Beaver pass defense shredded in loss

OREGON STATE QB Sean Mannion, who set the Pac-12 all-time record for passing yards last weekend in a loss to California, threw for 419 yards and a touchdown on Saturday against the Cougs. Kicker Garrett Owens was nails, going 4-4 on field goals for the Beavers. But OSU's pass defense was absent and the Beavers, with a loss at home, fell to 4-5 on the season and have now dropped four straight.

Oregon State allowed WSU redshirt freshman Luke Falk, in his first start, to throw for 471 yards and five touchdowns and Washington State snapped a four-game losing streak with a 39-32 victory over Oregon State on Saturday.

Falk was poised and confident from the start against the Beavers, throwing for 251 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone in coach Mike Leach's Air Raid offense.

Going into the game the Beavers had allowed just seven touchdown receptions over the season, and their pass defense ranked second in the conference behind Stanford.

It didn't look like it.

And with three games left following the game against the Cougars, Oregon State's chances for bowl eligibility are narrowing.

The Beavers scored on their first series, a 75-yard, four-play drive capped by Sean Mannion's 14-yard touchdown pass to Connor Hamlett.

The Cougars had a chance to close the gap but Quentin Breshears' 31-yard field goal attempt went wide left. Oregon State's Garrett Owens made a 24-yard field goal on the other end to make it 10-0.

After that, things went downhill for Oregon State.

Falk found Isiah Myers in the end zone with 5-yard scoring pass before end of the first quarter. He then put the Cougars in front early in the second with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Baker, a walk on who was subbing for injured starter River Cracraft.

Baker had nine catches for 113 yards against OSU.

Owens made a 37-yard field goal for the Beavers to cut Washington State's lead to 14-13 but Falk responded with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Vince Mayle to extend the Cougars' lead. Mayle had nearly 150 receiving yards on six receptions.

Owens hit again on a 44-yard field goal, narrowing Washington State's lead to 21-16 at halftime.

Breshears opened the second half with a shaky 32-yard field goal to extend the lead but then the Beavers took control. OSU's running game finally awoke after gaining just 11 yards in the first half -- scoring on Terron Ward's 1-yard touchdown run. The pass failed on the conversion but Oregon State still narrowed the score to 24-22.

It appeared that the Beavers had taken over the lead on Mannion's 38-yard pass play to Victor Bolden, but it was called back by offensive holding on Hunter Jarmon. Oregon State settled for Owens' 46-yard field goal -- and a 25-24 lead.

But OSU's defense couldn't hold serve.

Falk answered by efficiently marching the Cougars downfield, capping the drive with an 18-yard touchdown scoring pass on the run to Dom Williams. After the conversion, Washington State led 32-25 with 11:01 left.

OSU was forced to punt and Falk then hit Robert Lewis with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 5:57 left to put OSU down by two scores before the Beavers answered with another 1-yard scoring run for Ward.

The Beavs kicked off rather than try an onside kick with 3:03 left and just one timeout. WSU then gained two first downs, the last on an OSU personal foul penalty, and ran out the clock.

Last year the Beavers scored five unanswered touchdowns, including four in the fourth quarter, to stun the Cougars 52-24 in Pullman. Mannion threw for a school-record 493 yards and four scores. But that was last year, and OSU's offense isn't nearly as explosive this season. More than that, though, it was the Beavers' defensive woes that spelled defeat for Oregon State.


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