Some good, some bad

Third down conversions...spreading the ball around...offensive, notes and quotes from Oregon State's 38-0 victory over Idaho on Sept. 23, 2006.

Play of the game.
Down 17-0, Idaho had a chance to score a touchdown just before halftime, but LB Eric Moala-Liava intercepted a Steve Wichman pass at the OSU 37 ending one of the Vandal's few scoring threats


Players of the game.
- Despite not having a lot of room to run RB Yvenson Bernard racked up a game high 117 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. He moved past Billy Main (1,621) into 10th on the OSU career rushing list.

Defense - CB Brandon Hughes played valiantly in his first game of the season as he locked down his side of the field while brining a lot of energy. He also had a couple of good hits.

Special teams - P Kyle Loomis had a solid day averaging 37 yards per kick, five yards more than his season average, while pinning the Vandals four times inside their own 20-yard line. He upped his season average almost four yards to 34.5.


Dinged up.
Just three games into the season the team has several players battling injuries.


Beaver "D" came to play.
The defense produced the first shutout in 20 years. The last time Oregon State shutout an opponent was in 1983 against Oregon in a 0-0 tie in what is known to locals as "The Toilet Bowl." OSU's last shutout win at home was 7-0 victory over Washington State in 1975.

They also forced six turnovers (4 interceptions and two fumble recoveries), limited the Vandals to 185 total yards, never let them in the redzone and held them to 0 for 10 on third down conversions.


Spreading it around and using his feet.
Against Boise State QB Matt Moore completed a pass to just three different receivers. Against Idaho, Moore completed a pass to seven different players (Stroughter, Wheat-Brown, Strickland, Vandiver, Powers, Bernard and Newton), including four in the first two drives of the game. Moore also used his feet to pick up 11 yards for a first down and rushed another time for a five yard gain on first down. He finished 16 of 31 for 169 yards, one interception and one touchdown.

His backup, redshirt freshman Sean Canfield, came in late in the fourth quarter looking sharp and completing 4 of 4 for 37 yards, while sneaking into the endzone for the first rushing touchdown of his collegiate career.


2,000 is still a long shot.
Before the start of the season the offensive line had a goal of getting RB Yvenson Bernard 2,000 yards. Through three games Bernard has 344 yards on 66 carries (5.0 ypc) with four touchdowns for an average of 110.0 yards per game, third in the Pac-10. He needs 1,656 yards to reach 2,000.

Due to injuries on the offensive line and the start of conference play the 2,000 yard mark is probably not plausible. He would have to average 165.6 yards per game here on out. If Bernard continues to average 110 yards per contest he would finish the season with 1,444 yards, good for the fifth best rushing season by an individual in school history.


The redzone and third down conversions.
Oregon State converted 5 of 6 in the redzone but struggled once again on third downs converting just 6 of 14.

Through three games OSU has converted 10 of 13 (77%) in the redzone. On third downs the Beavers sit at 37% (14 of 38), good for ninth in the conference.


Mixing it up.
It has been a long time, probably since Riley's first tenure or longer, since a fullback at OSU caught a pass, but freshman Micah Strickland did it three times for 36 yards against Idaho.

Also, for the first time in the Riley era part II, the offense went into a shotgun formation.


Time of possession.
For the Beavers to defeat Cal this Saturday, they must dominated the time of possession. Against Idaho OSU held the ball almost 10 minutes more than Idaho (UI - 25:34, OSU - 34:26).

On the season the Men in Black are averaging almost 34 minutes per game, third in the Pac-10, while their opponents are averaging just over 26 minutes (OSU - 33:56, Opp - 26:05)


Special teams improving.
Although Sammie Stroughter did not return a punt for a touchdown, therefore not tying an NCAA record, he did come close. He fair caught the first two punts of the game before weaving and spinning his way for an exciting 15 yard return in the first quarter.

Stroughter was perhaps robbed on a touchdown in the second half when he waived off teammates on a bouncing punt before picking up the football. But the referees incorrectly ruled that Stroughter waved his hand over his head indicating a fair catch. Beaver Nation was not happy and let the zebras have it.

The punting game took a giant leap forward as freshman Kyle Loomis averaged 37 yards a punt on eight kicks while pinning the Vandals inside their own 20 four times. Sabby Piscitelli had the hit of the night from the gunner position when he perfectly timed a hit on the punt returner just before halftime. Unfortunately, the referees screwed up again and called kick catching interference.


Additional notes.

  • PK Alexis Serna hit his first field goal of the season as he connected from 34 yards out.
  • RB Clinton Polk saw his first significant action of the season coming in fourth quarter as he picked up 49 yards on 10 carries.
  • WR Shane Morales recorded his first reception in a Beaver uniform hauling in a one yard pass from Canfield.
  • WR Anthony Wheat-Brown had his best game of the year catching three passes for 50 yards and one touchdown doubling his season totals to six receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
  • TE Joe Newton caught just two passes for 10 yards, but was mainly held into block as Idaho blitzed the Beavers over 40 times Saturday.
  • RT Curtis Coker sat out due to violating team rules, he will play against Cal. Pernell Booth started in his place, he did not record a tackle.
  • CB Brandon Hughes started over Coye Francies while Andy Levitre started over Jeremy Perry (knee injury).
  • S Sabby Piscitelli picked off the 12th pass of his career. S Daniel Drayton and LB Eric Moala-Liava got the first of their careers.
  • LB Alan Darlin led OSU with seven tackles, one fumble recovery and one sack.
  • Oregon State has 11 sacks, half of the total from 2005.
  • The Beavers have won 22 straight nonconference home games.
  • OSU and Idaho have future games scheduled for 2008 at Idaho and 2009 at Oregon State.
  • Oregon State had three personal fouls (Bernard, Speer and Siegert).


Coach Mike Riley.
(On the game) - "That was a job well done. I like how we took the couple of weeks to work on our defense after we were stung so badly (at Boise). It was great to see us come back and play defense like that and do a nice overall job in every aspect. We were very pleased with the win, and there were some outstanding stuff going on. Guys are excited about it. I would rather them not be celebrating too much. They appreciated the win and go on from there."

(On the offense) - "We were sporadic, and not as consistent as we should have been. I thought there were some really good things, some good variety. Offensively, it’s like that. If you don’t score every time there’s always something.”

(On Idaho) - “I think they’re going to absolutely fine in their league. They have some stuff going with that defense. We were scared to death, because we didn’t want to be one of those upsets you read about on Sunday.”

(On Moore) - “Matt made some improvements tonight as far as reads go. The whole team is going to have to continue to improve if we are going to win in our conference.”

(On Linehan's injury) - “I don’t know how it happened, but it was on a block after the interception. It must have been how he twisted. The block wasn’t down low. We don’t have ready-to-play depth. We are developing some people. It’s hard to lose someone in your top six. I hope we haven’t lost him.”


RB Yvenson Bernard.
(On his performance) - “It was OK. It wasn’t the best, but when (the Vandals) are blitzing like they did on just about every play, it’s kind of difficult to get in a rhythm. We made some adjustments and, in the second half, I got more confident and felt a little stronger.”

QB Matt Moore.
(On his interception) - “You just want to punch yourself for it. You have to let it go, but if we are going to be the kind of team we want to be, stuff like that can’t happen. I felt good a couple of times, but other times ... there were peaks and valleys. if we are going to be the kind of team we want to be, stuff like that can’t happen.”

(On the offense's performance) - “Some good, some bad. We didn’t execute the way we should have. I was missing some of my throws. But the team responded well after two weeks off, and the defense was impressive. We appreciate their hard work.”

(On Cal) - “The (Idaho) game helped us, but there’s a lot of work to do. I’m not frowning on anything, but we just have to pick up our game a little bit for the Pac-10 opener and Cal. We just have to work hard in practice next week, and we’ll be ready.”

(On the game) - “It was some good and some bad. We started out nice, but we didn’t execute the way we should have later on in the game, myself in particular missing some throws. But after two weeks off and coming back, the team responded well. We cleaned some stuff up late in the game, which is good. Overall it was good we won. The shutout compliments the defense. But I think there is a lot more to get better on.”


LB Alan Darlin.
(On the game) - “The big plays created more energy for us. That’s the key for us, that everybody is running around. It’s so much better when everybody’s out there having fun and making things happen. It wasn't just our first string holding them down. It was first, second and some of the third string holding them down. There was a bad taste in our mouth for 16 days, and it was nice to have something else to latch onto and feel good about."


LB Derrick Doggett.
(On his interception for a TD) - “I saw the ball bounce off Dorian, and then it kind of went into the body of one of our linemen, and I thought it was going to hit the ground. I scooped it up and looked up and got to the end zone as quick as I could.”

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