WITH THE BEAVERS one win away from going to their first Rose Bowl in 44 years the Rose Bowl talk has…
BEAVS WIN THRILLER, EYE CIVIL WAR, ROSES
On the inside run, Ryan McCants bulled his way for 54 tough yards inside the tackles on the night -- and the Beavs needed every one of them against a fast, hard hitting Arizona defense.
And then there was Sammie Stroughter. And Sean Canfield.
Huge down the stretch, each one of Stroughter's grabs seemingly topped his last. He finished with a game high 116 receiving yards on five catches.
Canfield struggled to find consistency in the face of an at times withering UA pass rush but heated up late and in the end, overcame everything Arizona threw at him. And his stat line was solid -- 20-32 for 224 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Oregon State defense held UA to less than 300 yards of total offense -- a good defensive night in anyone's book. They also gave up two long drives and more rushing yards than in recent memory -- but shut down Arizona when it counted most -- and guys like DE Victor Butler, LB Bryant Cornell, S Greg Laybourn, DE Slade Norris and others all made critical stops at critical times.
THE BEAVERS OVERCAME all kinds of adversity in this one -- an extra large slice of it early when Quizz joined starting QB Lyle Moevao (DNS, shoulder) on the sidelines for the rest of the night.
And Arizona seized what looked to be the game's decisive momentum early in the fourth quarter with the score knotted at 10-10. At midfield, the Beavs went for it on fourth and one but as was the theme most of the night, Arizona won the battle in the trenches. The Wildcats then promptly punched the ball downfield to take a 17-10 lead.
James Rodgers went over the 100-yard rushing mark on the next drive. A drop of a sure touchdown bomb with time running down became an instant afterthought when Stroughter on the next play took a short pass over the middle and accelerated down the heart of the field for a 34 yard gain. That set up another clutch Canfield throw, this one a third and rollout touchdown pass to Stroughter from the 7-yard line.
But Justin Kahut, who had drilled a 47-yarder to knot the score 3-3 at halftime, missed the extra point. Arizona claimed a first down and if they would have gotten one more, they would have run out the clock.
But Cornell, who arguably played the best game of his season against Arizona, and Victor Butler combined for a crunching hit to set up a third and long. Norris wrapped up the 'Zona ballcarrier while Dwight Roberson came flying across the turf to deliver a crunching hit -- just before Austin Hall and Brandon Hughes did.
The ensuing punt set up the late Beaver heroics, with Canfield first finding Jeremy Francis -- a key component in the passing game when Quizz went down and finished as the leading OSU receiver with seven grabs -- for a good gainer. Francis then took a short pass and made a heart stopping pitch, on what looked like a designed play, to James Rodgers who got out of bounds to stop the clock.
On the next play, Stroughter found single coverage. And Canfield found Stroughter. The result was the 47-yarder down the Arizona 7-yard line.
McCants stomped his way to the 2-yard line. The Beavs had time and with Kahut having just missed the extra point, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see the Beavs try to punch it in.
But Mike Riley did not hesitate.
Canfield took the next snap, moved to the middle of the field and took a knee for a loss, and then intentionally killed the clock with four seconds remaining. It was up to the Beavs' field goal kicker.
Enter Kahut, who drilled the 24-yarder high and deep, right down the middle and into the night, snuffing out Arizona's hopes like so much yesterday's news.
With the victory over Arizona, the Beavs moved to 8-3 on the season -- 7-1 in Pac-10 play -- and set up a Civil War contest in Corvallis that the whole of Beaver Nation (and all the Beaver State) will be talking about this coming week -- win it, and Oregon State goes to the Rose Bowl.
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