There is no arguing that Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is one of the conference's strongest signal-callers. After suffering an injury in 2011, his true freshman season, Mannion is back on the field looking more sharp than ever.
Mannion went 24-35 for 379 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's match up (a personal record); his longest pass was a 75-yard touchdown throw to receiver Brandin Cooks early in the second quarter.
Mannion was sacked three times during the game and had two fumbles, but did enough on the field to walk away as the top performer of the game.
What this win means for the Beavers:
After Oregon State defeated No. 13 Wisconsin during week two of the season, many people in the college football world were wondering if the 10-7 win was a fluke.
It's safe to say after Saturday's performance that the Beavers are a team of which to take notice. Their 27-20 win over the No. 19 Bruins marks the first time since the 2001 season that Oregon State has defeated ranked opponents in back-to-back weeks.
The Beavers came, saw, and conquered the Rose Bowl, proving along the way that their talent (and coaching) is legitimate.
A factor in recruiting:
It's no secret, one of the greatest recruiting tools a program can have is a winning season.
The strong statistical performances by Markus Wheaton (150 yards, one touchdown) and Brandin Cooks (175 yards, one touchdown) are the prime example of how important the receiver is to Oregon State's offense.
With three current receiver commits in Victor Bolden, Jordan Villamin, and Jermel Walker, and amidst rumors that the latter two are exploring options, strong offensive performances like the one on Saturday afternoon are of the utmost importance.
The defense wins the day:
Oregon State held UCLA's offense to 444 total yards in the matchup; prior to the game, UCLA was ranked second nationally, averaging 622 yards per game. The Bruins' offense boasts the talent of the nation's leading rusher, Johnathan Franklin, an early Heisman contender, but even he was only able to put up 45 yards on the ground.
Players are emerging:
Mannion, Wheaton, Cooks, and Jordan Poyer were all previously known names. It seems clear, however, that there are a few new emerging players for the Beavers this season.
Running back Storm Woods finished the game with ninety-six rushing yards (the most in his career) and a touchdown (the first of his career). The Beavers rely on Woods to run the ball up the middle, and the talented player was able find the holes in UCLA's defense and continue to rack up yards for the Beavers.
Hot seat chatter no more:
This season marks the twelfth that Mike Riley has been head coach of the Beavers. His tenure at Oregon State has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride, but with Saturday's win over UCLA, Riley ties the record with Lon Stiner as the winningnest coach in Beaver history.
With two wins over ranked opponents, this could be the season that Riley turns the program back around.