In front of an Oregon St. record crowd at Reser Stadium of 46,579 (905 over official capacity), OSU beat the Cougars 19-6 to go to 4-0 on the season. The game often wasn’t pretty offensively, but OSU’s defense deserves praise for another dominant performance. Jordan Poyer and Scott Crichton were two of the brightest defensive leaders of the day. Poyer had 3 interceptions and if not for a stumble when trying to juke the QSU QB, would have taken it to the house. OSU moved up to #10 in the AP Poll and #14 in the Coaches poll.
Mannion did not have a great day. He did lead the team on a couple of scoring drives when they were needed, but was intercepted three times. There were also several uncharacteristic dropped balls. My biggest beef of the day was the continuing unnecessary and unwise running out of the endzone on kickoffs. OSU is averaging starting near the 18 yard line this year because of this and has only taken one kick barely past the 25 of all their returns. Too often this has meant starting short of the 15 yard line and even coming close to getting pinned inside the 10. The simplest solution is to just not run anything out of the endzone. The 25 yard line is a good place to start and prevents any poor field position and momentum swings that will likely bite us soon enough if we don’t wise up.
The other big sticking point was penalties. Particularly false starts and holding penalties that stalled over half our drives on the day. This can’t happen if we are to beat good teams like BYU, Arizona St., Washington, Stanford, and Oregon. Wheaton had 9 catches for 95 yards and a TD and Cooks added 5 nice catches. On a couple of plays in the redzone it looked like OSU wasn’t all on the same page. There needs to be sharp focus so they are maximizing on every scoring opportunity. Defensively there was good energy most of the day and Crichton did a great job of sacking replacement QB Tuel in the 2nd half. We will need to again “Release the Crichton” against BYU. Storm Woods did a pretty good job of fighting for extra yards and doing his best to make first downs. Overall, OSU’s backs rushed for 100 yards on the day.
Next weekend’s BYU matchup is huge. Riley hasn’t shown that he can outcoach Bronco Mendenhall head-to-head yet. The game will be physical and OSU will have to stay balanced and play with grit. Our rushing total needs to step up closer to 150 yards and Mannion has to snap back more along the lines of his first 3 games where he was Heisman-like. For now OSU is #10 in the land and has a chance to make alot more Beaver Believers across the Nation who will be drinkin’ the Beaver Juice if they can beat a tough BYU team in Provo and take it to 5-0.