Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/20/12
Beavers Dam the Bears Just a week removed from enduring a tough loss in Palo Alto against Stanford, the Oregon State football team returned to Reser Stadium this past Saturday to square off against the California Golden Bears. Cal entered the game having gone toe to toe with Oregon (for one half, at least) the previous weekend, and was looking to upset Oregon State in an effort to restore some pride in their football program. In front of a crowd just shy of 44,000 people, OSU bounced back, yet again, from a loss and put on quite the offensive show on a very wet evening under the lights. Led by sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion, the Oregon State offense racked up 559 yards of total offense and scored at least two touchdowns in each quarter. Oregon State finished the game with 62 points, the most the Beavers have scored in a game since the 2008 season. Saturday’s offensive performance against Cal was the perfect primer as the team readies for this weekend’s Civil War showdown with rival Oregon. The win over Cal pushed Oregon State to 8-2 on the year, 6-2 in PAC-12 play, and found them ranked 15th in the country, according to the BCS standings. Offensive Game Ball Sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion was thrust back in to the starter position after Cody Vazwas hobbled by an ankle injury in last weekend’s game against Stanford, and proved he was a more than capable replacement. Sean Mannion was impressive in a start where he was replacing Cody Vaz. (Photo: oregonlive.com) The clear cut starter to begin the year, Sean Mannion struggled since returning from knee surgery last month. After an awful showing against Washington, Mannion was benched in favor of Vaz, and looked to be headed to clipboard duties for the rest of the season. Now it was Mannion’s turn to fill in for an injured starter and he didn’t disappoint. Sean Mannion was masterful Saturday night, and did everything to prove he will be the starter in this week’s contest against Oregon. Mannion, completing 24 of 34 passes for 325 yards, 4 touchdowns and just one interception, found 7 different Oregon State receivers Saturday night. This was just the kind of confidence booster Mannion needed as he prepares for the Civil War. Special recognition this week has to go out to Terron Ward who continues to show he has starter potential with each of his carries.  The sophomore running back torched Cal to the tune of 128 yards on just 14 carries (a 9.1 average per carry) and two touchdowns. He continues to take advantage of his carries and is a more than competent substitute for starter Storm Woods. Defensive Game Ball Senior cornerback Jordan Poyer has made life difficult for many opposing quarterbacks this year, and Saturday was no different. Poyer was all over the place against Cal, registering 5 total tackles (4 solo, 1 assisted), recovered a fumble forced by partner in crime Rashaad Reynolds, and also recorded his 6th interception on the year. Every time a big play was made by the defense, it seemed as though Poyer was at the center of it. His play making ability, and knack for intercepting the football, is one of the main reasons Oregon State has found the success it has this year. He’s been in the national spotlight for most of the season, and each week he proves that he is deserving of every bit of that attention. Poyer’s outstanding play could field some serious interest in next spring’s NFL Draft, and for good reason. Special Teams Game Ball The OSU offense was operating on all cylinders for most of the game, hardly allowing their special teams unit to make much of an impact. Punter Keith Kostol, however, took advantage of his opportunities and once again displayed his incredible leg power, and deadly accuracy. Kostol, registering 4 punts on the evening, averaged just over 40 yards a punt, and landed 2 of them inside the Cal 20 yard line. Pinning a team deep inside their own territory is one of the ingredients for success, and Kostol’s efforts Saturday night, as well as the entire year, helped the OSU defense immensely. Next week is the biggest week of the college football year for Oregon State football as they welcome the rival Oregon Ducks to Reser Stadium for the annual Civil War matchup. Kickoff is slated for 12pm and will air on the PAC-12 Networks. CHECK OUT THE BEAVERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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