Questions for Beavs after PSU's beat down

IF THEY HAD CUT the width of the field in half, that might have helped. But Oregon State couldn't stop the runs out wide early by Penn State, falling into an early 14-0 hole. That, missed blocks on the edge, missed tackles all over the place, an offense that found little success up top early and a defense that couldn't close the deal on third down all contributed to an ugly loss in Happy Valley.

The final score was 45-14. But that is almost immaterial to the lopsidedness -- early in the fourth quarter, ABC actually switched games for most of their national a game where the team ahead led by 22 points.

This one was over early. The Beavs didn't log a third down conversion on offense until their sixth series. By that time they were down four touchdowns and the game was effectively over.

Oregon State's first 21 plays averaged 73 yards. Penn State? Try 237 hashes on for size.

And so it goes, the early season misery continues to be part of the recent fabric at Oregon State just as much as do the latter season heroics.

With OSU now 0-2, Beaver fans on Saturday afternoon were reduced to hoping Mike Riley can somehow once again work that same mid- and late-season magic that typified the last two years. OSU started 2-3 in both '06 and '07, and then proceeded to rip off finishing streaks of 8-1 and 7-1. But daybreak felt like a long ways off on this Saturday.

The Beaver offense came out and threw the ball three straight plays on the first series. On their first four drives, they threw 10 passes, and attempted four runs. The game plan was to try and take advantage of Penn State's secondary.

Meanwhile, the Beaver defense saw the Nittany Lions march down the field using the run, by both running backs and quarterbacks, for scores on their first two possessions. After finally forcing a punt, OSU surrendered two more quick touchdowns, one set up by a botched Oregon State punt, and the Beavs were down 28-0 less than four minutes into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, the Beavs found some offensive success and it came on the ground -- the first Beavers' 80-yard touchdown came on a drive that featured eight runs and three passes.

Jacquizz Rodgers was a highlight package unto himself on the drive, particularly on an impressive 12-yard touchdown run where he refused to go down. But that only trimmed the score to 28-7, and the Beavs didn't score again until the fourth quarter.


In the first quarter, before the game got out of hand, when Oregon State did run, the result was too often slow developing plays that met with sure tackling at or near the line of scrimmage.

Compared to last week at Stanford, the middle of the Beaver defense was actually improved, in the first half, against the run but it also didn't matter. Not with missed tackles galore elsewhere, blown assignments and Penn State concentrating the majority of their running plays out wide.

Mike Riley said he didn't want to attempt 54 passes against Penn State as the Beavs did in their opener but falling into such a big hole early meant OSU would throw more than they wanted. But even in the first quarter, OSU's game plan was centered on the aerial attack.

It didn't work. And the defense couldn't stop Penn State's scoring marches on four of the first five drives. And that spelled quite an early end to Oregon State's upset hopes.

We'll be back with more a little later on.

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