Beavs stomp on gas earlier in Cal beatdown

THE GAP IS getting shorter. Oregon State is no longer waiting until late in the game before stomping on the gas. Indeed, on the road at Cal, the Beavs had kicked it into gear before the end of the first quarter on their way to a 49-17 beatdown of the Golden Bears. In so doing, Oregon State became bowl-eligible with five games left in the regular season.

Sean Mannion threw for 481 yards and four touchdowns as Oregon State rolled. But one of his wide receivers might have stolen the show

For a while in the first quarter, it looked like it might be a game. But Mannion and wide receiver Brandin Cooks soon put a stop to that.

Simply put, Mannion and Cooks went nuclear in Strawberry Canyon.

Cooks caught 13 passes for a career-high 232 yards with one touchdown and also scored on a 14-yard run as the Beavers (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) did just about whatever they wanted to do on offense. For example...

Cooks had 197 receiving yards before halftime. He had catches of 50, 38, 26 and 34 yards -- the last providing Oregon State's fourth touchdown of the first half and an insurmountable 28-3 lead. His night ended early in the fourth quarter.

The Beavs have now posted six straight victories and would seem highly likely to re-enter the Top 25 polls on Sunday.

Mannion, already the nation's leading passer, actually increased his per-game passing average to 427.4 yards. He went 35 for 45 on the night and hit four different receivers for each of his touchdown passes.

Mannion continues to lead the nation in TD passes -- he now has 29 through but seven games. He's also thrown for an FBS-leading 2,985 yards.

Oregon State racked up 31 first downs to Cal's 19, and 570 total yards to the Bears' 366.

The Beaver D forced four Cal turnovers, with a pair of interceptions and fumble recoveries. Rashaad Reynolds and Larry Scott did the honors with the picks.

The Beaver stop corps also held Jared Goff without a touchdown throw before he was replaced by Zach Kline.

Cal (1-6, 0-4) looked better on paper than they did on the field. Goff, who entered the game fourth nationally in passing yardage, completed 21 of 31 for 220 yards. But he was also intercepted, lost a fumble in the second quarter, then lost the ball again while cocking his arm to pass in the third quarter. He was soon yanked in favor of Kline, who managed to toss a pair of TD passes, with the last one coming in the final minute. He finished 11 for 16 for 71 yards.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Cal's defense forced a punt on Oregon State's first possession. It was downhill from there for the Bears. By game's end, the Beavers had scorched the Bears for 570 total yards, 496 of them through the air.

  • Oregon State has won its first three conference road games for the first time since 1939. The Beavers are 4-0 overall on the road, averaging 46.5 points in those games.

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