Beavs step up, add drama, in win over ASU

THIS TIME, the defensive front seven brought pressure and big stops. This time, Jacquizz Rodgers busted a long one to the house. This time, the secondary was going to stop ‘em when it mattered most. This time, Ryan Katz was going to leave a winning imprint on the game. But say this for the Beavs as well -- this time, they created some extra drama at the end.

The Beavs and their fans were no doubt feeling pretty good. They had bowed up at the critical junctures on both offense and defense, crafting a comfortable 11-point lead with about three minutes left in the game. Game over, right?

ASU blocked a punt, zipped 21 yards on the next play for a score and made the 2-point conversion. Then they forced an OSU three and out and got the ball back, with time enough, trailing by only a field goal at 31-28.

Would all that good black and orange work go for naught? And there was a lot of good work done by the Beavs in this one.

The defensive line got stronger as the game went along, and OSU welcomed an old friend back to the fold – the sack.

OSU sacked ASU's quarterback six times. The previous three games, OSU had a combined two sacks.

Stephen Paea was seen early and often, with two sacks, six tackles, a pass break up and a forced fumble. Fellow DT Brennan Olander had another two sacks. And the d-end triumvirate of Dominic Glover, Taylor Henry and Gabe Miller made their presence felt -- even when they didn't get the sack, they hurried ASU's quarterback enough to produce an incompletion.

There was even a goal-line stand at the end of the third quarter that reminded the Beaver Faithful of years past. It was a collective effort by the D but linebacker Keith Pankey was the star, with two crushing hits. Pankey notched a game-high 15 tackles, and Cameron Collins added another 10.

On that drive, ASU ran six plays from inside the OSU 5-yard line, plus a seventh from the 8-yard line. ASU was turned away from the goal line on every one, and settled for a field goal.

And that stand invigorated everyone, including Jacquizz Rodgers. On the first play from scrimmage following the stand, Quizz went 74 yards, his longest run ever. But the stop and go moves he displayed on the way to the end zone have been seen before. He finished with 145 yards on 24 carries.

Before Quizz went long, Ryan Katz and the OSU receivers moved the chains. Aaron Nichols (61 yards, tied for career best) made some superb grabs, as did Jordan Bishop, who led the Beavs with 86 receiving yards. With James Rodgers held out against ASU and coming off a concussion, Markus Wheaton stepped up and so did Jordan Poyer, with each also adding solid work in the return game for good measure.

Katz threw for 260 yards – that's more than half the 460 yards he had tallied over the first three games combined. The Beavs went 4-for-4 on red zone scoring chances. And the first year starting QB still hasn't thrown a pick.

And what about that Beaver secondary, an object of scorn by some fans after the BSU loss? Lance Mitchell made his second pick of the season and fifth of his career in the fourth quarter. James Dockery, all he did was pilfer two interceptions. And ASU? They barely made it above 200 yards passing with 203 hashes.

AND STILL, IT almost went by the wayside. But OSU's defense stood up again, their sixth sack putting Steven Threet and ASU on their own 2-yard line. Dockery's pick then sealed it.

This Beaver win had a little bit of everything. Including a little extra drama, right to the end.