The Unusual Suspects: Week 11

AFTER REELING OFF scoring drives of 80, 65, and 65 yards on their first three possessions, the Beavers were sitting pretty at 21-3 and headed to another blowout victory -- or so it seemed. What transpired in the latter half of the second quarter was enough to make even the most confident Beaver fan squirm and undoubtedly led to some raised voices in the locker room.

With time winding down in the first half, the Cougars began the drive on their own 20 yard line, and thanks to 36 hashes in penalties from the Beaver defense, it ended with a Dwight Tardy plunge from the one and gave WSU their only touchdown on the day.

More importantly, it gave WSU momentum at 21-10 headed into halftime on their Senior Day.

Riley's defense team came out much more focused in the second half and cruised to a 42-10 victory, blanking the Cougars in the second half to improve to 8-3, (6-2 Pac-10) and set up a Civil War for the ages.

Sean Canfield and Jacquizz Rodgers starred on Saturday, and while fans expected to see a heavy dose of the "lesser knowns" very early against the Cougars, it took a 65-yard drive to start the fourth quarter, and the lead pushed to 35-10, to get to see some of our unusual suspects.

Markus Wheaton -- The speedy true freshman had shown glimpses of his lethality in games past, but yesterday the Arizona native took it up a notch.

True, there was only one reception for Wheaton, but his three rushes netted 12.7 yards per and Wheaton found the end zone for the first time in his young career on a beautiful cut back from 10 yards out.

Wheaton looks to be a potent second option behind James Rodgers in the final weeks and just as importantly, into next season.

Colby Prince -- Expected when he arrived at OSU to be the next great Beaver tight end by many, Prince saw his first action on Saturday and came through with a 12 yard catch on fourth and five.

The catch sustained the drive and lead to Wheaton's 10 yard scamper. Prince is an athletic 6-3, 248 with great hands, and the tight end position is in great hands with both he and the already established Joe Halahuni, who has taken off this season.

Kevan Walker -- In Corvallis, I saw the freshman out of Pasadena juke and jive his way down the field on punt returns throughout the spring and fall practices.

Finally, Walker was able to get on the field and made the most of it.

Walker possesses great speed and tremendous quicks, one would think the 6-1, 195 pound freshman would be well-suited returning punts. Walker hauled in his first reception as a Beaver on Saturday, good for 16 yards.

Beaver Nation should expect to see a lot of No. 9 in years to come.

Ryan Katz -- At long last, people caught a glimpse of the leading candidate to line up under center in 2010 -- Ryan Katz. Well, most if us heard it through the eloquent words of Mike Parker at least.

Katz entered the game with 9:37 remaining and went 4-for-7 for 53 yards, and he had a 16-yard touchdown pass to Halahuni called back due to penalty.

Katz showed what Beaver Nation has been praying for from the quarterback position, quick feet and "escapability" rushing for nine yards out of the pocket on the game's second to last play.

Jovan Stevenson -- Stevenson popped off the longest rush of his career, exploding up field for 39 yards and showcasing his great top end speed.

Stevenson ran for a touchdown, caught one ball for 16 yards and continues to be a legit threat out of the backfield in the short passing game.

If Stevenson can put on some bulk in the offseason, he should be part of a formidable 1-2-3 punch with Jacquizz Rodgers and Ryan McCants.


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