Arizona had just scored their first touchdown of the game to pull within 14 points. The Beaver offense was struggling to move the ball as the Wildcat defense clamped down forcing OSU to punt.
Sam Paulescu sent a towering kick down the field. Arizona cornerback Wilrey Fontenot waited at his own 15-yard line ready to field the punt, but saw a streaking Chaz Scott out of the corner of his eye. Scott delivered a legal, vicious hit forcing Fontenot to fumble the ball. Cornerback Charles Burnley recovered the fumble and four plays later Derek Anderson stretched out and gave the Beavers a 21-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Players of the game
LB Chaz Scott – the Arizona native received more playing time due to Jonathan Pollard hurting his ankle in the fourth quarter…Scott was his usual fiery self as he wrapped a co-team high nine tackles while forcing one fumble.
CB Charles Burnley – recovered one fumble that lead to the Beavers’ final touchdown and downed a punt on the two yard line in the fourth quarter.
Derek Anderson continued his assault on the Oregon State record books as he became Oregon State’s career passing and total offense leader. Anderson completed 17 of 31 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, including one on the ground.
The Oregonian surpassed Jonathan Smith’s 9,680 yards on OSU’s second possession of the game when he flipped a 10-yard shovel pass to Dwight Wright. With at least three games left in his career Anderson has 9,976 passing yards and 9,209 yards of total offense.
Anderson perhaps had the most impressive back to back to back plays in his career. On OSU’s second possession of the game he spun out of the way of a blitzing linebacker and found Mike Hass downfield for a 20-yard pickup.
On the next play he side stepped another blitzing player, tucked the ball to run, but changed his mind as he saw Anthony Wheat-Brown come free downfield and fired a 32-yard pass on the run. The following play there was heavy pressure again, but Anderson smartly flipped the ball underhand to Dwight Wright for a 10-yard gain.
Anderson also added a touchdown on the ground, the seventh of his career, as he rolled right, stutter stepped – freezing the defender and allowing him to stretch for the score.
The Beavers didn’t score on their first possession of the game due to a fumble, but as fans have come accustomed to they moved the ball with ease on their next possession as they marched 80 yards in seven plays for a 7-0 lead. Some fans have speculated the Beavers are efficient early because the plays are scripted and the players are confident they can execute the offense.
So, why do they struggle later in the game? Some fans feel the coaches and players have a difficult time adjusting their game plan as the opposing team’s defense adjusts. This seems to be the case as OSU ran many of the same plays later in the game that were successful in the first quarter; except most of the plays were not open in the second half.
Defense up…defense down
The Beaver defense once again punished an Arizona quarterback, except this time it was just for one half. Despite registering just two sacks Bill Swancutt, Keith Ellison, Chaz Scott, and their teammates drove Richard Kovalcheck into the turf time and time again.
The Black Swarm was dominate in the first half as they intercepted one pass, stopped the Cats on fourth down and forced them to punt five times. They also held Kovalcheck to 70 yards on 10 of 23 passes while hurrying for much of the first two quarters. In the first half the Beaver defense did not give up more than 28 yards on any drive and yielded just 92 total yards.
In the second half Arizona scored twice and put together three drives of 60 yards or more. The Wildcats racked up 239 total yards in the second half. Fatigue may have been a factor as the defensive line lacked the push they had in the first half. Zone coverage also hurt the Beavs as they lost their aggressive edge when they switched.
Into the wind
Place-kicker Alexis Serna saw his ninth field goal attempt, a 41-yard boot, sail wide right. It was his first field goal miss of the season. The hold and kick were good, but the nasty wind blew the ball off target. Serna was visibly disappointed, but his teammates were very supportive after his miss. He is 8 of 9 on field goals this year.
Keep on ticking
Several players took the field against Arizona that have been battling injuries that past several weeks. Tight end Joe Newton started despite not being 100% due to a shoulder injury he suffered against Cal on Oct. 2 Newton looked good as he caught a team high six passes for 74 yards and one touchdown. He repeatedly got hit on the shoulder and despite being sore he should be close to, if not, 100% for the USC contest.
Tight end Dan Haines who has been bothered by a bruised heel also played, mostly as an H-back. Center Matt Brock, who tweaked his left knee against Washington State, also started and looked fine, but not completely healthy.
The Oregon State special teams have been solid during the second half of the season. Punter Sam Paulescu continues to perform at a high level helping his team win the field position battle, kick and punt returner Sammie Stroughter has fans, teammates and coaches excited about the return game, and the coverage team has been doing a superb job.
Against Arizona linebacker Chaz Scott made a nasty hit on the UA punter returner that caused the player to fumble the ball. Charles Burnley recovered the fumble and a few plays later the Beavs were in the endzone. Burnley also got down the field quickly and downed a punt on the two yard line in the fourth quarter. Special teams play will be one of the many keys against USC this weekend.
- The Beavers three game conference winning streak is its first under head coach Mike Riley.
- Oregon State has only defeated Arizona in Tucson twice. Once in 2000 and Saturday’s victory in 2004.
- Oregon State finished with 61 yards rushing after totaling a minus-3 in the first half.
- Safety Mitch Meeuwsen now has a school record 18 interceptions.