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Beavers turn it on against Arizona State

CORVALLIS — Talk about overcoming adversity.

Oregon State turned an ugly start into a sightly finish as the 11th-ranked Beavers stormed back from a 19-10 second-quarter deficit to beat Arizona State 36-26 Saturday night at Reser Stadium.

Quarterback Cody Vaz, running for his life from a tenacious Arizona State rush much of the night, threw for three touchdown passes and Oregon State’s defense shut out the Sun Devils for nearly the final 47 minutes as the Beavers improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in Pac-10 play.

With the score tied 19-19 at the half, Oregon State came out all business in the third quarter. OSU forced a three-and-out and an ASU punt, which Markus Wheaton returned 15 yards to the OSU 48. A 25-yard Brandin Cooks reception took the Beavers to the Sun Devil 20. Two plays later, Vaz found Wheaton in the corner of the end zone for 17 yards, a TD and a 26-19 edge with 11:29 remaining in the third quarter.

After an Arizona State punt, Oregon State gave the Sun Devils a short field after a punt return gave the visitors the ball at the OSU 39. The Devils went three-and-out, but Travis Kelly’s fourth-down squib kick rolled dead on the OSU 4-yard line.

The Beavers moved quickly downfield, a 36-yard Vaz-to-Wheaton pass giving them first-and-goal at the 6. On first down, Terron Ward’s TD run was nullified by a holding penalty on tackle Colin Kelly. The Beavers settled for a 33-yard Trevor Romaine field goal and a 29-19 advantage with 3:02 left in the quarter.

Arizona State drove from its 25 to the OSU 19 before stalling. But Jon Mora’s 37-yard field- goal attempt was wide left as the period ended.

After an exchange of punts, Ward got loose for 29 yards to midfield. On second-and-9 from the ASU 49, Vaz unleashed a beautiful throw under pressure to a wide-open Brandin Cooks for a TD and a 36-19 edge with 10:54 remaining.

OSU's Steven Christian foiled the Sun Devils' next possession, intercepted a long ASU pass at the OSU 25.

The Sun Devils got the ball one more time and drove from its 23-yard line to the OSU 1 with 29 seconds remaining, and then scored on a pass to narrow the final margin.

Oregon State rallied from a 19-10 deficit to go into intermission tied at 19-19 after a wild first half. OSU had a heck of a time protecting Vaz, who was sacked five times in the half.

The Beavers rushed for 121 yards in the half, though the net total was 59 after 62 yards in sack losses by Vaz. Ward — pressed into duty with Malcolm Agnew when Storm Woods’ sore left knee forced him to the sidelines early — had 70 yards and a TD on five carries.

After a 1-for-7 start, Vaz was more effective in the second quarter, completing 8 of 13 attempts for 75 yards. The opposite was true for ASU QB Kelly, who was 9 for 12 passing in the first quarter but 3 for 8 in the second period. He finished the half 12 for 20 for 69 yards.

Neither team was good on third down — Arizona State 2 for 8, Oregon State 2 for 9.

The game couldn’t have started in more disastrous fashion for Oregon State. On the Beavers’ third play of game, Vaz fumbled under pressure as he was setting to pass. The ball was scooped up by ASU’s Junior Onyeali, who returned the fumble one yard for a touchdown. Twenty-one seconds into the game, the Sun Devils led 7-0.

The Beavers answered by moving from their 26 to the ASU 25, the biggest play Wheaton’s 35-yard run on a fly sweep. On second-and-eight, Vaz didn’t see a wide-open tight end Caleb Smith in the end zone, throwing an incompletion to another receiver. Vaz missed on a third-down throw and the Beavers wound up with Romaine’s 41-yard field goal to close to within 7-3 with 11:21 left in the first quarter.

The Sun Devils struck back quickly in their no-huddle offense, covering 75 yards in nine plays and 2 minutes, 31 seconds. Cameron Marshall’s 1-yard touchdown dive upped the visitors’ lead to 14-3 with 8:44 left in the quarter.

Ward gave the Beavers life with a 39-yard kickoff return to the OSU 46. On second-and-six from the 50, Vaz threw a bullet at the 25 to Wheaton, who covered the rest of the 50 yards for a TD to close the gap to 14-10 with 7:51 to go in the period.

After an ASU punt, the Beavers were in trouble again. Vaz fumbled as he was being sacked and though Colin Kelly recovered at the 1-yard line, the Beavers were forced to punt from their end zone. Keith Kostol got off a beauty and long snapper Michael Morovick hustled down to make the tackle at midfield.

The Sun Devils punted again and on first-and-10 from the OSU 11, Vaz was sacked at the one-yard line. On fourth-and-17, Kostol had to punt from his end zone again, and this one was blocked out of the end zone by ASU’s Kevin Ayers for a safety.

Arizona State moved from its own 39 to the OSU 14, settling for a 31-yard Mora field goal and a 19-10 advantage with 12:56 remaining in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jovan Stevenson nearly went all the way, the last Sun Devil making the tackle at the OSU 35 after a 32-yard return. Three plays later, Ward burst through the middle for 53 yards and a touchdown, getting an escort from Wheaton the final 20 yards to paydirt. But Romaine’s extra point bounced off the upright, leaving the Devils on top 19-16 with 11:35 left in the quarter.

Late in the half, Oregon State drove from its 14-yard line to first-and-goal on the ASU nine. After successive sacks on second and third down, Romaine booted a 45-yard field goal as time expired to tie the count at the half.

NOTES — The crowd of 45,979 was the third straight sellout at Reser this season. ... Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer sat out the game with a sprained right knee. ... Vaz was 1 for 7 passing in the first quarter, his only completion the 50-yard strike to Wheaton. And Vaz was sacked three times. ... Kelly, a 6-2, 200-pound sophomore, had runs of 16 and 10 yards in the first quarter. ... Ward’s 39-yard kickoff return in the first quarter was OSU’s longest of the season. ... The Sun Devils had 19 yards total offense in the second quarter.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Arizona State 16 3 0 7 -- 26

Oregon State 10 9 10 7 -- 36

FIRST QUARTER

ASU — Junior Onyeali 1 fumble return (Alex Garoutte kick) 14:39

OSU — Trevor Romaine 41 FG 11:21

ASU — Cameron Marshall 1 run (Garoutte kick) 8:44

OSU — Markus Wheaton 50 pass from Cody Vaz (Romaine kick) 7:51

ASU — Kevin Ayers blocks Keith Kostol punt out of end zone 1:27

SECOND QUARTER

ASU — Jon Mora 31 FG 12:56

OSU — Terron Ward 53 run (kick failed) 11:35

OSU — Romaine 45 FG 0:00

THIRD QUARTER

OSU — Wheaton 17 pass from Vaz (Romaine kick) 11:29

OSU — Romaine 33 FG 3:02

FOURTH QUARTER

OSU — Brandin Cooks 49 pass from Vaz (Romaine kick) 10:54

ASU — Marion Grice 1 pass from Taylor Kelly (Garoutte kick) :22

Att. — 45,979



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