'We kind of fell apart'

Post game news and notes from the Oregon State/Arizona State game on Sept. 24.

Play of the game.
Arizona State led 14-3 at half-time and the Beaver defense came out strong in the second half forcing ASU to punt. All of the momentum was on Oregon State's side as the crowd roared to life. The orange and black offense moved the ball inside to the Sun Devil thirty as Matt Moore hooked up with Dan Haines for a six yard gain and a first down. But Dan Haines fumbled the ball and Arizona State recovered. They proceeded to take the ball 70 yards in seven plays for 21-3 lead with just over 10:00 left in the third.


Players of the game.

Offense - Mike Hass. Perhaps I should just leave his name here. Hass is definitely one of the top five, if not the best, receiver in the nation. Arizona State was very physical with him, but he still got open with double and triple coverage. No one, I repeat, no one can cover Hass one on one. He finished with 174 yards and 11 catches. It was the eighth consecutive game over 100 yards and the 14th of his career.

Defense - Defensive tackles. Sir Henry Anderson and Alvin Smith helped keep the Sun Devil running game in check as they yielded just 95 yards. Thirty to forty of the yards coming in the fourth quarter when the game was already in hand. Smith and Anderson combined for seven tackles, three for loss, and one sack and two pass breakups.

Special teams - Eddie Stamm. Showed lots of energy and got down the field quickly to bust up the wedge.


The three linebackers once again led the team in tackles as Trent Bray tallied 12 stops, Keith Ellison 7 and Derrick Doggett 5. Bray and Ellison are first and second in the conference in tackles.


Where are the ends?
Believe it or not, about the only change to the defensive line from a year ago is the departure of Bill Swancutt. And although Swancutt started out the 2004 season slow he required double-teams that allowed his teammates greater room to roam. As all Beaver fans know the defense this year has had a difficult time pressuring the quarterback and part of the issue has to do with the play, or lackthereof, of the defensive ends.

Through four games a year ago Swancutt by himself had 18 tackles, including three for loss and zero sacks. Through four games this year, the combined stats of the three ends that play the most (Jeff Van Orsow, Joe Lemma, and Joe Rudulph) are 23 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and a measly one sack.

Another glaring statistic that exposes the Beaver ends is the 23 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, and two sacks by the two starting defensive tackles, Alvin Smith and Sir Henry Anderson.


Rushing onward.
One of the few bright spots from Saturday's loss to Arizona State was the ever improving running game. Mike Riley continues to open up the playbook as the offensive line continues to improve their blocking opening up holes for Yvenson Bernard to slide through. Bernard rushed for a career high 137 yards becoming the first back to rush for over 100 since Ryan Cole racked up 104 against Washington State in 2004. The game by game rushing statistics follow.

  • Portland State - 26-77, Bernard 14 carries for 56 yards
  • Boise State - 30-83, Bernard, 13 carries for 92 yards
  • Louisville - 35-42, Bernard, 18 carries for 66 yards
  • Arizona State - 47-144, Bernard, 28 carries for 134 yards and one touchdown


Switching it up.
During the week leading up to the ASU game Beaver fans on message boards and radio shows talked about using a zone defense. The Beavers did go into zone coverage several times but it may have hurt more than helped as the half back and tight end got behind the defense twice for big gains and one touchdown. The blown coverage probably has a lot to do with the secondaries inexperience with zone schemes.

Fans also discussed rotating in the backups to see if they could do any better than the starters. Brandon Hughes played most of the second half as Keenen Lewis injured his leg while Al Afalava and Aaron Miller received significant time as well. Afalava was specifically used on a cornerback blitz. He looked quick and delivered a couple of good hits to the quarterback. Hughes struggled in coverage while Miller was not thrown against that much.


Nice touch.
No team likes to be on the end of back to back blowouts, but it does give the backups and younger players opportunities to gain valuable experience. Ryan Gunderson looked sharp completing 5 of 6 passes for 70 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown toss was a perfect toss to Brandon Powers in the corner of the end zone. It was Powers' first touchdown of his collegiate career.


Missing leadership and underestimating players.
At times, especially the third quarter, the Oregon State secondary looked confused and needed some direction. Last year that direction came from safety Mitch Meeuwsen whom the coaches loved because they said it was like having a coach on the field. Clearly the Beavers miss Meeuwsen's football smarts and leadership.

Another player that OSU misses on the defense is linebacker Chaz Scott. Scott was the fastest, and one of the meanest, linebackers on the team. He was also full of energy, a trait that the current defense sometimes lacks.

On offense, receiver Marcel Love who was tough over the middle and tight end Joe Newton are clearly missed as no one has established themselves as a secondary receiver behind Hass. The closest person to filling that role is Bernard, but he can't do everything.


In the Pac-10, Oregon State is last...

  • in scoring defense (36.5)
  • in pass defense (303.8)
  • in turnover margin (-1.75)
  • in rushing offense (86.5)
  • in pass defense efficiency (165.3)
  • in sacks (5)
  • in sacks yielded (19)



Head coach Mike Riley
"In general we couldn't get it into the end zone, and that was the biggest difference."

“Early in the game, we would move the ball a little bit, get a penalty and so on. Later on it became move the ball and turn it over. You can’t do that at all, but you especially can’t do it against a top-20 team against Arizona State. That was very disappointing. Had we been able to play with better ball security and give up a couple less big plays, it would have been a very different game.”

“It was 21-10, and in the blink of an eye, it was 42-10. That was the whole game, right in that spell.”

"We just kept putting ourselves back in a hole with penalties and turnovers. We had ample opportunities to put points on the board, but we just couldn't get into the end zone."

Linebacker Trent Bray
"We pretty much were playing real good the first half, and we kind of fell apart. And they took advantage of every mistake we made. For some reason we have a quarter or two and we can't do anything. We've got to fix that."

(On Sam Keller) “He was a good quarterback,” Bray said. “We knew we were going to have get pressure on him and play good pass defense. The first half, we did. Third quarter, it was pretty obvious what happened.”

Quarterback Matt Moore
(On the running game) “We moved the ball good on the ground. The pitch worked well, the zone stuff inside was good. We’re going to keep getting better at that. Yvenson’s not the biggest, he’s not the fastest, but he’s going to give you everything he’s got. And everything he’s got is pretty darn good.”

"We came out and did some good things and did some bad things. We just have to minimize the penalties. We kind of dug ourselves a hole early. It didn't set up a good path for us for the rest of the game. But there was a lot of good stuff in that game, but unfortunately we didn't come out on top."

Wide receiver Mike Hass
“Any time you go down in the red zone so many times and turn the ball over, you’re not going to win many games. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot."

"Everyone is a little down. When you lose a game by this much, no one is happy. We just have to get better. You are going to be disappointed for a day or two and then you have to move on," Hass said. "We know what happened, and there's nothing we can do about it now."


News and notes:

  • For the second straight week Sam Paulescu had a punt blocked. The cause may be the long snapper as the ball does not get to him quickly enough. With Joel Cohen out for the season freshman Aaron Carlson took over snapping for punts while Darrick Bruns took over field goal and PAT snapping duties. Carlson got the starting snapping job for punts because he is better at blocking then Bruns.

  • WR Kevin Swanigan tore his ACL in his right knee and is out for the season.

  • CB Keenan Lewis did not play in the second half due to cramping in his left leg. He is expected to start next week.

  • Oregon State ran 96 plays, one short of the record set against Utah set in 1968.

  • Matt Moore was sacked seven times, Ryan Gunderson once.

  • OSU committed six turnovers, three interceptions and three fumbles.

  • The Beavers had five penalties — three false starts, a personal foul and holding— in the game’s first 6:14. But the Beavers had only two penalties the rest of the way.

  • Oregon State had 11 more first downs and had the ball 11 more minutes then ASU.

  • The Beaver defense has given up 105 points and 1,028 yards in the past two games

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