Win over PSU a replay of fall camp

CORVALLIS – Sure, it was known coming in that the Beavs had some offensive weapons. But nothing could really prepare Beaver Nation for what they were about to see when the Oregon State offense hit the field for the first time Saturday against what would prove to be an overmatched Portland State squad.

As Sean Canfield made the play action fake to Jacquizz Rodgers and let fly, Reser held its collective breath as the bomb went deep downfield to junior wideout James Rodgers.

The result was one that this writer saw over and over in watching fall camp practices.

Quon adjusted slightly and reeled the pass in over his shoulder, outrunning an otherwise helpless secondary that had no chance whatsoever of catching him.

Canfield said afterwards he was just looking for a completion to start things off. He and the Beavs got a bunch more than that.

The play, the sixth longest play in Oregon State history was, for the most part, a clear sign of things to come. The Beavers had no problem consistently moving the ball down the field until the latter part of the game when the came in for their baptism into the world of college football.

Although the 34-7 score did not show it on paper, Oregon State was tested in numerous ways. And they made the grade in every way possible.

Early, it appeared Portland State had plenty of fight in them, taking it to a young Beavers secondary with a slew of short, effective passes that quickly put the Vikings in Beaver territory. As it happened for the entire game, though, the Oregon State defense held strong and turned them away time and time again.

Before Quizz was pulled from the game, the true sophomore finally delivered what Oregon State fans had been waiting for – and the final mind boggling TD run capped his first three touchdown performance of his career.

On the last of his scores, Quizz took the handoff from Canfield, made two beautiful cuts, found a seam and burst through the box, taking off for a 43 yard touchdown and outrunning all defenders in the process.

Although it was the longest touchdown run of his career thus far, that seemed to be not enough for the youngster. "That was a medium run," Rodgers joked after the game.

While Canfield faced a secondary much different from the Pac-10 ones he'll face later, the senior looked right at home, completing 8-of-11 for 158 yards. His only touchdown came on the James Rodgers deep ball.

Canfield seemed calm and poised throughout, even more-so since the offensive line gave the quarterback consistent time to throw. As expected, Canfield favored Rodgers and senior wideout Damola Adeniji for the majority of his time on the field – and these were the two targets he connected with the most the last couple of weeks of fall camp.

"It was smooth, and it was efficient," Canfield said. "That is something that Coach (Danny) Langsdorf was stressing to us earlier -- making it efficient and taking care of the football. And that is what we did."

The Oregon State defense held strong most of the afternoon, keeping the Vikings out of scoring position until early in the fourth quarter. When Portland State made it inside the 5-yard line, the Beavers defensive line stepped it up and turned away PSU away four straight plays.

Matt LaGrone, coming in off the bench, was omnipresent in the goal-line stand, getting into the backfield every play, and showing more and more emotion every down.

One of the big keys on the afternoon was the ability to allow numerous freshman on the field to get their first taste of the college gridiron.

Eight freshman made it out onto the field, including quarterback Ryan Katz, who orchestrated the Beavers offense for nearly the entire second half.

The redshirt freshman, who led the second string offense for all of fall camp with Lyle Moevao recovering from shoulder surgery, was impressive throwing for 124 yards, completing 7-of-12.

Katz also showed his athleticism and the ability to throw on the run in the third quarter, rolling out to the right side, evading a rushing defensive end and completing a skyhook pass to junior wideout Aaron Nichols. The reception was the first of Nichols' young career with Oregon State.

With the NCAA Clearinghouse taking it's sweet time with the case of freshman Markus Wheaton, it forced the wideout to miss the last two weeks of fall camp, but that probably didn't matter Saturday to Wheaton.

Although he recorded only two receptions for 13 yards, it was the playing that was most needed for him. He was and is expected to help replace junior wideout Darrell Catchings until Catchings' wrist heals up.

So what can be learned from Saturday? Portland State won't be the biggest test for the Beavers this season. But it was surely a good start and a boost to the confidence of a young football team. Oregon State heads out on the road to Las Vegas next week for a date with the UNLV Runnin' Rebels, who play Sacramento State later tonight.

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