“Our dedication and hard work is paying off,” Markus Wheaton, the star wide receiver humbly stated after the game. The reward was a 6-0 start to the season, the first time since 1907, making the Oregon State Beavers bowl eligible and No. 7 in the BCS poll.
The Utah Utes and Oregon State Beavers struggled on offense. The difference in this hard fought chess match was the 4 turnovers, 2 of those interceptions and the ability to capitalize when in scoring position.
Cody Vaz did not have the outstanding game he did last week, but threw for 174 yards with 0 interceptions and 0 sacks. The offensive line protected the quarterback and pushed through the Utes physical defensive front, allowing Storm Woods to follow his blockers, scoring the team’s 3 touchdowns with 17 carries and 46 yards.
Every time Utah got their offense rolling, the Beavers defense made big plays. "If they need 100 (turnovers) we'll give them 100," defensive lineman Dylan Wynn said. "So it definitely felt good we were able to give them something." They also held the Utes run game to 68 yards and only allowed freshman quarterback, Travis Wilson, to throw 172 yards and a touchdown. The way this defense is shaping up, Mark Banker could be defensive coordinator of the year, who Mike Riley deemed as a “very dedicated and good football coach.”
"I think this team has found a way to pick each other up," Riley said. "That's fine, I guess. But it would be nice to put it all together." He did mention that it was a “good sign of mental toughness to finish it out and win the game.” Riley credits his whole team for the win and even though Sean Mannion is looking to be back on the field next week, he felt Vaz played the “most productive and poised” game he had seen, with a “big time drive to win the game.”
Under the radar because of Wheaton and Cooks star performances, Kevin Cummings put himself in the spotlight, grabbing two big time catches to help Vaz and his team power through Utah’s defense. “I gotta do that, make plays like Jordan [Poyer],” Cummings said. “Eventually my time will come, I gotta be ready.” Being the third wide receiver, Cummings has not seen much of the ball this season, but has been staying ready, waiting for his opportunity when the defense concentrates on Wheaton, creating a diversion. These types of plays will open up as the season progresses, especially with Mannion back to work.
When asked about how it feels to be 6-0, the players and coaches were happy, but “nobody is satisfied,” Cummings said. The team is already thinking about the next game. Riley and the Beavers will now study Washington, with a much improved defense for another Pac-12 battle.
“The sky is the limit,” Wheaton enthused. “We want the best bowl game we can get and were shooting as high as we can.”