GIVE CREDIT TO Dwight Roberson. When the Beavers were in oh-so-desperate need, he gave them the spark. Twice. Alas, his interception, which Ryan Katz and the offense turned into a quick score, and his critical pass break up to give the Beavs the ball and a chance to tie the score in the final minutes, both evaporated with an errant snap tumbling end over end, into and then out of the OSU end zone.
First, let’s be clear about something – Alex Linnenkohl is the best offensive lineman on the 2010 Beavers' team. He’s also a large part of the reason for Oregon State’s success the last three straight seasons.
But with OSU on their own 18-yard line and the Beavs trailing by seven with 4:18 on the clock, Linnenkohl didn’t realize Ryan Katz, in the shotgun, was changing the play. And his snap had some heat on it.
The result was a safety, putting TCU up 30-21 and effectively sealing the win. And the fantastic finish OSU fans sensed turned to simply a finish, and a bitter one at that.
Still, this game wasn’t lost on that play -- although TCU’s ensuing drive, where they ran out the clock, was a microcosm of the culprit.
TCU rushed for 280 yards. Oregon State, on the other hand, managed 71. And that, more than anything else, is why OSU fell to the No. 6 ranked team on the road.
Horned Frogs quarterback Andy Dalton killed the Beavs with TCU's take off on the zone read option – 15 rushes for 64 yards and too many third down conversions to count. TCU on the night converted 11-of-17 on third down total.
TCU was stacked to stop Jacquizz Rodgers and they did – so much so Mike Riley eventually went away from even trying. Quizz had but 18 carries (75 yards) on the night – not an insignificant amount but nowhere close to his usual workhorse-like load.
Ryan Katz showed some flashes, so much so it will come as a surprise that he completed only 9-of-25 for 159 yards. His two touchdown passes, to James Rodgers (30 yds) and Jordan Bishop (34 yds) were rock solid sweet.
But Oregon State managed only 255 yards total and they couldn’t stop TCU, who gained 278 of their 453 total yards on the ground.
The Beavs pulled off a perfectly executed fake punt early in the game. OSU had been practicing it all fall camp.
Punter Johnny Hekker and Jordan Poyer were the second quarter protagonists -- Poyer sold the gunner aspect to the corner covering him, and Hekker sold the punt. Then, as if one mind, they both dropped the charade at the same exact time, with Poyer peeling back for Hekker’s pass. The result was a 23-yard completion on fourth and one. Katz hit Bishop on the very next play to forge a 14-7 lead.
But that’s about when TCU began to turn on their running game. And it flowed freely the rest of the night.
Dwight Roberson was a bright spot, though. In addition to the critical pick and pass break up, he logged seven tackles, five of which were solo.
S Lance Mitchell also racked up 18 tackles, a career-high and tied for eighth on OSU’s all-time single game list. His pick on TCU’s opening drive also set up Oregon State’s first score. Suaesi Tuimaunei also had a fine effort in the loss, with 14 tackles.
If you’re a glass half empty sort, tonight you’ll rue the mistakes, inability to stop the run, some missed tackles and a few Katz deep balls that were oh-so-close incompletions.
But if you’re the half full type, you’ll note that Oregon State, on the road, had the No. 6 team in the land nervous as hell on a night Quizz was held well in check. And with that knowledge comes an inescapable conclusion – the Beavs are more than capable of making a deep, deep run this year.