
At least the Beavers had the better band.
Next week, the Beavers return to the relatively friendly confines of Reser Stadium for the first of three consecutive home games, and four in five weeks to end the season. The Cal Bears will bring their high scoring offense into Reser for a 7:30pm start, for what will likely be the first of several cold, wet and windy night games in the month to come.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)