Mitch Weholt /

HALF: WSU stumbles & fumbles against OSU and trails at halftime 24-6

CORVALLIS - Washington State lacked focus to begin their Pac-12 tilt with Oregon State. The Cougs allowed the Beavers to look like a team that entered the night on a five win streak instead the record WSU arrived in town with. A number of WSU players wore tributes to their suspended teammate Robert Barber. Their play on the field in the first half certainly fell short of a fitting tribute.

Everything went well for Oregon State over the course of the first 15-minutes of play. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead by gashing the Cougar defense repeatedly for explosive plays. The biggest Beaver gainer was a 89-yard dash to the house by Ryan Nall up the middle outracing Wazzu defenders to put OSU's first touchdown up on the scoreboard. 

Luke Falk and the WSU offense sputtered early and often in the first quarter managing just 80-yards of total offense.

Though the teams changed ends of the field to begin the second quarter, nothing changed for how Wazzu was playing.

WSU's third possession was yet another stalled drive leaving them no choice but to punt. Things were looking so bad for Mike Leach's ball club he was forced to call a timeout to rally his troops on the sideline. Coming out of that timeout the Cougar defense seemed to snap out of their funk and forced Oregon State to punt the ball back.

On the ensuing possession it appeared the Cougar offense was feeding off the energy generated by their D. Falk had the offense moving down field eating up chunks of yardage via their passing attack. However, after a completion to River Cracraft over the middle the sure handed receiver was rocked and fumbled the football. OSU was back in business with over 10-minutes left in the half.

By forcing a takeaway, the Beavers stole momentum from Washington State. 

Emboldened with confidence, Marcus McMaryion engineered a 71-yard drive to put the Beavers up 21-0 with 7:50 left in the first half of play. The touchdown came on a trick play throw back to the quarterback going for the final 46-yards to pay dirt.

After taking repeated punches doled out by Oregon State, it was up to Falk to begin the long crawl back into this game after falling behind by three scores, the largest deficit for WSU this season.

For the first time Saturday night, the Cougs looked like a team that is undefeated in Pac-12 play. Some of the luster was lost when Erik Powell's extra point attempt was blocked and left the scoreboard reading OSU 21 - WSU  6.

Oregon State ignored the inspired drive Wazzu put together. They took the following kickoff and methodically marched down the field with the clock winding down. 

Explosive plays by Oregon State's offense were complimented by a breakout first half for OSU receiver Victor Bolden, Jr. who gashed WSU for more than 150+ yards of total offense.

Coach Leach summed things up concisely as he head to the locker room.

"We’ve got to play better," said Leach. "They’re playing a lot hard than we are."

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