Sean Mannion was awarded Pac-12 offensive player of the week for his performance against Arizona, but cornerback Jordan Poyer was the star against the Washington State Cougars with three interceptions. It may have not been a flashy win, but the Oregon State defense held Washington State to two field goals. The AP polls gave them the #10 spot after starting the season 4-0, which has not happened since 2002.
The score was 6-3 at halftime and neither offense had picked up momentum. The game was decided on by defense and a very pretty deep corner touchdown grab by Markus Wheaton, putting them ahead 13-3. Wheaton now has four touchdowns and 498 yards for the season. Mike Riley’s pass-heavy offense creates opportunities for his receivers, including Brandin Cooks, who caught two clutch 3rd and long completions in a single drive, setting up Tyler Anderson for a 1-yd rushing touchdown, bringing the game to it’s final score of 19-6. Riley applauded his offense, stating that, “two of those third-down conversions were major league.”
A couple Mannion led drives put Oregon State ahead, but he had an off day, throwing 25-for-42 for 270 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. “I’m really proud of the way our team came out in the second half,” Mannion said. “I think that says a lot about us.” Even though the offense was slacking, the Beavers defense stepped it up.
The Beavers forced five turnovers on the day. Anthony Watkins grabbed a pick in the first half. Rudolf Fifita recovered his first fumble. Scott Crichton had a career-high game with three sacks and four tackles-for-a-loss. Although there were some impressive performances, the man who kept the team going was Jordan Poyer, with an amazing three interceptions, one of those ending the game. “It was the biggest performance,” said Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton. “That’s a superstar right there. He carried us.” Poyer said he was confident he would play well in today’s game, reassuring us by saying, “To be honest with you – I wouldn’t lie to you – I did – It’s just something you feel.”
The backup quarterback for Washington State, Jeff Tuel, said that, “the [Beavers] were jumping routes because they were playing a lot of man coverage. They were playing it tight, and honestly, it’s just a small place to throw a football.” Mark Banker, Oregon State’s defensive coordinator, displayed his team’s toughness and ability to keep the opponent’s ball out of the end zone. Making it difficult for offenses to create space will be the same task to accomplish when facing the high-powered teams ahead. But the Oregon State Beavers have shown star capability as well as good team football on both offense and defense, making them a huge threat to Stanford, USC, and Oregon’s Pac-12 Championship hopes.