When the Oregon State Beavers gathered to discuss the wreckage that was a 48-24 loss to Oregon Saturday, there was really no need for a post-mortem. The causes of the disaster were obvious.
The Beavers never gave themselves a chance. Six turnovers - four interceptions and two fumbles - buried the Beavers as much as Oregon's otherworldly spread offense, which rolled up 570 yards. Oregon State trailed 20-17 in the third quarter before the Ducks scored 28 unanswered points.
No. 16 Oregon State (8-3, 6-3 Pac-12) was left mourning a lost opportunity to do something no current Beaver player had done: defeat the sixth-ranked Ducks, who won the Civil War for the fifth straight year Saturday.
''It hurts. I wanted this - we wanted it - really bad,'' senior receiver Markus Wheaton said.
That leaves Oregon State looking ahead to a game that to this point was considered an afterthought. In fact, the Beavers' Dec. 1 matchup with Nicholls State of Thibodaux, La., was a few weeks ago seen as an impediment that the school considered canceling because fears of that it might drag down the strength of schedule and inhibit the team's chances at making a Bowl Championship Series Bowl.
After losing its third game of the season - the Beavers' previous two losses were by a total of seven points - a BCS bowl is out of reach for Oregon State. The Holiday Bowl appears to be the most likely destination.
Now, Saturday's matchup with the Colonels of the Football Championship Subdivision is something the Beavers can look forward to, providing them with a chance to end the regular season on a positive note and not this bitter one while waiting several weeks to play in a bowl.
''That'll be a good thing,'' senior cornerback Jordan Poyer said after the game. ''I want to take this out on somebody. This hurts.''
Oregon State was supposed to host the Colonels Sept. 3 in the season-opener, but the game was postponed when Hurricane Isaac swept in and closed the Nicholls State campus.
The Colonels are enduring a miserable 1-9 season (they are 0-7 in the Southland Conference), tallying their only win against Evangel University of Missouri, which competes in NAIA. In short, Nicholls State is in no way a threat to upset Oregon State. However, just its upcoming presence in Corvallis gives the Beavers a game to get prepared for rather than dwell the on the Ducks debacle.
''We have another opponent. There is no time to pout, feel sorry for yourself,'' Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion said.
One area the Beavers will have an opportunity to work on is in the passing game. Mannion's four interceptions brought his season total to 13. Mannion blamed some bad decisions and his attempt to force some passes late in the game once the Beavers fell behind.
''Turnovers are absolute killers,'' Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. ''I felt like had we just taken care of the football we could have made an attempt to keep pace.''