Play of the game.
Down 29-27 the Beavers had the ball with just over 4:00 minutes to play at the Wildcat 19 yard line after a spectacular 45-yard catch by Mike Hass. A delay of game call pushed OSU back to the 27 yard line.
After Yvenson Bernard grabbed back three yards, on the next play Matt Moore dropped back in the pocket, but it quickly crumbled forcing him to step up. With the ball flailing about he took off up the middle of the field. Unfortunately, defensive end Jonathan Turner slapped the ball away and UA recovered the ball.
"I tried to step up," Moore said. "I should've tucked it, ran and slid down. At least we could've kicked a field goal. But the guy got to me, hit my arm and I lost the ball."
Players of the game.
Offense - Same as last week. Yvenson Bernard turned in another solid performance with 192 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries. Mike Hass continued to amaze with a 11 catch 190 yard game.
Defense - Once again no one stood out, but at one point I have to recognize Trent Bray. He puts in a solid performance every week and he turned in another good effort with nine tackles, including one for loss.
Special teams - The kickoff return team is performing well and if they were kicked to more, the statistics would be significantly better. Lamar Herron has been just inches from returning one for a touchdown.
Third downs and the redzone.
Converting third downs is one of the most critical aspects of football and Oregon State has largely failed at the task in the last two games. Against UCLA, OSU converted just 2 of 13 and a measly 2 of 11 against Arizona. That is a success rate of 21-percent.
On the other hand, the redzone offense has done significantly better since the California contest scoring on 3 of 4 opportunities against UCLA and 5 of 6 versus Arizona.
Moore vs. Gunderson.
Believe it or not, Derek Anderson never did what Matt Moore did on Saturday. Anderson threw five picks a handful of times, but never reached the even number of six. Moore's six picks, four of which were thrown on Arizona's side of the field, are one short of the school record seven set by Erik Wilhelm in 1987 against Stanford. Moore also fumbled twice, losing one.
With Moore's poor performance and four interceptions in the first half shouts for backup Ryan Gunderson started in earnest in the second half. With the argument raging on weather to play Gunderson or not, this writer feels there is no dispute.
Moore should be the starter and despite his awful touchdown to interception rate during conference play (10-18), he gives the Beavers the best chance to win. Why? He is more mobile, which hurt and helped him against Arizona, he can make the deep throw, see the 49-yard pass to Josh Hawkins in the second half, and he can make the difficult out throws, see Hass' back to back catches on the sideline late in the second half.
Of the aforementioned skills Gunderson cannot perform any of them as well as Moore. He isn't as mobile as Moore and he cannot through the deep ball which takes away a lot of the playbook. The biggest issue I see with Moore is he is not seeing the field and therefore not getting rid of the ball soon enough. He had plenty of time Saturday to find his receivers, but he was hesitant to throw.
17 more first downs. 153 more yards on the ground. 19 more passes completed. 101 more passing yards. 35 more offensive plays. And 13 more minutes of possession. BUT Oregon State also had six more interceptions and 91 more yards of penalties.
Another interesting statistic is that Sam Paulescu only punted twice while Arizona punted eight times. Arizona also returned six kickoffs while OSU fielded just two (most of the kicks were in the back of the endzone).
The big play.
Not again. Yep, an opposing player 15-yards behind the defense, all by himself. It happened again against Arizona and it will probably happen at least a few more times in the next three contests.
Against the Wildcats the defense was solid except for three big plays that accounted for almost two thirds of the Wildcat offense and setup or resulted in all of UA's points.
To kick or not to kick.
On Oregon State's opening drive they took the ball to the Arizona 11 yard line before reaching fourth and one. Riley decided to kick the field goal and put the Beavers up 3-0.
On the first drive of the second half the Beavers took the ball to the Arizona 25 yard line before facing fourth and two. This time, with OSU down 23-10, Riley decided to go for it, but was unsuccessful.
Most fans wanted Riley to go for it, but one arm chair quarterback stood up and yelled, "This is the voice of reason. Kick the field goal!" Ahhh, sometimes the fans do get it right.
After forcing five turnovers and grabbing three sacks at California the defense has recorded just one turnover and two sacks in the last two tilts.
UA quarterback Willie Tuitama had all day to throw in the pocket and was rarely knocked to the ground despite a redshirt freshman guard and tight end receiving the first starts of their career.
But give Tuitama credit. He did not throw many bad passes except for two that hit Sabby Piscitelli in the hands.
Stoops gives refs an earful.
The coaches are always in the ears of the referees, especially Mike Stoops, but I have never seen a coach so successful in lobbying the officials.
On three separate occasions a play was dead and Stoops got the official to throw a flag late. It was disgusting.
The interception return.
After safety Michael Johnson intercepted Moore's overthrown ball at the 40, there were plenty of offensive players that could have made a tackle. But Johnson weaved through the traffic for a defensive touchdown.
During the run back, it was so quite that you could hear the players running on the turf. I was very surprised that he took the pick back for a touchdown. It looked like the offense gave up on tackling him.
Reser gets some love.
Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star wrote: "One word for the remake of Reser Stadium: fabulous. It's intimate yet big enough (43,000) to produce department-wide revenue. It puts both Oregon schools as 1-2 (or 2-1) in the Pac-10 in game-day atmosphere."
Hass record watch.
With a 21-yard reception in the fourth quarter Mike Hass set the school receiving record. Hass finished with 11 catches for 190 yards. The All-American also had a couple of spectacular catches in the fourth quarter on the sidelines in which the ball was out of bounds but he kept control of his body and his feet to snatch the ball and keep the drive alive
He also added another dandy late in the fourth as he went up and ripped the ball from two UA defenders for a 45 yard gain.
"(The crowd response) was nice, for sure, but it doesn't feel as good as it should," Hass said after breaking the school's career yardage record. "We've got to bounce back. . . . This is going to sting for a couple days but come Tuesday, it's on to Washington."
Hass received a loud, standing ovation, but it was at the wrong time as the offense was trying to get the play. Several players were motioning for the crowd to quiet down. He is now 12th on the Pac-10's career receptions list with 199.
Oh, and yes, they did play the Mike Hass song during warm ups.
Yes there have been strides in eliminating penalties and it is obvious that personal fouls are down from a year ago, but the procedure penalties are killing the Men in Black.
It the past three games OSU has been flagged for 30 times for 268 yards. The yards alone hurt, but the time that they happen hurt even more as third and shorts are turned into third and longs and the team is knocked back out of scoring range.
QB Matt Moore
(On his performance) "I'm disappointed, obviously. I'm better than that, I think. All the guys, they've told me they still believe and all that stuff, in me, which is good. I want to be the leader of this team, and take these guys wherever we're going to go, so my confidence is good, but after a game like this it might take me a day. But I'll be fine."
(On the fan's reactions this week) "I'm sure people are going to be all over us, all over me. You just have to ignore it and stay as a team and go out and play Oregon State football the way we can. What can I do? I'm just going to have to take it. I don't know, I'd probably do the same. I don't know, sit here and take it, I guess."
(On what the players said at halftime) "The guys were cool. I was pissed, but you've just got to keep your head up and keep fighting. Everybody said, 'We've been in this situation before,' which we had . . . so, we just kept our heads."
(On the play that he fumbled) The call was a deep route over the middle.
I should have tucked it, run and slid, because we were going to kick a field
goal. The guy hit my arm before I could tuck the ball away and lost it. I didnt
Coach Mike Riley
(On playing Gunderson) "I thought about (inserting Gunderson) for a bit, just for Matt's sake, at some point in there, after the half, but we came out in the second half and had two very good drives, I'm not looking for a hook for Matt, but I just thought it might be better for him at some point."
(On getting Moore refocused) "The absolute way to do it is just to keep coaching him. A lot of it today was really making a bad choice, trying to make something happen that's not there. That's one thing that a lot of quarterbacks (do), they want to make something happen so badly that they force something."
(On the turnovers) "We cost ourselves many opportunities with turnovers. They made about four big plays, one the interception for a touchdown and three big pass plays, and then it got worse from there."
(On the statistics) "The yardage, the production ... those things don't tell the whole tale of football."
(On Arizona) "(Arizona) didn't do a lot, but what it did, it usually did with a big one."
(On Moore starting) He is definitely our starting quarterback. Hes had a lot of good games and a lot of good production. He had a very rough day that he will remember for a long time. But I dont want him to remember too long because hes going to start Saturday.
(On the series when Moore fumbled) "My goal was to use the clock. We wanted to try and score a touchdown but make sure we were in good position for a field goal. That's just the way the day went. Matt stepped up there, it looked like he had three or four yards probably. He could have just slid down and we would have been in a little better position when the time came if we had to kick a field goal."
LB Trent Bray
(On the Beaver defense) "We didn't exactly make it hard for (Tuitama) in the first half. We left guys wide open. It's the same thing we always do. Stupid stuff. Just stupid stuff. Turnovers just kill you."
(On the loss) This is hard. Its a game we came in knowing we had
to win, and we should have won. Arizonas a good team. They should have
beaten Oregon and lost a lot of close games. You cant make as many mistakes
as we did and beat a good team.
WR Mike Hass
(On the series that Moore fumbled) "I thought we were in position to win the game. That's what everybody was thinking ... get as many yards as we could and try to kick a field goal. It just didn't work out."
(On where this loss ranks in his career) Its up there, man. Its probably one of the toughest (losses) Ive had here. This one really stings, it gets to your heart when that happens.
(On what he told Moore at halftime) "I told him to keep his head up. I told him the only play you can think about is the next one. In the second half he did play a lot better."
(On Moore) "Matt's a resilient guy. He's a leader. He'll bounce back. I'm sure he's disappointed, as we all are. But he'll be under center next Saturday."
RB Yvenson Bernard
(On the loss) "This loss hurts period, it doesn't matter how many yards we had or how many good plays we had. It just hurts."
(On who to blame) Everybody made mistakes. Sometimes it was pass blocking and thats why he made a bad throw or an interception. It was the whole offense.
DT Alvin Smith
(On the rest of the season) "They say the next game is always the biggest of the season. We're in a situation now where we can't look past anybody, despite their record. Look what happened today."
(On the game) "I'm not surprised how tough the game was, but I am surprised at how tough we made it. You can't expect to win playing like this on either side of the ball. When it comes down to it, we shouldnt have lost. Its a disgusting feeling.
(On who to blame) "Nah, you can't point fingers at anybody, not in that game. This is a team game."
(On the next game) "As a football player, as an athlete, if you don't come out after a game like this with a little more fire, you're in the wrong sport. I expect us to be a completely different team (at Washington)."
(On Arizona) Credit to them, because they pulled out a victory. But anyone who saw this game knows we shot ourselves in the foot."
- RB Yvenson Bernard has three consecutive games of over 100 yards rushing
and is just 10 yards away from a 1,000 yard season.
- QB Matt Moore's 436 yards in the fourth-highest total for a single game
in school history.
- TE Jason Vandiver did not play due to an ankle injury he suffered in practice
before the game.
- LB Bryant Cornell had a good day on special teams as he was in on several
tackles on kickoffs.
- SS Sabby Piscitelli played cornerback for several plays, as Lamar Herron
and Al Afalava manned the safety positions. Riley said it was an emergency
and it will not happen in the long run.
- LB Dennis Christopher had the hit of the day on a kickoff when he flipped
the ball carrier on his helmet on a kickoff.
- Oregon State's total offense of 654 yards was a season high and tied for
the fourth-most in OSU history.
- With crowd of 40,759, Beavers have yet to record a Reser Stadium sellout
- OSU's 31 first downs was one short of the school record set in 1993 against
- The Beavers won two play reviews, their firsts of the season, and are 2
of 17 on the year.
- Oregon State ranks 116th in turnover margin at -1.63.
- The Beavers' opponents have scored 37 touchdowns and just eight field goals this year.