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CORVALLIS — Oregon State got the victory that everybody expected Saturday at Reser Stadium, though perhaps by a margin that seemed almost unimaginable.

And after the 15th-ranked Beavers’ 77-3 dismantling of woefully inept Nicholls State of the FCS ranks, the short wait began for news a bowl destination.

Will it be the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl at San Diego or the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl at San Antonio? The latter gets the first pick — No. 2 team from the Pac-12 vs. the No. 3 team from the Big 12. The Holiday Bowl is slotted for the No. 3 Pac-12 team against the No. 5 Big 12 team.

The Alamo Bowl selection committee will announce its teams Sunday at 5 p.m. PST following the BCS bowl selection show on ESPN. The Pac-12 representative will be either Oregon State or UCLA, and committee member Norman Dugas — on hand for Saturday’s rout at Reser — wasn’t tipping his hand.

“It’s hard enough now to get a good feel for it, because the matchup (between the Pac-12 representative and a Big 12 team) is so important,” Dugas said after Saturday’s game.

Dugas said there are “about 20 factors” that the 13-member Alamo Bowl selection committee will consider when choosing its teams, including record (Oregon State finished 9-3, UCLA 9-4), head-to-head competition (the Beavers beat the Bruins 27-20 at Pasadena), market size, fan base and how attractive the teams would be to a television audience.

The Bruins’ 27-24 loss to Stanford in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game didn’t hurt their chances.

“They had a very good performance against Stanford,” Dugas said. “That will get factored into the equation."

Nor will the final score from Saturday’s game at Corvallis — the most points scored by an Oregon State team in its 117-year history — have an impact.

“Everybody expected (the Beavers) would take care of business today,” Dugas said.

Dugas met with OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis and other members of his athletic department. He also walked through Reser Stadium before and during Saturday’s game, checking the temperature of Beaver Nation about prospects of the Alamo Bowl.

“All the folks I talked to, everybody was universally supportive of coming to San Antonio,” Dugas said. “The good news for Oregon State is they have two good choices. (The Beavers) are in a no-lose situation from that standpoint.”

They were quickly in a no-lose situation Saturday, too, jumping to a 35-0 halftime lead and coasting a school scoring record, surpassing that unforgettable 76-0 whipping of Willamette back in 1931.

“That’s kind of cool to be a part of that,” OSU cornerback Jordan Poyer said. “We were trying to hold them to zero points, but stuff happens.”

“This might be the closest we’ve been to a complete game this season,” said OSU quarterback Sean Mannion, who needed to add an asterisk to the achievement in that Nicholls State (1-10) is as bad as an FCS team can be.

Mannion and Cody Vac combined to complete 34 of 40 passes for 421 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. The Beavers rushed for a season-high 230 yards, amassed a school-record 42 first downs and 683 yards total offense, second-best in school history to the 703 yards gained against Utah in 1951.

OSU punter Keith Kostol got the day off. The Beavers had 11 possessions and scored 11 touchdowns.

“Like a dream come true,” said OSU coach Mike Riley, who said he’d never had a team not punt at least once in a game in his 37-year career.

Oregon State suited “80-ish” players, Riley said, and every one of them saw action. Thirteen players caught passes and nine players had rushes.

It’s why Riley, with a 77-3 lead and less than a minute to play, chose to run a dive with Malcolm Agnew, then have third-string quarterback Richie Harrington throw a backward pass to Tym Pearson on the game’s final two plays when a pair of kneel-downs would have been a better idea.

“There are guys out there, that’s all they get” in terms of playing time, Riley explained. “Most of them who were in the game at that time were walk-ons.”

I asked Riley if he at all felt sorry for the outmanned Colonels and coach Charlie Stubbs, once an OSU assistant during the Dave Kragthorpe regime.

“It’s hard, but Charlie understands we’re at two different levels,” Riley said. “The game is scheduled for a variety of reasons. I’m not sure it’s always real good.

“It’s made them a lot of money for Nicholls State, which is why they take the game. I’m going to let all my kids play and we’re going to play football.”

The Colonels managed 12 first downs, 49 yards rushing and 223 yards total offense against an Oregon State defense that seemed rather well-prepared.

“We knew what they were going to run a lot of the time,” said Poyer, a first-team all-Pac-12 choice who snatched his seventh interception of the season. “We knew the game was going to be on us. They weren’t going to come out and physically beat us. It was going to be how well we executed.”

The major sub-plot was OSU senior Markus Wheaton breaking the school career receptions mark with 12 catches — in the first half. The Beavers went to the first-team all-Pac-12 selection often — “I was wondering why I was getting the ball so much,” Wheaton said with a smile afterward — and he obliged with 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown to go with two runs for 17 yards and another TD.

With a bowl game yet to go, Wheaton has 224 career catches, breaking the mark set by James Rodgers, Wheaton’s role model when he arrived on the OSU campus in 2009.

“When I first got here, James was amazing, as good as it gets,” Wheaton said. “I wanted to be just like him.”

Riley was pleased that he was able to insert his scrubs and still maintain some continuity both offensively and defensively.

“You don’t want to start looking real sloppy,” he said. “They’ve been able to go in, both today and against Cal (a 62-14 win) and make it look like football.”

The only bad news Saturday was a knee injury suffered by senior Jordan Jenkins, a first-team all-Pac-12 special teams player who scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass.

“I’m worried about Jordan,” Riley said. “I don’t think it’s very good. I’m doubtful he’ll be able to play in the bowl game.”

The Beavers have flipped their season from a year ago — from 3-9 to 9-3, with the possibility of the third 10-win season in school history.

“Over 37 years of coaching, you’ve seen it all,” Riley said. “Championship years, tough years. It makes you feel good to be with a whole bunch of people who worked hard to turn it around.

“When you’re coming off a 3-9 (season), it’s hard to find that confidence. Our team did that.”

Now the Beavers are headed to a bowl for the first time in three seasons. Within 24 hours, they’ll know which one.

“I’m just glad we’re going to a bowl game, and a respectable one, too,” Poyer said. “If the Alamo Bowl is higher, that’s where we want to go.”


Nicholls State 0 0 3 0 — 3

Oregon State 14 21 14 28 — 77


OSU — Storm Woods 8 run (Trevor Romaine kick) 9:50

OSU — Woods 1 run (Romaine kick) :55


OSU — Markus Wheaton 10 run (Romaine kick) 11:09

OSU — Terron Ward 15 run (Romaine kick) 7:40

OSU — Wheaton 2 pass from Cody Vaz (Romaine kick) 1:14


OSU — Richard Mullaney 4 pass from Sean Mannion (Romaine kick) 12:49

OSU — Kevin Cummings 22 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 9:02

NICH — Andrew Dolan 26 FG 2:40


OSU — Obum Gwachum 7 pass from Vaz (Romaine kick) 14:55

OSU — Jordan Jenkins 20 pass from Vaz (Romaine kick) 9:17

OSU — Malcolm Agnew 11 run (Romaine kick) 7:00

OSU — Michael Balfour 4 run (Romaine kick) 4:19

ATT — 32,427

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Twitter: @kerryeggers

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