Beavers throw complete package at Cougars
WSU's Wulff: 'Best game I've seen them play'
SEATTLE - With the clock ticking down inside a minute to go, Johnny Hekker dropped back to punt for Oregon State - for the first time all night.
There was no more fitting symbol of OSU's dominance in a 44-21 rout of Washington State Saturday night.
Oregon State's offense paraded up and down CenturyLink Field all night as the Beavers (2-5 overall, 2-2 in Pac-12 play) turned the upstart Cougars (3-4, 1-3) into roadkill with their best performance of the season.
All the while, coach Mike Riley - in the midst of the most trying of his 11 seasons at the OSU helm - was an animated figure on the Beaver sidelines.
'I was just having fun,' Riley said. 'I loved watching our team tonight. I've enjoyed this team. It's been difficult, because we haven't been winning. I give (the players) all the credit in the world. They could have quit a long time ago.
'If that's any sign of the character of this team after what we've been through so far, that's a really good sign. They came to play tonight. They took it to (the Cougars). I was really proud of them.'
Oregon State piled up 551 yards of total offense - most by an OSU team since amassing 567 against Washington State two years ago. OSU had a season-high 29 first downs, showed balance with 175 yards rushing and won the time-of-possession battle 34:32 to 25:28. The Beavers had only one turnover to three for the Cougars.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 376 yards and four touchdowns, and true freshman tailback Malcolm Agnew carried 23 times for 103 yards and a TD despite sitting out the fourth quarter for the Beavers.
'We worked really hard in practice this week on some new plays in the run game,' Agnew said. 'It started to click early, and we were feeling it the whole game.'
'It's good to see that,' Riley said. 'That's us right there. If we can keep that going, that is huge and who we need to be.'
OSU had 10 possessions in the game and scored on eight of them, with five touchdowns and three Trevor Romaine field goals.
The Beavers could have had a sixth TD had not Washington State cornerback Damante Horton outwrestled Markus Wheaton for the ball in the end zone for an interception on OSU's second possession.
Hekker wasn't needed to punt until the closing minute, when the verdict had long since been decided.
'I got to give it to our offense tonight,' OSU defensive end Scott Crichton said. 'Those guys were beautiful.'
The defense wasn't bad, either, keeping under control a Washington State offense that entered the game averaging 36.2 points and 453.3 yards. The Cougars managed 19 first downs and 315 yards - only 83 on the ground. Quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Marshall Lobbestael were pressured throughout the game and sacked four times.
It was a complete performance, one Washington State coach Paul Wulff called 'the best game I've ever seen (the Beavers) play. They made every play possible, and when the ball was in the air, they converted everything.
'Bottom line - we couldn't force them to punt,' Wulff said. 'That is the best they have played, and they should get credit for it.'
Mannion completed 26 of 34 passes, distributing balls to 11 teammates and making all the throws - long, short and intermediate.
'We came after him, but he did a great job getting the ball out, and they did a great job catching,' WSU defensive coordinator Chris Ball said.
It was a great night for Oregon State's offensive line, which protected Mannion superbly and opened holes for Agnew, who was sidelined by coaches for precautionary purposes after taking a big hit at the end of the third quarter.
'We were really confident out there,' OSU O-tackle Mike Remmers said. 'We did a great job of communicating. Our coaches did an amazing job of putting together a game plan for us. We came out and executed.'
Tuel took a shot, too, from OSU middle linebacker Tony Wilson near the end of the first half. It was the end of the night for Tuel, who connected on 11 of 13 passes for 127 yards and a TD before leaving with a shoulder injury.
The Beavers, noted Lobbestael, 'played with a lot of effort.'
At least a little of that came from last year's 31-14 victory in Corvallis by the Cougars, who used a very late hit on then-OSU tailback Jacquizz Rodgers early in the game for motivation.
Consider Saturday's outcome payback, Beaver D-tackle Kevin Frahm said.
'The only thing I can say is, this one was for Quizz,' Frahm said.
The Cougars came in as a three-point favorite.
'They'd been doing well, and we hadn't been,' Riley said. 'We were probably the unknown in this equation.'
Did the Cougars underestimate the Beavers?
'Yes,' Crichton said. 'Everyone does. We should have won most of our games this season. Tonight we played closer to our potential.'
Oregon State prevailed despite sustaining 14 penalties for 120 yards. Washington State was flagged four times for 55 yards.
'We had some great, long drives, and overcame a lot of our own obstacles,' Riley said.
Oregon State scored on four of its five possessions in the first half to go into intermission leading 24-14 with 300 yards of total offense.
The Beavers increased their advantage to 31-14 by taking the opening series of the second half to the house. Mannion's 25-yard bomb to tight end Joe Halahuni capped an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
After a Washington State punt was down on the Oregon State 1-yard line, the Beavers marched to the WSU 8, taking 15 plays and 7:37 off the clock. Romaine's 25-yard field goal gave them a 34-14 edge with 14:50 remaining.
The Cougars trimmed the margin to 34-21 after a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive - aided by three OSU penalties - with Carl Winston scoring from three yards with 11 minutes to play.
But the Beavers put the game away on their next series, an eight-play, 72-yard drive. Mannion found Clayton York alone in the flat for an 18-yard touchdown pass and a 41-21 advantage with 8:34 to go, and Cougar fans began to hit the exits.
'This was a winnable game, but we didn't win,' Lobbestael said. 'We didn't execute. (The Beavers) played better than us tonight.'
NOTES - It was the first time Oregon State topped the 40-point mark since a 42-10 victory over Wazoo in 2009. ... Riley said he replaced Agnew after the third quarter 'because he seemed a little bit woozy after taking that hit. It wasn't his hamstring.' ... Jordan Jenkins' 31-yard reception for a touchdown in the first quarter was Oregon State's first TD in the period all season. ... Mannion was 13-for-14 passing for 129 yards and a touchdown and Oregon State controlled the ball for 11:42 of the third quarter. ... All of Oregon State's six penalties in the first half were majors. ... OSU D-end Dylan Wynn's two first-half fumble recoveries were his fourth and fifth of the season, setting a school record. How does he do it? 'I guess I get all the fumbles because I'm not the first one to the ball,' the 6-3, 245-pound true freshman said. 'That's something I need to fix.' ... Crichton had a huge game with seven tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles. The redshirt freshman D-end has four forced fumbles this season, matching the OSU record. ... D-end Taylor Henry had two of the Beavers' four sacks.
Oregon State was without starting linebackers Feti Unga (calf) and Cameron Collins (groin) and backup tailback Jovan Stevenson (knee). Safeties Ryan Murphy (shoulder), Anthony Watkins (shoulder) and Lance Mitchell (abdominal) all played while nursing injuries. 'I didn't know if we were going to have to invent a new position, because we didn't have any (healthy) safeties left,' Riley quipped. ... Jenkins (concussion), Halahuni (ankle), center Grant Johnson (ankle) and linebacker Rueben Robinson (shin) all suffered injuries for the Beavers. ... Former OSU special teams coach Dave Ungerer is in his second year handling the same responsibilities for Washington State. Ungerer also coaches running backs. ... Oregon State sold 4,250 tickets for the game. ... The Beavers are 39-16 in games after September dating to 2004.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Oregon State 7 17 7 13 - 44
Washington State 0 14 0 7 - 21
OSU - Jordan Jenkins 31 pass from Sean Mannion (Trevor Romaine kick) 8:18.
WSU - Marquess Wilson 20 pass from Jeff Tuel (Andrew Furney) 14:51.
OSU - Brandin Cooks 12 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 10:58.
WSU - Tuel 1 run (Furney kick) 10:01.
OSU - Malcolm Agnew 3 run (Romaine kick) 9:21.
OSU - Romaine 26 field goal :30.
OSU - Joe Halahuni 25 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 10:40.
OSU - Romaine 25 field goal 14:50.
WSU - Carl Winston 3 run (Furney kick) 11:00.
OSU - Clayton York 18 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 8:34.
ATT. - 49,219.