Oregon State 19, Washington State 6
You knew a letdown was coming with Oregon State.
They'd been playing over their heads the past three weeks, having to adjust to all sorts of different styles of football. They had to win at the line against Wisconsin and endure a grinding, physical war of the trenches. They had to go to the Rose Bowl and face an aerial attack with plenty of pro-style defenders in UCLA. Then they had to trade touchdowns with Arizona in Tucson, where they happened to be the ones who scored last. Oregon State wasn't winning games decisively, but the coin of luck always seemed to be landing heads for them.
A letdown was inevitable, and the result was an ugly, awful contest with Washington State that both teams will be happy to forget ever happened.
The Cougars defense continues to show signs of life, holding down Oregon for a half and generally keeping Oregon State in front of them throughout. They kept their offense alive and well with stop after stop. Oregon State drove into the red zone and settled for a field goal, got a Connor Halliday interception in WSU territory and turned it over right back on downs, got into Washington State territory again only to see Sean Mannion throw a pick, go a total of -3 yards on their next two drives, advance again into Cougar territory just to see Mannion throw another pick, and topped it all off by forcing another pick on Halliday while settling for another field goal.
So despite being afforded every advantage in the book before halftime, the score was 6-3 Beavers at the half. Not exactly the quick, definitive statement Oregon State would have liked to put together.
Thankfully for Oregon State, their defense was more than capable of picking up the slack before Mannion and the Beavers offense finally began breaking through.
The Cougars had 16 yards of offense in the first quater, going punt, pick, punt, punt. Their most successful early drive ended with a red zone field goal, and they followed that up with two straight turnovers and a "turnover" by downs. Washington State would barely rush the football, and ended up with only 227 yards overall on the night, but the Oregon State defense only allowed two third down conversions and 14 first downs period. It was a real grind-it-out affair that both sides will be happy to put behind them.
This game is not going to register on anyone's top ten list of great Oregon State wins. The Beavers struggled to move the football (although they were hardly as moribund as the Cougars) and the turnovers flowed free from everyone. Oregon State got penalized 11 times for 110 yards and undid several promising drives. Mannion threw threw three picks and put together a generally unsatisfying performance until stringing together a few good series of throws on the two OSU second half touchdown drives.
It'll be just another win for the Beavers, who'll just be happy to get to 4-0 and keep their record unblemished.