OSU 35, ASU 27: Where did that come from?

CORVALLIS – Where did that come from? After lamenting a lack of big plays for a majority of the season, the Beavers came through in a big way, upsetting No. 6 Arizona State, 35-27 in the process. The Beavers quite literally sprinted out to an early lead - Storm Woods broke a 78-yard touchdown run, and shortly after that Terron Ward scored on a 66-yard run – both in the first quarter.

The big plays kept coming, too.

Victor Bolden scored on a 20-yard reception, Jordan Villamin scored on a 67-yard reception, and it was only fitting that the Beavers would cement their win on a 35-yard pick-six by linebacker Michael Doctor.

“This win is, by far, number one. It’s the No. 6 team, and on ESPN. Nothing gets better than that,” said Doctor.

The last time the Beavers had two players with touchdown runs of 60 or more yards was 20 years ago which, coincidentally, was also against Arizona State.

Speaking of fun statistics, the Beavers set a new season-high for rushing yards with 247, breaking their previous mark of 176 hashes. Oregon State had 183 rushing yards after the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the Sun Devils began the game slowly. With consecutive three-and-outs on their first two possessions, they certainly didn’t look like the 6th-ranked team in the nation, but they started playing like themselves to close the first half.

After trailing14-3, the Sun Devils broke their touchdown seal with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to D.J. Foster, and from there, the points came fast and heavy.

Arizona State scored a touchdown on its next drive, driving 83 yards on four plays, then ASU’s defense recovered a Sean Mannion fumble and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. Their next drive resulted in a field goal. The Beavers’ 14-3 lead quickly became a 24-14 half time deficit.

“You know what, I think that might have been the most impressive part of the night: the mood (at halftime) was good, and very, very upbeat,” said Riley, “The defense and the offensive line were very confident about what we could do, and that’s a very good sign.”

The fumble came when Mannion was blindsided by ASU’s Marcus Hardison. That was Mannion’s second turnover, the first was a fluttering interception where Mannion was hit just as he threw.

That interception came with the Beavers leading 7-0 in the first quarter, and ASU’s Demarious Randall returned it to the OSU 18-yard line. On third-and-three, Taylor Kelly fired a pass to D.J. Foster, but Steven Nelson hit him as the ball arrived and forced an incompletion.

The officiating crew had quite an awkward first half, with numerous gaffes: mics were left on unintentionally, a flag was thrown instead of a bean bag, and they had to review and overturn two different penalties.

On the first, Taylor Kelly threw a 10-yard completion to Cameron Smith, who pushed off to get open. The offensive pass interference call was initially not enforced, as the refs thought the pass was tipped. After review, they ruled the pass was not tipped and the penalty was eventually enforced.

On the second, Dylan Wynn was called for targeting an Arizona State player, and he was ejected from the game for about two minutes. Upon further review, Wynn was nowhere near a defender’s head and the call was overturned.

The Beavers, themselves had a few head-scratchers, making a pair of somewhat questionable decisions on fourth downs. On the first drive of the second half, trailing by 10 points, the Beavers faced a fourth-and-1 just 19 yards from the end zone. Rather than attempt a 36-yard field goal that would have narrowed the deficit to one possession, or a run, the Beavs went for it all, attempting a deep pass to Caleb Smith on a bootleg. The pass fell incomplete.

“We’d like to, in retrospect, maybe take the points or maybe run the football, but we did drop a pass that could have been a touchdown, too,” said Riley, “It was just one of those shots you take.”

Then with about three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, with the Beavers on ASU’s 45-yardline and facing a fourth-and-one, Riley sent out the punting unit.

“They all wanted to go for it of course, the players did, but I did not think it was smart at that time. It was 15-20 yards from field goal range,” said Riley, “I actually thought that we had played such good defense in the second part of the game that I would rather just try to pin them down there.”

Speaking of special teams, Trevor Romaine returned to the field after he was suspended from the previous game for violating team policy. In his absence, Garrett Owens was a perfect 4-for-4 against Washington State, and apparently that was enough to steal field goal duties from Romaine, who was still in for kickoffs.

Romaine was also set to attempt a 58-yarder before the Beavers called a time out and went for it on a third fourth-and-short. In other words, at the moment, Romaine is used when the team needs power; Owens is used when the team needs accuracy.

Following four consecutive losses, needing to win two of the final three games to reach a bowl game, and against a top-10 team in the nation, this win was of monumental importance for Oregon State.

Only minutes after the game and after seeing Beaver Nation rush the field, you’d think the players would have been over the moon with enthusiasm, but they kept their heads level in the press conference.

“I mean, it’s only one win,” said Terron Ward, “It’s only one game, it doesn’t count as two.”

The Beavers improved to 5-5, 2-5 in the Pac-12, and have remaining games at Washington next week, then the Civil War at home against the Ducks.

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