FROM CORVALLIS -- As we do after each game, we pass along our capsulated recap of what we saw, this one a 19-6 WSU loss to Oregon State. Read on.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — Hard to pick one from that defensive struggle, but we'll go with OSU receiver Markus Wheaton. He caught nine passes for 95 yards and OSU's first touchdown, also making some critical catches on the Beavers' final scoring drive to help his team put the game away.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — Hmm, let's see. How about the guy with three interceptions? Jordan Poyer was aggressive in man coverage all game, jumping routes and wreaking havoc on WSU quarterbacks all game. He also blew up a screen pass early in the game and had a nice punt return, too. He just might win Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. Though his teammate, Scott Crichton, chipped in with three sacks, too.
STAT OF THE GAME — If you're wondering why it feels like WSU allowed fewer yards than the 370 the Beavers finished with, here's why — OSU ran 82 offensive plays. The Cougars ran 51. That is a massive, massive difference, and the time of possession — 39:15 to 20:45 — helps tell the story of just how bad WSU's offense was today.
PLAY OF THE GAME — It wasn't really the turning point — that came on OSU's previous offensive possession — but Jordan Poyer's third interception, the one off Jeff Tuel late in the fourth quarter, really knid of summed this day up for WSU.
WHAT WE LEARNED — The Air Raid can't be installed over night. Or over six games, apparently. OSU deserves credit for confusing the Cougars with their blitzes and coverages, and the Beavers are always one of the more physical defenses in the conference. But WSU will surely tell you that 227 yards of total offense, against anybody, simply isn't good enough. And that's what the Cougars are right now — they can hang around and make plays here and there to keep themselves in games, but they just haven't taken the necessary step forward to become a bowl team yet. It's hard to imagine them breaking that 8-year drought now, not at 2-4 and with their most winnable game (Colorado) in the loss column. The Beavers were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North, and have proven us media bozos wrong by starting 4-0. The Cougars, however, are stuck in the same place they've been the last four seasons. And now there's a quarterback controversy to boot. Lots to figure out before what appears to be a winnable game next week against California.
NEXT UP — A home game, at 7:30 p.m., against California, which leads No. 23 UCLA 23-14 as I type this.