Courtesy: OSU Sports Information
CORVALLIS, Ore.– In what many have termed as the biggest non-conference home game in Oregon State football history, the Beavers’ defense put on a show that will be remembered for a very long time. The Beavers stymied No. 13 Wisconsin and Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball for much of the afternoon as OSU earned a 10-7 victory at Reser Stadium.
Wisconsin, in danger of being shut out for the first time since 1997, pieced together a 64-yard drive to get on the board with 1:31 to play. The drive was aided by a pass interference call on the Beavers, but the Badgers were in no position to turn down the free yardage. Wisconsin quarterback Danny O’Brien capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to bring Wisconsin back to within one score.
With no timeouts remaining, Wisconsin appeared to recover the onside kick. After a video review, however, it was determined that a Badger touched the ball prior to it traveling the required 10 yards. OSU killed the clock and Wisconsin’s 33-game regular season non-conference winning streak. The Beavers did it by controlling the ball and stuffing Ball and the Badgers. OSU held the ball for 35:35 while outgaining Wisconsin, 354-207. Ball finished with just 65 yards rushing as the Beavers did not allow him to break their outside containment. Ball also did not score a touchdown for the first time in 22 games.
The Beavers’ touchdown came on their first drive of the second half. After converting just 2-of-9 third downs in the first half, Oregon State had two crucial third down completions to sustain the drive. Sean Mannion connected with Markus Wheaton for 18 yards on a 3rd-and-7 from the OSU 17 yard line. After being flagged on a false start to force a 3rd-and-12, Mannion hit Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown strike. Cooks had six catches for 80 yards, while Wheaton led the way with eight catches for 87 yards. Wheaton now has 144 career catches which moves him into eighth place in school history.
The Beavers controlled play in the first half but only had a 43-yard second quarter field goal by Trevor Romaine to show for it. Oregon State ran 44 offensive plays to Wisconsin’s 24 and outgained the Badgers, 238-64. Wisconsin’s defense bent, but it didn’t break. The Beavers moved the ball into Wisconsin territory numerous times, only to fail to convert on a pair of fourth down tries and on a 40-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining in the half.
While the OSU offense effectively moved the ball, the defense made life miserable for Wisconsin quarterback Danny O’Brien and company. The Badgers had six drives in the first half. All six ended in punts and Wisconsin went three-and-out on four of them. Ball finished the first half with just 34 yards on eight carries.
Life didn’t improve much for O’Brien in the third quarter. After OSU scored to make it 10-0, Wisconsin had its best starting field position of the day at its own 42. Ball rushed twice for minus-2 yards, and O’Brien’s third down pass was intercepted by Ryan Murphy. Still down just 10-0, it looked as though the Badgers were given new life after a botched punt on the ensuing OSU possession.
Put in its toughest circumstance of the day, the Beaver defense made its own splash play to preserve the shutout. Wisconsin drove to the Oregon State 9 yard line, but Dylan Wynn blitzed O’Brien’s blind side and forced a fumble that was recovered by Scott Crichton. Wisconsin turned the ball over on downs twice in the fourth quarter before scoring its touchdown with 1:31 remaining.
Mannion finished with 276 yards passing, his 12th consecutive game with at least 200 yards. Linebacker D.J. Welch made seven tackles, including two for loss. Defensive backs Rashaad Reynolds and Tyrequek Zimmerman joined Welch with seven tackles to lead the team. Reynolds also had two pass break-ups.
After a bye week, the Beavers travel to UCLA on Sept. 22. Oregon State returns home to face Washington State on Saturday, Oct. 6.