Beavers break skid, beat Arizona 37-27
CORVALLIS - Oregon State's losing streak is over.
The Beavers jumped to a 30-6 third-quarter lead, saw Arizona climb to within 30-27 early in the fourth quarter and made a big goal-line stop late in the game to secure a 37-27 victory Saturday at Reser Stadium.
Sean Mannion connected on 32 of 41 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns for Oregon State (1-4 overall, 1-2 in Pac-12 play). Arizona (1-5, 0-4) lost its fifth straight game.
Oregon State - which had scored 26 collective points in the first half of its first four games - exploded for 27 points in the second quarter to take a 27-6 lead at the half.
The Wildcats made a strong rally to within three points, though, and nearly got to within three again in the final minutes.
On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Arizona's Dan Buckner dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown with about three minutes remaining.
Oregon State was forced to punt, and the short kick gave the Wildcats the ball at the OSU 38 with 1:14 left and UA still trailing by 10.
The Wildcats ran out of downs and time, unable to score in the closing seconds, and the Beavers walked off with the hard-earned win.
In the first half, Mannion completed 20 of 25 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, Jovan Stevenson ran eight times for 43 yards and a score and OSU's defense held Arizona to 10 yards rushing in the half. Wildcat QB Nick Foles hit on 13 of 18 passes for 131 yards and a TD.
The Beavers got major contributions from their special teams, including two Trevor Romaine field goals, a return of a blocked punt for a TD, a pass completion for a first down off a fake punt and a fumble recovery on a kickoff. The Wildcats, meanwhile, had a missed field goal and extra point.
Arizona's Daniel Jenkins gave Oregon State another opportunity when he fumbled on the Wildcats' first possession of the third quarter, Lance Mitchell recovering at the OSU 41. The Beavers went three-and-out, though, and were forced to punt.
On Arizona's next play, Foles' bomb intended for David Douglas was intercepted by Mitchell - who promptly was flagged 15 yards for taunting. The Beavers moved from their own 21 to the Arizona 3, with Romaine booting his third 3-pointer of the game to boost the lead to 30-6 with 7:28 left in the quarter.
On the Wildcats' next series, Foles was hammered by OSU defensive tackle Andrew Seumalo as he released a pass to Juron Criner that resulted in a 47-yard pass play to the Beavers' 13-yard line. Foles laid on the turf for several minutes before being helped off the field and was replaced by Bryson Beirne.
On the next play, Keola Antolin burst up the middle for 13 yards and a touchdown. Foles, returning after sitting out a play, hit David Douglas for the two-point conversion, drawing Arizona to within 30-14 with 4:45 to play in the period.
Then disaster struck. On Oregon State's first play from scrimmage, Mannion's pass was tipped and intercepted by Shaquille Richardson, who returned it 28 yards for a TD. The two-point conversion pass attempt failed, but suddenly, the Wildcats trailed only 30-20 with 4:37 left.
Oregon State responded with a drive that moved from its own 20 to the Arizona 14. Mannion hit James Rodgers on a 14-yard TD pass, but the play was nullified by a holding call on tackle Colin Kelly. On the next play, Mannion overthrew Wheaton on what would have been a TD pass. When Romaine's 42-yard field goal attempt missed wide left, the Wildcats had the momentum.
Arizona marched 75 yards in 10 plays, Ka'Deem Carey carrying the final yard for a TD. With 11:56 yet to play, the Wildcats trailed only 30-27.
Oregon State went three-and-out, but Johnny Hekker's rugby-style punt rolled forever and ended up on the Arizona 5-yard line, covering 63 yards.
The Wildcats went three-and-out, and under pressure, Kyle Duganozic punted only 30 yards to the OSU 43. The Beavers moved to 2-yard line, where on fourth down, Mannion rifled a pass to Joe Halahuni for the TD to push them ahead 37-27 with 5:22 remaining.
Oregon State dodged a bullet on the game's first offensive series after Mannion's overthrown pass was intercepted by Richardson and returned four yards to the OSU 28. OSU's defense held and Alex Zendejas' 38-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
The Beavers put together the drive of the season late in the first quarter, starting at their own 8-yard line and keeping the ball for 8 minutes, 48 seconds. They went 92 yards on 17 plays, mixing the run and the pass, with Stevenson carrying the final yard untouched for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 11:38 let in the second quarter.
Oregon State was back in business again when Clayton York blocked a Kyle Duganozic punt, picked it up at the Arizona 7 and ran the ball into the end zone for a TD and a 14-0 edge with 8:56 to go in the second period.
Arizona responded with a sterling drive of its own, going 80 yards in seven plays. Buckner beat OSU's Jordan Poyer for a 28-yard TD reception in the corner of the end zone. Zendejas missed the conversion, leaving the Beavers ahead 14-6 with 6:24 left before half.
On their next possession, Oregon State went to a little trickery on fourth-and-3 from the Arizona 49. From punt formation, Hekker rolled left and threw to Mitchell, who went 13 yards for a first down.
On third down from the Arizona 20, Mannion overthrew a wide-open Markus Wheaton in the end zone. Oregon State settled for a 37-yard Romaine field goal and a 17-6 edge with 2:26 to go before intermission.
On the Wildcats' next series, Foles' arm was hit by OSU's Scott Crichton as he threw a pass, which was intercepted by Michael Doctor and returned five yards to the Arizona 39.
On second-and-goal from the 3, Mannion evaded the rush and found Halahuni for a TD pass, pushing the Beavers ahead 24-6 with 16 seconds still on the clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, Romaine sent a pooch kick up the middle for the sole purpose of cutting down the chances of an Arizona return. The Wildcats couldn't handle the ball, though, and OSU's Dylan Wynn recovered the muff at the Arizona 36.
After a 13-yard pass from Mannion to Jenkins, Romaine nailed a 40-yard field goal, and the Beavers went into halftime with a 27-6 lead.
NOTES - In its first four games, Oregon State had been outscored 77-26 in the first half, including 63-17 in the second quarter. ... The 27 second-quarter points were the most OSU has scored in a quarter since getting 28 in the second quarter of the 2003 game against Arizona. ... The Beavers attempted a reverse pass in the second quarter, with Brandin Cooks' taking a pitch from Mannion and throwing to Wheaton. It was incomplete. ... York's return of a blocked punt for a touchdown was Oregon State's first since Damola Adeniji did it against Washington State in 2008.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Arizona 0 6 14 7 - 27
Oregon State 0 27 3 7 - 37
OSU - Jovan Stevenson 1 run (Trevor Romaine kick) 11:38.
OSU - Clayton York 7 blocked punt return (Romaine kick) 8:56.
ARIZ - Dan Buckner 28 pass from Nick Foles (kick failed) 6:24.
OSU - Romaine 37 field goal 2:26.
OSU - Joe Halahuni 3 pass from Sean Mannion (Romaine kick) :16.
OSU - Romaine 40 field goal 0:00.
OSU - Romaine 20 field goal 7:28.
ARIZ - Keola Antolin 13 run (David Douglas pass from Foles) 4:45.
ARIZ - Shaquille Richardson 28 interception return (pass failed) 4:37.
ARIZ - Ka'Deem Carey 1 run (John Bonano kick) 11:56.
OSU - Halahuni 2 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 5:22.
ATT. - 40,403.