OSU's million-to-one shot

The Beavers get a rare chance for historic glory Saturday against Oregon
Nov. 26, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Corvallis is plenty off the beaten path in the college football world, so it's hard for the Oregon State football team to get a lot of publicity. But, that won't be true Saturday, so it's as big an opportunity to make an impact in front of the nation's fans and incoming recruits as the program is going to get.

The Beavers get to play in-state rival Oregon at home and on national television with the Ducks needing only win by any margin to continue their path toward the College Football Playoffs.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is playing for its football life - especially its seniors. The Beavers have five wins and need a sixth to become bowl. So a win Saturday extends the season by a month. And, a sixth win qualifies coach Mike Riley for a bonus of more than $1.5 million as it would add another year onto his contract for winning six games.

Riley has never seemed like someone motivated by money (and his contract already runs through 2021), but the game is being played at Reser Stadium, and being on national TV with the win moving his team to a bowl game, it might just be what his staff needs to produce what would be one of its biggest upsets.

There's plenty of elements in place for Saturday, too.

First, it's at home. The Beavers just seem to be a different animal at home. Almost all of their big wins are at Reser these days, starting with USC. OSU hasn't beaten USC in Los Angeles since 1964, but it's owned the team in the past decade at Reser, regardless of the Trojans' rankings.

Two weeks ago, the Beavers beat No. 7 Arizona State at Reser, 35-27.

Saturday is the final home game for seniors, led by quarterback Sean Mannion.

Second, the Ducks are ranked No. 2, and have beaten the Beavers six straight times - so they should win. The betting line is by nearly three touchdowns, too. This is one of the best elements an underdog has available - surprise, even if the Ducks publicly say they're fully ready. In Oregon's lone loss - to Arizona on its home field, it was rated a 23-point favorite.

And, Oregon has shown it's available for a big loss, too. At Utah, the Ducks were on their way to being down 14-0 when fate intervened in the form of a historic "Not Top 10" play. Even then, the game was 30-27 in the second half.

Third, it's on ABC. If there's a way to pump up a group of seemingly overmatched football players, just put some cameras in their faces and tell them every play they make has the potential to be a national headline.

Oregon is already in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, so it realistically only needs to win by one point, which it did last year, 36-35 at Autzen Stadium. That's going to be in player's heads throughout the game.

Oregon Stat's best chance is a dominating start, especially on defense. And, it's performed well on defense. Against ASU, the defense gave up only 20 points as one of the Sun Devils' scores was on a fumble return.

Saturday's game looks like a blowout on paper - for Oregon fans, and maybe the world. But, it's one of the biggest wins the Beavers can ever have, one the program will celebrate for decades, and that opportunity doesn't come along very often.

OSU gets run out of Corvallis again

USC shows off its running game and beats the Beavers 31-14
Nov. 1, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Oregon State's slim hope of reaching the PAC-12 title game evaporated Friday night with a 31-14 loss at the hands of Southern Cal at Reser Stadium.

The Beavers struggled to score only one touchdown on offense, and the team's defense could only produce one of its own on the way to a 6-3 record overall, 3-2 in Pac-12 games.

Sean Mannion threw for 277 yards and a touchdown, but he also tossed three interceptions that led the team to scoring 14 points or less for the second straight week.

USC tailback Javorius Allen ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Trojans, who improved to 6-3 overall and 3-1 since the program fired coach Lane Kiffin.

Oregon State has a week off before taking on Arizona State, one of the pre-season favorites to win the South Division.



In most years, Oregon State would be the underdog when it meets the Southern Cal football team. But, this isn't like most years.

When the Beavers play host to the Trojans tonight, they'll be the favorite.

OSU's loss at home to Stanford last week hasn't dimmed faith in the squad, which had won six consecutive games after a disappointing season-opening loss to FCS title contender Eastern Washington.

Tonight's game will be televised by ESPN2 beginning at 6 p.m.

Oddsmakers installed Oregon State as the favorite on Sunday by 4.5 points, but money bet on the game has moved the spread to the Beavers winning by 5.5 since then.

The Beavers enter tonight's game at 6-2 overall, with the Trojans at 5-3.

USC is 2-1 since firing coach Lane Kiffin, and beat Utah at home 19-3 last week. But, that's far from impressive for a squad that lost 10-7 to Washington State at home in its Pac-12 opener.

Oregon State has scored 33 points or more in seven of its eight games led by sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion. The team's offense, though, had trouble with Stanford's constant defensive pressure, which gives the Trojans hope they can also stop OSU's attack.


Texas holds its ground against Beavers

OSU doesn't trail until the final two minutes of 31-27 loss in the Alamo Bowl
Dec. 29, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 10-point lead in the fourth quarter wasn't enough to stop an inspired effort from the Texas Longhorns, who rallied to beat Oregon State 31-27 in the Alamo Bowl Saturday at the Alamodome.

The Beavers, who entered ranked No. 15 in the nation, got 118 yards and pair of touchdowns from Storm Woods and a pair of field goals from Trevor Romaine, but couldn't sustain a drive when needed and missed their chance at a 10-win season.

David Ash threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin with 2:24 left in the game for the go-ahead points, completing the comeback from a 27-17 deficit.

OSU earned the lead on a two-yard run by Woods with nine seconds left in the third quarter.

The Beavers finished at 9-4 on the year, after winning their first six games and reaching No. 8 in the BCS Rankings. Three of the four losses were by four points or less.

OSU quarterback Cody Vaz threw for 194 yards, but was intercepted twice and lost 81 yards to the Texas defensive pressure.



Civil War fever ready to grip the state

Both Oregon and Oregon State showed they can play to the nation Saturday
Sept. 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The University of Oregon has been a staple of the Associated Press national rankings for most of the past three years, and is a regular part of the Top 5 among national voters.

Oregon State?

With a 27-20 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl and on ABC, the Beavers showed off they can beat a nationally-ranked team for the second time this season, and with a dominating defense that gave up only a few big plays - not consistent drives.

Both Oregon and OSU earned rankings Sunday, Oregon up one spot to No. 2 and the Beavers moving from a few votes to No. 18 showing that much of the nation paid attention to not only the final score, but how the final score of Saturday's game came about.

OSU's got a defense and a savvy offense that can put together consistent drives.

Put the two Oregon schools together, and you can start to look at their schedules and ponder thatNov. 24 game - Oregon at Oregon State. The Civil War. Will that be the game that sends an Oregon school to the Pac-12 title game for the second-straight year?

Stanford appears as the main test having moved to No. 8 after its win over No. 3 USC two weeks ago.

USC dropped to No. 13, but looks like the team that will win the Pac-12 South and be the opponent in the title game.

UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State all received votes in the poll Sunday.

Stanford gives the Pac-12 North a trio of ranked teams and a pair of exciting contests: OSU at Stanford, Nov. 10, and Nov. 17, Stanford at Oregon.



Sept. 29, at Washington State

Oct. 6, Washington

Oct. 18, at Arizona State

Oct. 27, Colorado

Nov. 3, at USC

Oct. 10, at California

Oct. 17, Stanford

Oct. 24, at Oregon State



Sept. 29, at Arizona

Oct. 6, Washington State

Oct. 13, at Brigham Young

Oct. 20, Utah

Oct. 27, at Washington

Nov. 3, Arizona State

Nov. 10, at Stanford

Nov. 17, California

Nov. 24, Oregon

Dce. 1, Nicholls State


OSU puts itself on the college map again

Beavers stun Wisconsin, Big 10, 10-7 with stellar defense
Sept. 8, 2012

Whatever problems Oregon State seemed to have with offseason predictions of its demise on the football field were put aside for the first month of the season Saturday when the Beavers pulled off one the big upsets of the weekend with a 10-7 victory over No. 13 Wisconsin.

Facing a team that reached the Rose Bowl and returned its top running back, the Beavers held the Badgers to just 207 yards of total offense, 64 of them coming on their lone scoring drive that ended with 1:31 left in the game.

Montee Ball, mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate, finished with just 65 yards rushing and did not score for the first time in 22 consecutive games.

The Badgers lost for the first time in 33 non-conference games, an amazing streak for any team.

Wisconsin was the first Big 10 school to visit Corvallis since 1971.

The Beavers racked up 354 yards of offense, but scored just on a late second quater field goal by Trevor Romaine of 43 yards, and a third-quarter touchdown pass from Sean Mannion to Markus Wheaton.

OSU, which had its season opener against Nicholls State postponed due to Hurricane Issac, has a bye Saturday and will travel to UCLA for a Sept. 21 game as the lone college team in the nation to have played just one game.


Beavers believe, upset top-seed Washington

Jared Cunningham and Joe Burton hit double-doubles, Ducks lose
March 8, 2012

A night after struggling to score four points, Jared Cunningham busted loose for 18 points and 10 rebounds and Joe Burton came off the bench for 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Oregon State to an improbable 86-84 win over top-seed Washington at the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at the Staples Center Thursday.

OSU, which narrowly edged Washington State 69-64 Wednesday,

The Beavers trailed 79-73 with 2:44 left, but ended the game on a 13-5 run, with Cunningham hitting the go-ahead basket with 31 seconds remaining for an 84-83 lead. The final points were scored at the free-throw line.

Tony Wroten scored 29 points to lead the Huskies, who are still likely to receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

Both teams struggled at the free-throw line, with the Beavers hitting just 17 of 32 attempts (53 percent), while the Huskies managed just 12 of 26 (46 percent). Both teams missed five free throws in the final 31 seconds.

Oregon State will play Arizona in the semifinals.

Oregon had its season end with an 63-62 loss to Colorado when senior Devoe Joseph missed a three-point shot at the buzzer.




Cunningham leads Beavers past Utah

Oregon State rebounds from blowout loss with a blowout win
Feb. 4, 2012

Jared Cunningham scored 20 points to help Oregon State pound Utah 76-58 in a Pac-12 Conference men's basketball game Saturday.

Cunningham, who scored 27 in an upset of Oregon last week, hit seven of 16 shots from the field and six free throws to help the Beavers win for the fourth time in five games.

Devon Coliier added 14 points on 6-fof-10 shooting and Joe Burton added eight points and 11 rebounds for Oregon State, which improved to 15-8 overall, 5-6 in Pac-12 play.

The Beavers missed all nine of their three-point attempts, but finished hitting 46 percent of their field-goal attempts.

Oregon State plays host to Washington State on Thursday.


Beavers get wiped out by Stanford, 103-101

A four-overtime loss leaves OSU with a split of weekend series
Jan. 7, 2012

Oregon State missed an opportunity for a huge upset win when a last-second three-point attempt bounced away at the buzzer and allowed Stanford to exit Gill Coliseum with a 103-101 victory after four overtimes in Pac-12 Conference men's basketball play Saturday.

Jared Cunningham scored 19 points and Devon Collier had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Beavers. Joe Burton added 18 points and Eric Morland had six of the team's 11 blocked shots, which set a team record for a single game.

OSU had never before played four overtimes, and matched its highest point total in a conference game.

Cunningham played 54 of the game's 60 minutes.

"Well, that was one to remember, even though we didn't win," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson told media afterward. "I couldn't be happier with my team. I thought they fought hard. Tonight they realized that they can play with anybody in the country."

The Beavers, who beat Cal on Thursday, dropped to 11-5 overall and 1-3 in conference action. Stanford is 13-3, 3-1.



Oregon State won its first Pac-12 Confernce men's basketball game behind dual 24-point games from Jared Cunningham and Ahmad Starks Thursday night.

The Beavers surpassed 90 points for the seventh time this season - a school record - and beat California 92-85 at Gill Coliseum.

OSU led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but needed a 9-3 run to pull away after the Bears had rallied to with 77-73.

"I couldn't be more proud of our team and our effort, especially coming off a weekend (losses to UW and WSU) like we had," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson told media after the game. "I knew that if we could take care of the start, and it almost didn't look like we were going to down 5-0, that we would play well and go toe-to-toe with them."

The Beavers (11-4, 1-2) play host to Stanford Saturday night.


Hey Beavs, thanks for helping the Ducks make ABC happy

Sat, 12/04/2010 - 5:47pm
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Last seen: 5 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

They sure did their part to make the Civil War interesting - those Oregon Ducks.

Yes, Oregon State put up a fight, especially in their "Giant Killer" unis, and on their home turf. But, the Ducks made ABC happy with turnovers, a missed field goal, even praying as the fourth quarter began - when the game was at its most dramatic.

Heck, if OSU coach Mike Riley was a gambler of any kind and had gone for a touchdown on fourth down to try to pull within 23-17, what a game that would have been. But, Riley went for the sure field goal, and a brutal pass interference penalty gave the Ducks the little relief they needed to move to a 37-20 win and a sure spot in the BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 10, in Glendale, Ariz.

Oregon coach Chip Kelly called for a fake punt at his own 25, and it worked.

OSU coach Mike Riley called for a field goal on fourth-and-goal at the Oregon 5. The field goal worked, but three points didn't put the kind of pressure on the Ducks that a touchdown would have.

So, onto The Natty for the Ducks, who used up that fake punt for that game. Auburn won't fall for that.

Darron Thomas's leadership vs. Cam Newton's leadership.

LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner vs. whoever Auburn has in its backfield besides Newton.

Jeff Maehl vs. whoever catches the passes for Auburn when Newton doesn't run.

Oregon's defense vs. Newton.

Oregon State played its role of showing off the holes in Oregon's juggernaut offense, and helped showcase Oregon's defense.

There's five weeks to prep for Oregon (representing the Beavers state - bring the OSU fans along) vs. Auburn (it's actually a city, located about an hour from Birmingham). Auburn has Alabama as its big rival, so the game is between the two states - Oregon vs. Alabama.

Congrats Oregon: Chip Kelly, Nick Aliotti, all the Autzen Stadium faithful, Uncle Phil Knight, it goes on. Wow, what a season.

Now, it's time to learn a lot more about Cam Newton.


These Beavers can become Giants for Oregon

Wed, 09/01/2010 - 12:55pm
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Last seen: 5 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

If you believe in miracles, then you might believe this is a year of destiny for the Oregon State football team, starting with a shot at becoming “Giant Killers II.”

The Beavers open their 2010 schedule Saturday against No. 6 Texas Christian, play host to Louisville two weeks later, then travel to No. 3 Boise State the following week.

In the span of 21 days, the Beavers will play the No. 3 and No. 6 teams in the nation on the road, not exactly Giant Killers, but close enough to merit a comparison. And, as it’s the beginning of the season, it’s a chance to brand the team for a run at the Rose Bowl – which the team has been just a win away from the past two seasons.

In 1965, the Beavers beat No. 2 Purdue, No. 2 UCLA and No. 1 USC in the span of 21 days, which has forever labeled the team “Giant Killers,” even though they didn’t reach the Rose Bowl.

There’s a lot of the nation that wants OSU to go 3-0, too, and put some reality back into TCU and BSU, who play relatively weak conference schedules.

TCU plays in the Mountain West, while BSU plays in the Western Athletic Conference, conferences they can dominate and end the season with unbeaten records if they can just win their non-conference games. Recently, they have.

Boise State even beat Oregon last year in that infamous game that started the Ducks’ run to the Rose Bowl.

OSU can earn some revenge for the Beaver State with a win in Boise.

Playing those highly-ranked teams, and with a new quarterback, virtually no one outside Corvallis thinks the Beavers can go 3-0, which is where the ’67 team was heading into their 21-day stretch.

“Giant Killers II.” It’s the 2010 team’s team to forever earn that nickname.

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