Is Beaver D poised for another run?

EVERYONE WILL TALK about the Oregon State offensive explosion in the first half of the 38-28 win over Stanford -- but what about that D? Is coach Mike Riley's midseason surge once again in full swing? Are Mark Banker's defensemen gearing up to make another run?

Stanford tailback Toby Gerhart came to Corvallis boasting a league leading 130 rushing yards per game. Oregon State saw to it that he left Reser Stadium with considerably less than that.

Gerhart still ran well, but thanks to sure tackling and assignment football from the OSU defense, his day ended with "just" 96 yards on 20 carries. For most any other back, those are good numbers. For Gerhart it's bordering on mediocre.

It was just the second time this season Gerhart turned in a sub 100 yard game, the other was also on the road and came in the Cardinal's only other loss, to Wake Forest.

The Beavs caught a break on the game's first play. Expecting run, quarterback Andrew Luck carried out a pretty play fake and Chris Owusu streaked past safety Lance Mitchell who bit hard on the run threat. A sure touchdown went for naught as Owusu flat out dropped the ball.

Gerhart's first touch then went for 16, but was no indication of how his day would go. That 16 yard jaunt would be his longest of the day.

The Beaver defense knew coming into the game that if they could slow down the potent run game, they would put themselves in a great position to win, and that was exactly what played out.

HELPING THE DEFENSE was the 21-point lead that the offense provided just five minutes into the second quarter. Last week Arizona State was forced to go to the air early and often and the secondary could expect pass while the front four provided constant pressure. Stanford followed nearly the same script after trailing 31-7 at halftime.

While freshman Andrew Luck had decent yardage (226 yards), he completed only 12-30 and was often forced out of the pocket. More importantly, Stanford was forced to abandon what they do the best, run the ball. Toby Gerhart had six carries -- for just 20 yards -- in the fourth quarter as the Cardinal tried to play catch up.

Gabe Miller broke through for OSU's only sack, forcing a fumble that Stanford fell on for a loss of 10. The Miller sack contributed to what was the second of three three-and-outs for the Cardinal offense.

Stanford finished the day with 375 total yards and was fairly well balanced with 149 on the ground and 226 through the air. Luck scrambled seven times for 31 yards and it could be argued, incredibly enough, he was the most effective Stanford rusher.

BUT STATS CAN BE misleading and looking deeper into the record truly shows the dominance of the Beaver defense the last two weeks.

At Arizona State, OSU had a two score lead with less than seven minutes to play. Arizona State started at their own six and went 94 yards in 6:56 leaving just 11 seconds on the clock. Before said drive, the Devils had just 312 yards.

Saturday, after a muffed punt by return man Richard Sherman, Stanford started on their own one and drove the length of the field to narrow the lead to 10. The 99 yard drive took just 2:12 but after a failed onside kick attempt, OSU took over with just 25 seconds and kneeled down for the victory.

Before the final drive, Stanford had just 276 yards on the day.

WHILE ALLOWING 406 TOTAL yards to Arizona State and 375 to Stanford may seem like a lot of yards to give up, the yards gained in the final drive were significant and had no bearing on the outcome of the game. The Beaver defense did not give up any big plays and forced opponents to use clock.

The Beavers take a week off and will travel to the Coliseum to take on the No. 6 ranked USC Trojans, who travel this week to South Bend for a rivalry tilt versus Notre Dame.

Defensive Player Of The Game:
Cameron Collins played lights out. Now with two games starting experience, Collins is becoming a force against the run as well as in coverage. Collins finished with a team high 10 tackles (3 solo) and a pass break up. The break up came on what looked like to be a touchdown toss -- Collins recovered nicely after the receiver got behind him and tipped the ball away just before it fell into the waiting hands of the Stanford wide out. The Beaver duo of Mitchell and Collins is quickly becoming one of the better safety tandems in the Pac-10.

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