What They're Saying: Post-OSU Edition

FROM CORVALLIS TO TACOMA, from Seattle to Portland and beyond, the Cougars' 13-6 victory over Oregon State, built upon a resurgent crimson defense that did not allow a touchdown and held the Beavers to less than 300 total yards and three of 12 on third down, has pundits waxing eloquent -- about Davis, Hill, Bruce, Brink, Blunt and more.

Let's be clear about this: Ugly doesn't equal inconsequential. Unseemly doesn't equate to insignificant. Keep that in mind if you're struggling to come to grips with Washington State's unsettling 13-6 victory here Saturday over Oregon State. As the buses warmed up outside Gill Coliseum and the crimson faithful milled around the Cougars, linebacker Scott Davis might have been the happiest guy in the 541 area code. "Oh, I think it's a huge win to beat 'em," said Davis. "We're on top of the world right now." - Bud Withers, Seattle Times

In a game in which the Cougars offense allowed five sacks, the Cougars defense got six and held the Beavers to 287 total yards. The WSU defense also allowed the Beavers only 3 of 12 third-down conversions. - Craig Smith, Seattle Times

In a first half between Washington State and Oregon State that lacked for offensive sizzle, it was an unlikely someone who provided the most exciting play. The punter. Midway through the second quarter, Washington State's Darryl Blunt took a punt snap, put the ball up as if he was about to kick it, then suddenly pulled it down and took off. When Blunt was finished, he had a 23-yard running play and one sore Oregon State tackler. At the end of the run, Blunt lowered his shoulder and blasted OSU's Sammie Stroughter, allowing him to add three yards to the play. It was Washington State's second longest running play of the game. - Nick Daschel, The Columbian

Oregon State's defense did about all it could to produce a victory before the Reser Stadium crowd of 42,951. The Beavers stuffed the Washington State running game, sacked quarterback Alex Brink five times and bailed the OSU offense out of jams a number of times. Brink, a 6-3, 215-pound junior from Sheldon High, wound up completing 19 of 32 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown, just enough to augment strong defensive work by the Cougars (4-2, 2-1). - Kerry Eggers, Portland Tribune

In the process of avenging a loss, the Cougars turned the loss upside down, spun it around and pinned a funny mustache on it. But this game looked almost nothing like the circus these teams staged here last year, which is good news for Washington State and terrific news for its defense. - Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

Clean or ragged, ugly or pretty, the Cougars keep winning. With a record of 4-2 heading into home games the next two weeks against California and Oregon, they sit on the cusp of becoming bowl eligible. - Todd Milles, The News Tribune

The offense came up with 287 total yards, second-fewest for the Beavers in a game this season. And the one end-zone shot OSU had - Moore's 11-yard pass attempt to Yvenson Bernard - was intercepted. Eric Frampton's pick was fueled by WSU defensive end Mkristo Bruce's push into the Beaver backfield, slowing Bernard and hurrying Moore. Bruce bumped his nation-leading sack total to 10 with two drops of Moore, had a game-high 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and a recovered fumble. "He made that play," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "Matt had to sidestep him and the throw was late. - Bob Rodman, Eugene Register Guard

The middle portion of the first half was defensive nirvana, with the teams at one point combining for three fumbles on as many plays, not long after Bruce scored a defender's hat trick in notching a sack while causing and recovering a fumble.But the clincher was left to Davis, the often-overshadowed senior linebacker. When the Beavers drove to the Cougars 23-yard line in quest of a tying touchdown with about two minutes left, Davis blitzed Moore for sacks on third and fourth down. - Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

It was late in the first half during an Oregon State field-goal attempt that Washington State was flagged for what referee Jack Folliard described as "disconcerting signals." Right. As if the Cougars and Beavers hadn't been sending them to the paying customers all afternoon. - John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

It was almost as though the WSU offense was trying to make the Beavers feel better about the cacophony around them lately. That's the point that shouldn't get lost beneath the serial offensive comedy on both sides. This felt a lot like a make-or-break game for each program. - Bud Withers, Seattle Times

All week, Riley had talked about the Washington State game being a crossroads for his football team. On Saturday, the Beavers arrived at those crossroads and sat down. Where this team goes from here, nobody knows. - Brian Meehan, The Oregonian

Three of the turnovers ended in Washington State territory, including a third-quarter Matt Moore interception in the end zone by Eric Frampton. Moore was hurried and threw the ball late. He couldn't come up with a good reason why he missed the throw, or why the Cougars (4-2, 2-1) stopped them. After showering and getting dressed, he was still shaking off the effects of the pounding he took throughout the game. His head hurt on the team's final drive, and his rest of his body soon followed. - Cliff Kirkpatrick, Corvallis Gazette-Times

Bruce had 11 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Still, the Beavers could have won. After surviving a WSU first and goal at the 3-yard line and giving up no points -- the Cougars were also their own worst enemy in this one -- OSU climbed back within 13-6 on Alexis Serna's 41-yard field goal with 5:44 left. It was a drive that might have produced more, but Cougars rush end Lance Broadus blew in untouched to dump Moore with OSU looking at third and 12 from the Cougars' 18. It was not a good time to show an empty backfield. - Paul Buker, The Oregonian

At 4-2 (2-1 Pac-10), the Cougars can now harbor legitimate hopes to spend the holidays in a sunny locale. WSU needs only a 2-4 finish to be bowl-eligible, even though Saturday's win in Reser Stadium was anything but the stuff of a football coach's dreams. - Glenn Kasses, Spokesman-Review

OSU played some nickel for the first time in recent memory. Also, the linebackers and linemen rotated regularly and linebackers Alan Darlin (10), Derrick Doggett (8), Joey LaRocque (7) and Bryant Cornell (4) and end Jeff Van Orsow (5) combined for 34 tackles, 5.5 tackles for 23 yards in losses and two sacks for 13 negative yards. "We're pretty frustrated," defensive end Joe Lemma said. "But we didn't get it done. Washington State's also a good defense (so) we have to do better. It wasn't good enough." - Brooks Hatch, Corvallis Gazette-Times


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