Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beavers blast Hawai'i



Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while Lyle Moevoa threw for three scores, as the Oregon State Beavers, playing their first home game in 300 days, pounded the Hawai'i Rainbows 45-7 Saturday.

Kealoha Pilare scored on a 16 yard run to put the Rainbows on top 7-0 in the first quarter. However, it wasn't long before Oregon State got untracked on both sides of the ball, turning the game into a rout.

The Beavers, after two missed fieldgoals, tied the game on Jacquizz Rodgers first touchdown run, from 3 yards out. Oregon State added a pair of 2nd quarter scores, as Moevao hit Shane Morales from 8 yards out and Sammie Stroughter for 15 yards, putting the Beavers up 21-7 at the half.

Jacquizz Rodgers bulled his way in from a yard out, Sean Sehnem, subbing for injured kicker Justin Kahut, booted a 32 yard fieldgoal, then James Rodgers took a Moevoa pass and ran 56 yards to the endzone, giving Oregon State a 38-7 lead after three. Moevoa wrapped up the scoring in the 4th with a 1 yard sneak, putting the finishing touches on the Beavers' first win of 2008.

Oregon State dominated on the stat sheet, as well as the scoreboard. The Beavers outgained Hawai'i 485 yards to 211, had the edge in plays 86-55 and first downs 28-14. Moevao completed 20 of 34 passes for 268 yards and three scores, while Justin Engstrom tossed two incompletions in a mop up appearance. Tyler Graunke completed 12 of 27 passes for the Rainbows for 118 yards plus two interceptions for Hawaii before leaving with an injured hand. Inoke Funaki, in relief of Graunke, completed 4 of 8 passes for 36 yards, with one interceptions. The Beavers also dominated the ground game, rushing 50 times for 217 yards, while holding the Rainbows to 57 yards rushing on 20 attempts. Jacquizz Rodgers got his 110 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries, while Ryan McCants carried the ball 14 times for 60 yards for Oregon State. Kealoha Pilares had 36 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries for Hawai'i.

One very bright and greatly improved part of the Beavers' effort was the kicking game. Kahut, who was banged up in the loss at Penn State, did kick three extra points, while backup kicker Sean Senhem added a fieldgoal and three extra points. Johnny Hekker, the Freshman punter who took a lot of heat after the Penn State game, punted twice for a 41 yard average and was loudly cheered by a Reser Stadium crowd of 45,059, the largest crowd for a non-conference game in stadium history.

"We needed to come out and play a good game" said Beaver Coach Mike Riley. "I thought the beautiful thing today was how our team responded after Hawai'i scored the first touchdown and we just kept going. I was proud of that and hopefully those are good lessons we built into the identity of this team, and they continue to do things like this." Oregon State Linebacker Bryant Cornell talked about the win, saying "This is exactly what we needed, and we did exactly what we needed to do. It’s a big boost of confidence. We knew we could do it, and we finally proved that today which is nice. We thought they would pass a lot, and they did, but in the first quarter they tried running the ball and got some yardage. But we rallied back and we adjusted to shut it down." Hawai'i Coach Greg McMackin gave the Beavers a lot of credit for shutting his team down, after the Rainbows had scored on their first possession. "First of all I would like to give Mike Riley, his staff, and his players full credit. I thought they played an excellent ballgame. I felt we were in the game through the first half, I thought we would come out with our kickers and our special teams. But our special teams got us in a hole; we had bad field position. We were down by 14 and I really thought we didn’t need to panic. In the first half we took it in and scored and held them. In the second half they controlled all three phases of the ballgame. We have to learn from this. As far as our future goes I still believe in my players and my staff. We are a little nicked up right now. We lost some running backs and offensive linemen. But we have a week to heal up and then we begin in the WAC. Our goals are still the same as they have been. We want to win the WAC and win the bowl game. We need to learn from this ballgame, because like I said, we got beat in all three phases of the game and I give Oregon State full credit for doing that." The Beavers lead the all-time series 5-3. It was the Rainbows' first-ever visit to Reser Stadium.

After a week off, Oregon State will have their new-found confidence tested in a big way, as they host #1 ranked USC on September 25th, before traveling to #22 Utah on October 2nd. The USC game can be seen on ESPN and the Utah game can be seen on Versus, with both games beginning at 8:00p.m. Central Time. Streaming audio of all Beavers games can be heard at http://www.kpam.com.



James Rodgers leaves defenders behind on the way to a 56 yard catch and run touchdown, during the second half of Oregon State's 45-7 victory over Hawai'i Saturday. Picture courtesy Associated Press.

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