Nov 15, 2014; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers fans rush the field after the Beavers defeated the Sun Devils 35-27 at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Susan Ragan-USA TODAY Sports
Facing down a must win game to keep their postseason hopes alive, The Oregon State Beavers delivered; upsetting The #6 Arizona State Sun Devils in Reser Stadium, 35-27.
The upset is Oregon State’s second win of their last 12 conference games and their first over a top 10 team since beating The #9 Arizona Wildcats in 2010. It’s also The Beavers 5th straight win over Arizona State at Reser Stadium.
Oregon State broke the 0-0 start when Storm Woods broke off a 78-yard run around the 11 minute mark of the first quarter. With a loaded box and heavy pass rush, Woods was able to break through the line of scrimmage, with nothing but turf between #24 and the end zone. It would be a common theme for an Oregon State team that has seldom managed to manufacture explosive plays in 2014.
Terron Ward decided that he wasn’t going to miss out on the big play sale being held by the Sun Devil defense. After an Arizona State field goal, Ward busted off a 66 yard run of his own, pushing the Beaver lead to 14-3 with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Arizona State would reestablish order, albeit temporarily, scoring 24 unanswered points to close out the first half at a 24-14 ASU advantage.
It had an all too familiar feeling of ‘here we go again’ in Beaver Nation.
However, Oregon State would be the first side to strike after halftime as Sean Mannion dished up a 20 yard touchdown pass to Victor Bolden to cut the Sun Devil lead to 24-21 with 3:19 left in the third quarter.
The Sun Devils would lace a 29 yard field goal to open up the fourth quarter. It would be the last time Todd Graham’s squad could comfortably look at the scoreboard.
Less than two minutes later, Jordan Villamin caught a 67 yard bomb from Sean Mannion, putting the Beavers up by 1 with just over ten minutes of regulation left.
at 28-27 both offenses again began to sputter. Oregon State elected to punt on a 4th and 1 from Arizona State’s 45 with 2:52 left; a move that drew collective sighs of disappointment from Beaver Nation, for it had been the aggressiveness of the first half play calling that had gotten Oregon State to this point.
Putting the ball in Taylor Kelly’s hands would prove to be very advantageous for Oregon State. A Michael Doctor pick-6 with 1:38 left in the game would seal Oregon State’s advantage at 35-27.
Arizona State’s final drive was stopped cold after an 8 yard sack on second down by Lavonte Barnett push the Sun Devils to their own 18. The game was sealed after a fourth down sack by D.J. Alexander gave the Beavers a turnover on downs with 1:10 left.
Tailbacks Storm Woods and Terron Ward would each finish with 125 and 143 yards respectively. It’s the first time two Beavers have rushed for over 100+ yards since James Rodgers and Yvenson Bernard both eclipsed the century mark in the 2007 Emerald Bowl.
Sean Mannion was unusually efficient in the contest, passing 19 for 33 with 2 touchdowns and 251 yards. Mannion’s only miscues came after an interception and a strip sack that resulted in 7 points at the end of the first half. The Pac-12’s all time passing yardage leader made up for his first half errors by leading two critical fourth quarter drives.
The Beaver defense played it’s most complete game of 2014, allowing just 367 yards to one of the most potent offenses in the conference. Oregon State forced two critical turnovers in the game and held a dangerous Arizona State backfield to a combined 88 yards (between D.J. Foster and Demario Richard).
On deck for the Beavers is a road trip to 6-5 Washington in the brand new Husky Stadium. The Beavers will need to beat The Huskies or win the Civil War to keep their bowl hopes alive in 2014.