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Oregon State Football: Mike Riley Has That Magic Back

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Mike Riley has the Oregon State Beavers back to upsetting and beating big opponents, this time taking down UCLA.

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

Oregon State 27, UCLA 20

Among his peers, many consider Mike Riley one of the truly good guys in college football. Here's someone who's found a place where people really appreciate him, where he can work in relative seclusion from the 24/7 media cycle of college sports. He doesn't recruit big, he gets players from all around that no other coaching staff wants, and he gets to develop them as a group. Then he puts together solid football teams that are able to go up against the titans of college football and deliver strong results.

Riley had fallen on lean times recently. Oregon State suffered deep attrition that took them out of bowl games the last two seasons, and injuries really cut into their ability to keep on winning. But this season, what more can you want from the Beavers? They're 2-0 with two big upsets, the latest being a convincing victory over UCLA on the road. If you're a Beaver fan, it has to be happy days.

The Beaver defensive performance against the Badgers might have been considered a bit fluky after how much Wisky struggled in their other games. Oregon State has also had the convenience of multiple bye weeks to get prepared for each game. And of course this OSU team is pretty tough to gameplan against.

There's nothing fluky about the way Oregon State performed this week though. They took advantage of UCLA's deficiencies and put themselves in a strong position to come out 2-0.

The Beaver defense didn't issue a dominant performance--they gave up over 450 yards of offense. But they shut down Johnathan Franklin, who averaged under four rushing yards per carry and piled up 56 yards from scrimmage. Oregon State kept the UCLA attack in check for the most part, allowing Brett Hundley some big plays but never really allowed him to dominate the game; the Bruins were 2 for 15 on third down conversions and the offense sputtered on too many occasions.

Sean Mannion still might not be the best quarterback in the Pac-12, but he's making progress to getting there. Mannion made some big plays and torched the UCLA's secondary on the two early touchdowns. Storm Woods had some nice runs in the trash to keep the defense at least thinking about the run. Oregon State weren't always that consistent, but took advantage of big plays.

Will the Beavers trip up down the road? It's quite possible. Oregon State is far from a finished product, and they've been relying a lot on their 3rd down dense and quarterback play to win. If either of those trip up, the Beavers are eminently beatable.

But Mike Riley will have them ready, as he always has.

SB Nation snippet

AndyPanda has your Oregon State recap from Building the Dam.

There's plenty of improvements in schemes with new defensive backs coach Rod Perry's nickel and dime packages, which deserve a lot of credit for the overall improvements of the defense, but the biggest single difference is mental. Just as was the case against Wisconsin, all day long, the Oregon St. defense responded to adversity, be it self inflicted by the team (we'll discuss Mannion's turnovers on back to back plays in the third quarter shortly), a great play by the opponents, or a brutally bad call. It simply doesn't matter to this group; they shake it off and proceed to save the day.