Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Oregon State Beavers upset the Wisconsin Badgers behind a dominant performance by their defense and effective passing from Sean Mannion. Mike Riley definitely cooled whatever hot seat that might have existed.
When Oregon State has made their mark in the Pac-12, it's usually with a team that needs time to develop. Oregon State's offense is demanding (one of the most demanding in college football), and the Beavers often end up struggling through even the most routine of out-of-conference matchups. Oregon State tends to thrive on familiarity more so than actual uniqueness; their coaching tends to be more comfortable with teams they're used to facing rather than new teams.
So maybe it's no surprise the Beavers needed no time this year to get off on the right foot. Who else are they more familiar with than a team that romped them on national television last year? They seemed to use every trick against their opponent in the rematch.
Oregon State was the lords of their own destiny to start out their 2012 campaign. Sean Mannion was effective at moving the ball all over the field, managing the game and keeping the Beavers offense on the field. OSU's offense got nothing going with the run yet still managed to move the football thanks to Mannion's arm.
Despite Mannion's effectiveness, it was the Oregon State defense that really was the story of this upset. The Beavers wrecked Wisconsin for much of the game and keeping Montee Ball from moving the football in any effective fashion while harrassing Danny O'Brien into an ineffective performance. Wisconsin was a dreadful 2 of 17 on third down, and the Badgers had no chance to get anything going offensively.
Oregon State made Wisconsin look so bad up front, THEY FIRED THEIR NEW O-LINE COACH THE DAY AFTER. The Badgers averaged 1.5 rushing yards per carry, their lowest output in five years. Maybe Wisconsin's offensive line is that bad, but it could also be Oregon State's defensive line is that good.
Did the cancelling of their first game of the season help? No doubt that the Badgers probably could've used some gametape review of the new Beavers. The last time these two played, Oregon State was already a battered team playing many new frosh and new.
Nonetheless, Oregon State's season is off to an impressive start, and Mike Riley has silenced his doubters for the near future. The man keeps on finding ways to win in Corvallis, and he keeps on beating the best teams out there while doing so. For the first time, he's ventured out of the conference to keep the mojo flowing.
It's hard not to think OSU could have a special year ahead of them if they continue to put together performances like these. And it's hard to see Oregon State without Riley if he keeps pulling magic like this.
SB Nation Snippets
The Beavers pass defense was as advertised. They began to soften up towards the end of the game, but Jordan Poyer, locked down the Badger receivers, and Ryan Murphy took advantage of a terrible Badger pass and got an INT. He could've had another, but it went through his hands.
The Oregon State line play wasn't spectacular, but it was obviously good enough to get the job done, and they made some big plays. The sack and forced fumble by Dylan Wynn (recovered by Scott Crichton) with Wisconsin on the 9 yard line comes to mind.
O'Brien had a tough day against the Beavers as well. The Maryland transfer looked solid last week under offensive coordinator Matt Canada's conservative game plan. When given an opportunity to open up the offense on the road this week, O'Brien was just 20 of 38 with one touchdown, and one interception.
The stats don't tell the whole story though, O'Brien looked flustered more often than not. O'Brien also had a serious issue feeling pressure in the pocket, as he was strip sacked twice. O'Brien also more than once stepped up into the pressure instead of away from it.
As my father texted me after the game, O'Brien looked lot more like Allan Evridge than Russell Wilson.