Thursday, December 13, 2012

Coach Rob wins his 100th game

The "Whiteout" happened to a modest degree, but it didn't turn into a victory for Portland State Wednesday night at the Stott Center.
An inspired opening 10 minutes had earned the Vikings a 22-13 lead in a rare home game with a major college team, but the Beavers ramped up their defense and got some energy from a technical foul on their way to a 79-74 win in a non-conference men's basketball game.
Devon Collier scored 23 points, 'Burly' Joe Burton bruised the Vikings for 20 points and seven rebounds and coach Craig Robinson earned his 100th career victory at the school.
"We needed a true away game where we were going to be tested," Robinson said after his team improved to 6-2 on the season. "It's nice to win this game."
PSU got eight points early from Lateef McMullen on the way to a team-high 16, but the Viks had 19 turnovers and got outscored by 12 at the free-throw line before a crowd of 1,500 - a good chunk of which was wearing orange for the Beavers.
The Vikings dropped to 1-5 on the season.
Oregon State fell behind early, but ramped up its defensive presence around the 1-3-1 set once the deficit grew to nine. And, Robinson, sparked by a non-call, got a technical that seemed to inspire the team, especially when the Vikings' shooter Michael Harthun missed both free throws.
By the close of the half, the Beavers led 32-26 and built that lead to 14 before the Vikings produced a mild comeback.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

More OSU/ASU commentary, predictions

Simply put, Oregon State flat out needs to run the ball more. Storm Woods recorded a career best six yards per carry last week, yet was limited to only 15 carries, while Sean Mannion attempted 35 passes (again, four intercepted).

Memo: Trust your offensive line, Riley. As my radio cohort Justin Herr said earlier, the running attack has been your bread and butter for YEARS, yet it seems you're getting away from that with your new "phenom" of a quarterback. Storm Woods is the truth; let him run.

That being said, Oregon State is in for no "pic-a-nic basket" this evening against the stout ASU defense. As long as OSU's offensive line shows up this evening and Cody Vaz is effective (see: 3 TDs, 0 INTs) the Beavs should party tonight in Corvallis.

Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly will have plenty to say about that, though, so don't expect ASU to leave Corvallis quietly. A 169.8 passer rating and 19/5 TD/INT ratio makes the sophomore as solid of a quarterback as there is in the Pac-12 and a Jordan Poyer-less secondary could make plenty of trouble for the Beavs.

On to the predictions:

Cody Vaz: 19/28, 262, 2 TDs

Storm Woods: 184, 2 TDs

Scott Crichton, Michael Doctor: (combined) 4 sacks, 6 TFLs, 18 tackles

Taylor Kelly: 24/35, 2 INTs, 7 sacks

Oregon State 30 - Arizona State 20

Poyer game-time decision, not expected to play this evening

The Beavers defense may be without Bednarik and Thorpe candidate Jordan Poyer for this evening's game against the Sun Devils. The senior cornerback was injured in last week's loss to the Washington Huskies up in Seattle, and while Poyer remains a gametime decision, Riley and the rest of the Oregon State secondary has prepared to move on (at least this week) without Poyer.

If Poyer's leg isn't cleared pre-game the Beavers will rely heavily on junior Sean Martin, who has caused several pass interference and holding calls this season, and untested senior Ryan Hanford, who has had a special teams role most of his career.

If Arizona State's new sophomore phenom Taylor Kelly can replicate his performance from last week against a stout UCLA secondary (25/35, 315, 4 TDs).. A strong performance against a potentially dilapidated OSU secondary wouldn't be that far off of a bet to make.

Big task for OSU offensive line this week

While the Oregon State defense is stout, no doubt, Arizona State has their own four-headed monster that the Beavers offensive line will have to worry about all game long. Junior defensive tackle Will Sutton (yes, he will play) is a beast all in his own and is near the tops in the Pac-12 in sacks, and with the other three.. well, OSU's O-line will have their hands full this evening.

Along with Sutton, juniors Chris Young, Junior Onyeali and sophomore Carl Bradford have combined for 45 TFL's and while the Sun Devils have lost two straight, this defense should be pretty peeved about coming to a place where they have lost four out of the last five visits.

This will be a big-time test for freshman Andrew Seumalo, who goes up against the best interior defensive lineman not named Star Lotuleilei. Sutton, who has been nursing a knee injury since ASU's loss to Oregon, should be back to 100%, meaning Seumalo and the rest of the interior offensive line will have a big task in double teaming Sutton and keeping him in check, lest the running attack have another lack luster evening like it did last week.

Vaz handed the reigns as Beavs set to host Sun Devils

It was Sean Mannion's job to lose and he did just that last week in the 20-17 loss to Washington. Two weeks after knee surgery the sophomore threw four interceptions and never allowed the Beavers to get into the game until he was benched in the second half for junior Cody Vaz, who put OSU in position to win the game until the Huskies ultimately kicked the game winning field goal late in the fourth quarter.

Whether or not Mannion's knee is completely healed remains to be seen, but Vaz has been given the nod as the Beavs host Arizona State this evening at Reser Stadium. Vaz currently holds a QB rating of 154.9 and has not thrown an interception in his 69 pass attempts this season (see: career).

With it also remaining to be seen what kind of role Markus Wheaton (concussion) will play in the offense, so look for WR Brandin Cooks and TE Connor Hamlett to have expanded roles this evening, along with a lot of RB Storm Woods to start out the game.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beavers travel to hostile territory to face Huskies

Facing history, the Beavers take their passing offense (ranked 14th nationally) north to face a Husky pass defense that ranks 18th in the nation. If Oregon State can leave Seattle with a victory, a 7-0 record (first in school history) and a top five BCS ranking is within sight after a Florida loss earlier today.

With Sean Mannion missing the last two games after a knee procedure, the Beavers pass offense hasn't missed a beat in large part to the speedy duo of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. Wheaton, who leads the team with seven touchdowns (six rec, one rush), looks to extend his receptions streak to 30 games. Cooks leads the team in yards per receptions with 19 and is currently a top ten receiver in the nation with 111 yards per game.

Their counterparts this weekend, Desmond Trufant and Marcus Peters will be tested early and often as Mannion looks to shake of the rust of absence. Having given up 256 yards through the air in a loss to Arizona last week, the Husky corners will have a tough task at hand in attempting to shut down one of the more potent duo of wide receivers in the country.

The Beavers defensive line and linebacking core had to have been licking their chops this week, heading into a game where they face an offensive line that has given up three sacks a game and 21 on the season. While Huskies quarterback Keith Price is one of the more athletic signal callers in the conference, the duo of Dylan Wynn and Scott Crichton should have the junior quarterback on his toes for most of the game.

While history at the Clink has not treated Oregon State well (see: the 2-OT loss two years ago), this is not the Beavers of 2010. A tenacious defense should force Price (7 INT's the last four games) into a couple of mistakes, and if Mannion returns to form the offense will capitalize on said mistakes.

Sean Mannion: 25-34, 290, 3 TDs
Storm Woods: 150+, TD
Markus Wheaton: 9 rec, 100+, TD
Scott Crichton: 2 sacks, 9 tackles
Jordan Poyer: 8 tackles, INT
Oregon State 35: Washington: 10

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beavers avoid repeating history, defeat Cougars, go 4-0

Flashbacks of 2010 passed the minds of numerous Beavers fans and writers alike on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars defense, one that gave up 186 rushing yards to Pac-12 bottom-feeder Colorado a few weeks ago, was holding Oregon State to 26 yards on 16 rushes at halftime.

It wasn't the Cougars feisty defense, or the fact that Sean Mannion had already thrown two interceptions. WSU head coach had, after an abysmal performance by starting quarterback Connor Halliday, unleashed the Cougars secret weapon; the man that single-handedly walked all over the Oregon State defense en route to the 2010 shocker at Reser Stadium.

Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel who was listed on the injury report since Halliday took over against UNLV three weeks ago, had already come in and completed a 51-yard reception to Marquess Wilson, Washington State's biggest play of the afternoon thus far.

Tuel couldn't be made of Beaver kryptonite, could he?

With Storm Woods missing most of the first half with a shoulder stinger, the Beavers offense sputtered and failed to find the end zone, putting up a pair of field goals to hold a three point lead at the intermission. Sophomore running back Malcolm Agnew picked up a bit of the slack, going 47 yards on nine rushes in Woods' absence, but each Oregon State drive that reached the red zone resulted in a field goal.

Woods returned in the second half, but added only 53 yards to his first half total, amassing 55 for te game and 3.6 yards per carry. The true freshman felt the frustration after the game, having faced a Cougars defense that unexpectedly stymied them for the better part of the contest.

"Washington State (was) throwing a lot of blitzes at us. More than we could handle sometimes; sometimes we handled it, but they mixed it up between the 4-3 and the 3-4. I think I got confused a bit and that cost us two sacks," Woods said in the post-game presser.

Meanwhile, the Beavers defense did it's job in shutting down the Cougars attack. Tuel completed only nine passes in the second half, and the WSU rushing game was a non-factor as the combination of Carl Winston and Teondray Caldwell amassed 42 yards for the contest.

It wasn't the prettiest of wins (see: 11 penalties for 110 yards, Mannion's three interceptions, 4/6 in the red zone, take your pick), but Mannion said it perfectly after the game:

"You're never going to be perfect an entire season, as much as you would like to be. We are encountering some of that but ultimately it should help us grow. There's going to be games where we're not playing out greatest to open up the first quarter but it says a lot the way we bounced back. It would have been easy to fold but out team dug out heels in and played great football in the second half."

In front of a packed house and a record setting amount of fans, senior cornerback had a career game, intercepting Halliday twice and Tuel once to seal the Beaver victory, something the Astoria, Oregon native had never done in his career: a three interception game, and the first for Oregon State since Mitch Meeuwsen last decade.

"There's no moments like playing at Reser Stadium in front of a sold out crowd. My whole high school team was here watching me play. That was something I took into account when I went to sleep last night. These guys come out here and support me and my coaches. I want to do it for the, show them it's possible," Poyer commented after being asked about his performance.

Check back tomorrow for more post-game presser tidbits, analysis on the Beavers defensive front seven and what to look for next week as Oregon State prepares for BYU.

Monday, September 24, 2012

OSU defense has Civil War all over it

   The University of Oregon has been a staple of the Associated Press national rankings for most of the past three years, and is a regular part of the Top 5 among national voters.
   Oregon State?
   With a 27-20 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl and on ABC, the Beavers showed off they can beat a nationally-ranked team for the second time this season, and with a dominating defense that gave up only a few big plays - not consistent drives.
   Maybe Nicholls State won't have to fly to Corvallis after all.
   Both Oregon and OSU earned rankings Sunday, Oregon up one spot to No. 2 and the Beavers moving from a few votes to No. 18 showing that much of the nation paid attention to not only the final score, but how the final score of Saturday's game came about.
   OSU's got a defense and a savvy offense that can put together consistent drives.
   Put the two Oregon schools together, and you can start to look at their schedules and ponder thatNov. 24 game - Oregon at Oregon State. The Civil War. Will that be the game that sends an Oregon school to the Pac-12 title game for the second-straight year?
   Stanford appears as the main test having moved to No. 8 after its win over No. 3 USC two weeks ago.
   USC dropped to No. 13, but looks like the team that will win the Pac-12 South and be the opponent in the title game.
   UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State all received votes in the poll Sunday.
Stanford gives the Pac-12 North a trio of ranked teams and a pair of exciting contests: OSU at Stanford, Nov. 10, and Nov. 17, Stanford at Oregon.
   Nicholls State is set to fly to Corvallis to play the Beavers in a game rescheduled for Dec. 1 after the Colonels couldn't leave town due to Hurricane Isaac in the season opener for both teams. The game got rescheduled with the understanding it wouldn't be played if the Beavers played their way into the Pac-12 Title game.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Badgers got nothing on the Beavers

   The Oregon State public address announcer said it best with just under one and a half minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter:
   "I don't know what to say, really."
   Oregon State kept Wisconsin scoreless for over 58 minutes and were en route to forcing a Badger shutout for the first time since 1997 when the visitors responded with a last gasp. The drive took under a minute and a half to complete and ended in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Danny O'Brien to wideout Jacob Pederson, who took over for junior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis late in the first half after a big hit put him in the local hospital.
   What happened next was unbelievable by anyone's standards. The crowd at Reser Stadium anticipated an onsides kick, but nobody, along with their mothers, believed the Badgers could recover, march down the field and escape Corvallis with a victory.
   Once Wisconsin recovered the kick, the collective breaths of every Beaver Nation supporter was sucked out of the stadium quicker than Mike Parker could say "touchdown Beavers!"
   Anxiety rushed through the stadium, and although fans and reporters alike were unsure of what they saw, several Oregon State players on the sidelines knew the game was over.
    "I thought they touched it; I saw it," freshman running back Storm Woods said after the game. "I was just hoping they (the referees) would get the call right."
   After several minutes passed, the referees came away with the call: Wisconsin kicker Kyle French touched the ball nine yards into his kick, when it must go ten in order to become a live ball.
   The biggest non-conference victory in the last several decades for Oregon State, and a 33-game non-conference winning streak for Wisconsin, snapped, as the Beavers play the Giant Killer role once again.
   Wisconsin had no answers for the Oregon State defense this afternoon, attempting 23 rushes and gaining 76 yards. Despite Ball averaging 4.1 yards per carry, the Badgers came away on the day averaging just 1.5 yards per carry, something not a lot of fans anticipated given the Beavers defensive performance last year.
   "I think this was a big game on both sides of the ball," said Woods, "but kudos to the defense, especially."
   The Beavers defense was stifling in all definitions of the word, combining for three sacks, six passes broken up, two forced fumbles and six tackles for loss, which added up quickly: 44 lost yards from scrimmage for the Badgers offense.
   "It was just a beautiful job, a great mixture of stuff and the players played like crazy," Beavers head coach Mike Riley commented after the victory. "I think Coach Banker obviously had a great plan and utilized a lot of people, a great mix of what we were doing."
   Riley could not have asked for a better-executed game from his quarterback, as sophomore Sean Mannion completed 62% of his passes for 276 yards and a touchdown. Wisconsin was held to just one sack of Mannion, a sure testament to how well the Beavers offensive line played.
   Today's game was played in memory of the late Beavers defensive tackle Fred Thompson, who passed away last season. "I haven't said a lot about that to the team since the funeral until last night.. I reminded everyone that we lost a family member and we're going to commemorate it on our helmets." Fred's mother Cora was in attendance to witness today's victory.


  PLAY OF THE GAME: Midway through the third quarter the Badgers were set up for 2nd down and 11 yards to go. An O'Brien swing pass out to the right side found Montee Ball with plenty of open space to work with.... not for long as sophomore linebacker DJ Welch made an incredible, one-armed open-field tackle to avert the danger. Wisconsin would be forced to punt two plays later.
Stat/anecdote of the game: Former Heisman-trophy candidate Montee Ball was held without a touchdown for the first time in 22 games.
   OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sean Mannion, no question. The sophomore managed the game like he had been in Mike Riley's offense for years and played fairly mistake-free football after he shook off a couple of errant throws to start the game.
   DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Dylan Wynn, again, no question. The sophomore defensive end terrorized the Badgers offensive line all game long and came away with a very impressive stat-line to start the season - six tackles, one sack, one tackle for a 12-yard loss and one forced fumble.
   The Beavers have next week off and will begin preparing for the UCLA Bruins on Monday at Prothero Field.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

O-line needs to be productive - again

In recent Beaver football history, there has been one consistent on a year-in year-out basis - the offensive line.
Doug Nienhius. Adam Koets. Kyle Devan and Roy Schuening. Andy Levitre and Alex Linnenkohl.
Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh's ability to turn raw recruits and blue chip prospects into all-conference selections and NFL starters is one of the hallmarks for the OSU program.
Levitre, once a two-star recruit (Rivals) out of California, became a two-time all Pac-10 tackle and is now the starting left guard for the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
Devan, a former three-star recruit (Rivals) turned into an all Pac-10 selection and took over the starting center spot in '09 when Colts legend Jeff Saturday went down with injury.
Cavanaugh has a huge impact on OSU football every season, but this season will not be a picnic for the veteran offensive line coach.
Despite the substantial turnover on the defensive side of the ball (five big pieces graduated last season), most of the drama heading into fall camp lies with the offensive line.
Not only will the development of the line play an integral role in the run game, but added protection, particularly early on in the season, will help determine whether or not incumbent quarterback Sean Mannion continues to reach his ceiling.
The pieces are in place for the 2012 season, but those familiar with Oregon State football know that, recently, the core unit has lacked the consistency Cavanaugh demands out of his youngsters. Former blue chip recruit and junior left tackle Michael Phillipp has yet to reach his true potential, but shows glimpses of brilliance and as far as the right side of the line goes. Junior Grant Enger and senior Colin Kelly have not been healthy a full season to appreciate the fruits of their production and the same goes for junior left guard Josh Andrews, who missed four games last season with a knee injury.
The only relative unknown at the moment, and current starting write-in center, is another in the Seumalo blood-line. If he's anything like his big brother Andrew, Cavanaugh will have added another tough, hard-working kid that Beaver Nation will quickly grow to embrace.
In a recent interview, head coach Mike Riley mentioned the offensive line being integral in forming the running game. With Riley's notorious running attacks in the past, that was a given in any arbitrary season. With the program lacking a Quizz, or a Steven Jackson, or even a Ken Simonten, the duties therein lie with Cavanaugh to continue the blue collar tradition of dominant offensive line performances in the trenches.
- Frank Hoaglin