The Beaver Beat (October 17, 2006)

A funny thing happened on the way to a 3-10 season on Saturday – an old friend arrived. Matt Moore had just been knocked to the turf, which, as of last week, meant another reason to raise the "C" a little higher in the "CAN RILEY" chorus line. But instead of laying on the ground, contemplating his impending baseball career, this time Matt Moore got up – and got pissed. OSU's swagger was back.

For the first time in awhile, it's good to be a Beaver again. Allow TBB to do all of the reveling for you.

This time around, Da Beat is going to be handing out game balls like Xanax at a strategy meeting for Republican senators; dissect exactly how NOT to be a fan, using examples from Husky Stadium; predict a scene straight out of Pyongyang in Tuscon this weekend; try to avoid Cory Lidle jokes for the sake of Webmaster Dan; and finish by unleashing the Pole of Power.

It's three days after a Beaver game and there's no talk on the message boards about lynching the quarterback. Strap in and enjoy.

YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE HOW HARD IT IS TO COME UP WITH THESE HEADINGS EVERY WEEK

As your intrepid reporter alluded to at the beginning of this column, the turning point for the Washington game (and hopefully the season) was when, on a three-yard rushing score by Yvenson Bernard, Matt Moore got planted long after the handoff. The commune I live in here in Eugene doesn't have cable or running water, so I don't know if the television broadcast picked it up, but Matt was absolutely livid when he got up.

The much-maligned quarterback stood up and started yelling across the field at the guys in purple and gold. He started wagging his finger and storming around near the sidelines. Finally, he waltzed over to the few hundred Beaver fans sitting in the end zone closest to Lake Washington and started beckoning for them to stand up and get louder.

For the first time in two years, the swagger was back.

It wasn't the only play that gave me that feeling either. When Anthony Wheat-Brown left the Washington corner searching on the ground for his pancreas (not to mention his dignity) on the 80-yard Sammie Stroughter possession, everyone in the stadium had a Bill Clinton moment in feeling his pain. In the same way, on one important play, with the Washington crowd getting loud to disrupt a driving OSU offense, Jeremy Perry stood up on the offensive line to encourage the crowd to get louder.

There's not a whole lot you can complain about in this game if you're a Beaver fan. The offensive line provided Moore with time. The defensive line (particularly Jeff Van Orsow, Dorian Smith and Victor Butler) got after a mobile quarterback. Derrick Doggett made Isaiah Stanback his bit..ter enemy on the night, taking personally some hype before the game about Stanback being the fastest guy on the field.

All other successes stem from the performances of those two groups. The excellent blocking opened up lanes for Bernard, who averaged over five yards a carry on the game. The running game made the Huskies cheat up on the run, opening up the pass game for Matt Moore (who, imagine that, had enough time to throw). Just look at the statistics: Matt went 14 for 19 on the day, with one INT that can be chalked up to Joe Newton's suddenly slippery fingers.

The last time a Beaver quarterback completed over 75% of his passes for the game, people still went to Blazer games. Mike Riley should be given an extra three weeks of job security for enabling that, if nothing else.

PUT IN CANFIELD!? WHICH OF YOU IDIOTS WERE CALLING FOR THAT!?

The Beaver Beat wants to officially say "shame on you" to all of the Beaver fans who were calling for wunderkind quarterback Matt Moore to be replaced by the incredibly untalented Sean Canfield. I think we showed on Saturday just how stupid those calls were.

I mean, come on, Sean Canfield was 0-2 with an interception! How many exclamation points and question markets do I have to put on the end of this sentence to make it clear that Sean Canfield is the WORST QUARTERBACK EVER!!?!?!?!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

I hope that this is a lesson not just to the fans that doubted Matt and his ardent supporters like me, but to Mike Riley, too. You think you're so smart for putting in Sean Canfield? YOU ARE NOT, SIR. He not only had a 0% completion percentage on Saturday, he had a 0% LIFE percentage and should have his scholarship immediately taken away. I also demand that you give me $400,000, since I know that you read this column, and I'll be damned if my superior coaching ability goes un-rewarded.

This edition of The Beaver Beat is dedicated to Matt Moore, the quarterback in which your intrepid reporter never stopped believing, but to whom TBB simply wanted to give tough love and support. You + me, Matt. BFF.

(But Matt? Just so you know? I've got my "PUT IN PAUL KIRWAN" sign around here somewhere. Don't make me use it.)

I'M SORRY, SIR, IT APPEARS MY EYE GOT IN THE WAY OF YOUR GUMMI BEAR

If you read Da Beat at all, you already know that fellow Beaver fans constantly catch the ire of your intrepid reporter. Somewhere in the past five years, Oregon State fans have decided that the proper etiquette for game day is to show up in Corvallis thirty minutes before game-time, file into Reser about five minutes after kickoff, complain about the people standing in front of you, complain about the people being so LOUD, leave with ten minutes in the second quarter to go tailgate, come back with ten minutes left in the third quarter, complain some more, shift in the cushioned seatback that hates you more than you can possibly imagine for using it so much, then, if the game is not tied, regardless of who is winning, leave with six minutes left in the fourth quarter to beat traffic.

The people that decided this are normally 90 years old, wearing a blue or green sweatshirt regardless of weather and smell like baby powder. They also pay much more money for their seats, as they'll tell you. They also suck.

Walking into Husky Stadium, I was shocked to see that college football is not a glorified briss in other parts of the world. When the game actually got started, the fans even stood up. Be still, beating heart.

Sitting behind me was a guy who contributed to the instrumental version of every song the Husky marching band played by saying "Bum-ba-dum" about a half beat behind the guys on the field. At about this point, having driven 300 miles and paid $120 to sit on the 50-yard line with the high-roller Husky fans, my girlfriend looks at me and mouths the word "DB" to me. If you don't know what this stands for, please consult the feminine hygiene aisle of your local Wal-Mart.

Turns out, though, that this guy was the crème de la crap as far as Husky fans went. He was vocal, he was knowledgeable…and not too bad until, on the first play from scrimmage, the Huskies completed a deep pass.

"HOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK!!!"

We didn't see that he had brought in twin brass horns that simulated the noise from a traffic jam, but we did hear them. I'm still hearing them, actually.

Everyone had a great time ribbing the Beaver fans who were sitting in the Husky section…until Oregon State got the ball.

True to every Beaver game I've ever attended, home or away, I stood up after OSU gained ten yards to yell "And that's ANOTHER…BEAVER…FIRST DOWN". Complete with wagging hand motions. I'm priceless.

In Boise, they grumbled and then, by the end of the game, laughed. At Beaver games, everyone (except for the aforementioned Golden Oldies) is doing it, too.

Here, I might as well have called for Gilby to be promoted to athletic director. Sitting in the seats was one thing. Wearing orange was one thing. But CHEERING?

After a few more chants, topped off with me turning around, cupping my hands and yelling "HOOOOOOOOOONK, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK" at Horn Guy when OSU scored a touchdown (to his bemusement), things started getting nasty.

Despite what it may sound like on here, I'm a pretty good fan when I go to away games. I normally strike up a discussion with the people around me, shake my head and smile when Oregon State does something stupid and take my lumps when we lose. It's all a part of the experience.

For the most part, the fans at the game on Saturday were awesome. Most of them couldn't understand why Canfield would be in after two great drives by Moore, causing me to give them a list of the "Top Ten Reasons Your Intrepid Reporter Contemplates Suicide Every Saturday". As Horn Guy said at one point, "You're making it real hard to hate you right now." A little later, his friend added, "I think you've won this crowd over".

So, you know, things were cool. Before the peanuts started flying.

Normally you see the same group of people at college football games when you start yelling. You see Red-Faced Indignant Man, who seems to have lost all ability to form non-obscene words once you start cheering and who looks like a triumphant third-grader when something goes right for his team. You see Stony-Faced Man, who might as well be dead to the game and the world, except for when he tries to kill you using merely the power of his eyes. You see the Good Fans, who just roll their eyes.

Then there was Peanut-Throwing Man. He makes rare appearances at games. Sometimes he threatens to kill you if you don't sit down. Sometimes he sounds like an episode of South Park. Often you get the feeling that his Mommy didn't hug him as a child.

For us, he was sitting three rows back, to seats to the left.

After being pelted with about $20 of peanuts for most of the game, I actually took the time to see who was so offended at my antics. True to the PTM mold, he was a covert offender. If I watched, he wouldn't throw. Finally, I spotted the guy.

45 years old. Big grin on his face.

Absolute. Freaking. DB.

I smile at him and ask if he's having fun hitting everyone else with crap. I ask him if he's really going to act like he's in middle school. Same grin. Same DB.

On the field, another Beaver first down. In the stands, my eye on him, "Another! BEAVER! FIRST DOWN!". Bam. Dude hucks a peanut right into my eye.

At no point in this column has your intrepid reporter argued that it's unbelievable people would be uncomfortable or mad at someone cheering for the other team in their section. But in my time of going to games, this was a new low.

Nothing like this happened at Autzen. Or in Boise. Or anywhere else I've been.

Section 44. Row D. Husky Stadium. Congratulations, mi amigo. You get the "DB of the Year" award.

Is this a chance for me to cry over my wounded eye? Nah. We scored a touchdown shortly after and won the game. A few hours later I was "celebrating" with my girlfriend. Several times. I didn't lose any sleep over it.

If anything, it's just a reminder to Beat readers, specifically the ones that fit this mold: You do make your fan base look bad. And it just makes kicking your ass all the sweeter.

MAYBE SHATNER WILL SHOW UP THIS WEEK

Recently the question has been posed: Why should Oregon State be more afraid of Arizona than they should be of themselves? It's a good question. So good that I just made it up.

You ever been in a situation where a girl starts coming on to you, only she's really only got one positive attribute? She could be ugly, chunky, have a moustache…but you've heard that she does things straight of a Cinemax late night movie? Arizona is that girl. There's not a lot there, but enough to stop for a second and consider before dismissing them entirely.

Congratulations, Arizona. You are the hairy, kinky girl at a frat party.

Third-string quarterback Kris Heavner transfers to Baylor, comes back to Arizona to play baseball, winds up back on the football team and starts at the helm of an already crappy offense. If you've ever heard a better case for the NCAA branch of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I'd like to hear it.

Of course, on defense, there's some light. They kept Stanford's offense out of the end zone, which would be impressive if not for the fact that the Cardinal have scored as many touchdowns on the season as Hawaii did on Saturday in their game against Fresno State.

In truth, it's not even Arizona's defense that makes this game register barely above an Eastern Washington or Idaho. It's the Beavers themselves. If the boys can prove that Saturday wasn't an aberration, Oregon State will win walking away. If Moore struggles against Arizona like last year (which he called the worst day of his athletic career after throwing up five INT's and a fumble), woe will be the Beavers.

However, if you're a Paul Kirwan fan, you may be in luck.

POLE OF POWER

1. California (Yeah, I'm doing it. No one's on more of a roll than the Bears)
2. USC (As someone on the Scout.com boards pointed out, the new supplier of "moral victories" in the Pac-10)
3. Oregon (I'll be more than happy to drop them to 9th in this pole if they lose against Wazzu)
4. Washington State (Will probably permanently take Oregon's spot at number three if they win in Pullman)
5. OSU (Orange-colored glasses meet a team that has shown consistent improvement since Cal)
6. Arizona State (No wins in league play? Oh, Dirk, what a shame) 7. UCLA (Who cares)
8. UW (Stanback out for the year equals the cellar again for the Mutts. Count on it.)
9. Arizona (You know I'm right on this, Wildcat fans)

(The Beaver Beat is published weekly on Tuesday.

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