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.

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