Play of the game.
The Wildcats started their last drive of the game on their own 20, with no timeouts, just 59 seconds left to play and down seven points. UA quickly moved 52 yards in 30 seconds to the OSU 28 yard line and had the Beaver defense on their heels for the first time in the game.
On first and 10 LB Alan Darlin shot through the line untouched sacking QB Kris Heavner for a 12-yard loss pushing Arizona back to the 40 yard line. Darlin's sack was important because it stopped the bleeding, took valuable time off of the clock and moved UA backwards for the first time in four plays. Before the sack, the Wildcats believed they were just going to march right down the field and tie the game up.
But, S Daniel Drayton's interception on the one, sealing the game for good, or the defensive players chasing Heavner on third down, forcing him to throw off balance, could also be the plays of the game as well.
Players of the game.
Offense - WR Sammie Stroughter made the big play again grabbing a 34-yard pass from Matt Moore for the Beavers' first touchdown. Stroughter finished with five catches for 91 yards. He now has a team high 34 catches for a team leading 643 yards and two touchdowns.
Defense - LB Joey LaRocque seemed to be everywhere as he notched a team high nine tackles, including one sack, one interception (his first in orange and black) and one fumble recovery. LaRocque has recorded 24 of his 38 tackles this year in the last three games.
Special teams - PK Alexis Serna made his 81st and 82 consecutive extra points, breaking the school record for consecutive extra points made. He also did a nice job on kickoffs with three of his four resulting in touchbacks.
Over 100 and another "W."
For the second consecutive week RB Yvenson Bernard eclipsed the 100 yard mark and for the second consecutive week the Beavers won on the road. It was his fourth 100-yard game this year and the 10th of his career. The Beavers are 4-0 this year when Bernard rushes for 100 or more.
The offense relied heavily on him for their second touchdown of the game as he carried the ball four straight times picking up two first downs while racking up 34 yards.
Bernard finished with 107 yards on 26 carries. He did not score a touchdown for the third time (at Boise State, WSU) this year.
The workhorse now has 2,087 career yards, good for sixth best in school history.
Here's a look at Bernard's rushing numbers this year:
- Eastern Washington - 19/124/2
- at Boise State - 24/89/0
- Idaho - 22/117/2
- California - 17/74/1
- Washington State - 17/91/0
- at Washington - 29/144/2
- Arizona - 26/107/0
The defense continued to play well for the third consecutive week limiting the Wildcats to 183 total yards, a season low for OSU opponents, 22 yards rushing, five three and outs and one measly field goal.
Dorian Smith, Joey LaRocque and Alan Darlin each added a sack, bumping the season total to 26. Washington State still leads the conference with 29 sacks, but has played one more game then the Beavs. The team eclipsed the double digit mark in tackles for loss notching 11, boosting their season total to 64.
In the last three games the defense has held their foes to 17 or fewer points and just three touchdowns. Third downs have been brutal for the opposition as Arizona converted just 2 of 12. In the last two games the Beavers' opponents have converted just three times on third down.
The unit currently ranks #26 in total defense in the nation giving up an average of 285 yards per game.
Offense starts hot, then cools.
Everything was working in the first quarter for the offense. The unit started off the game with their best offensive series of the season that consisted of 10 plays, covered 94 yards and took four minutes and fifty seven seconds. Moore completed all four of his pass attempts while Bernard rushed five times for 20 yards.
The second drive started out splendidly as well as OSU marched to the Arizona 26 before Moore forced the ball into double coverage resulting in an interception. But, on the next series following a fumble recovery by LaRocque, the offense promptly marched 45 yards in seven plays for a 14 point lead.
After one quarter of play OSU held a 171 to 28 advantage in total offense, a 10-2 advantage in first downs, and a 10:21 to 4:39 lead in time possession. Moore was on fire completing 6 of 7 for 86 yards and one touchdown while Bernard had a very healthy 68 yards on 12 carries.
The Arizona defense tightened up as the Beavers did not move the ball into Arizona territory in the second or third quarters. In that same time frame Moore threw another pick, RB Clinton Polk fumbled and the Beavers produced only two plays that gained 10 or more yards.
But the offense come through when they had to in the fourth quarter as they went 84 yards in 11 plays. The big play fueled the drive as Moore found Stroughter for a 25 yards and TE Joe Newton for 22-yards on third and nine.
Injures are starting to mount up, as several players went down against UA. Final decision on who is going to play and not going to play will be made Thursday. Here's the latest.
- RB Yvenson Bernard - asked Riley to remove him in the fourth
quarter with a right ankle injury...is questionable for USC...will probably
- WR Ruben Jackson - twisted his right ankle in the second
quarter and was on crutches at halftime...expected to be out for several weeks
- C Kyle DeVan - injured his left knee in the fourth quarter,
but went to the locker room under his own power and eventually returned...is
questionable for USC...may play injured
- LB Dennis Christopher - missed his second consecutive game
with a knee injury
- CB Keenan Lewis - did not start but played with a sore
shoulder that he sustained against UW
- DE Joe Lemma - started, but is nursing an ankle injury
sustained against UW
- FS Al Afalava - did not start, but played quite a bit as he works his way back from a concussion he suffered against Washington State.
- RT Josh Linehan - out since injuring his knee against Idaho, is expected to be back in the next couple of weeks
With so many key members of the football team injured, some of the attention turns to the backups. Here is who will play if the above mentioned people cannot play.
- RB Clinton Polk will start if Bernard cannot play. It is
still to be determined who will be his backup. Patrick Fuller,
Micah Strickland, Andy Stewart and Tony Carrasco have all been mentioned as possible backups although Strickland
and Stewart have the best shot.
- WR Chris Johnson will backup Wheat-Brown at flanker.
- C Adam Speer will start if DeVan cannot. Walk-on Marcus Henderson has also worked out a center, although Speer is more athletic
- There is plenty of depth at linebacker to absorb Christopher's loss.
- CB Coye Francies will start if Lewis is not able too. Lewis
should start against USC though.
- DE Dorian Smith played a ton against Arizona. He won't
get the start, but he see the field plenty against the Trojans.
- FS Bryan Payton has started the last two games in place of Afalava and probably will start his third straight against USC as he has played well. Afalava will see lots of time though.
- RT Andy Levitre has been starting in Linehan's place at right tackle with true freshman Mau Nomani suiting up in case of an injury.
This and that.
- RB Yvenson Bernard has topped the century mark in 10 of
his last 15 games. Bernard had a season high five catches for 27 yards.
- QB Matt Moore finished 16 of 22 for 181 yards with one
touchdown and two interceptions.
- After having zero catches against Washington, WR Anthony Wheat-Brown
had three catches for 35 yards.
- RB Clinton Polk fumbled on the second play of the first
quarter. It was his first carry of the game.
- Holder Jon Stowbridge did another nice job of fielding
snaps as he grabbed a couple of high ones, putting them down in time for Serna
- P Kyle Loomis averaged 40 yards a kick and placed one of
his five punts inside the twenty.
- FS Bryan Payton had another solid game recording six tackles.
- DT Ben Siegert had his best game of the year recording
three tackles, including two for loss.
- S Daniel Drayton picked off his second pass of the year.
- For the second consecutive week the offensive line did not allow a sack.
- OSU has defeated Arizona seven of the last eight games.
- OSU finished with just three penalties for 25 yards. The Beavers are now
second most penalized team in the conference averaging 65.9 yards per game.
- Arizona’s only touchdown came on a 67-yard punt return by Syndric Steptoe in the third quarter.