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Vince Grippi’s Keys to the WSU-OSU Game

What went right

It’s difficult to find much in this category for WSU from Saturday night, but senior Isiah Barton did return Oregon State’s nine kickoffs for 228 yards. His best return was his last, a 55-yarder that put the Cougars at the OSU 36. In what can only be described as typical for this game, Marshall Lobbestael’s pass was intercepted on the next play.

What went wrong

The defense couldn’t get off the field, in part because quarterback Sean Mannion picked them apart, hitting 76.5 percent of his passes. He had all the time he needed as OSU’s offensive line, made up of a majority of former walk-ons, picked up every one of WSU’s twists, stunts and blitzes. Mannion was hardly touched. Add in freshman Malcolm Agnew’s 103 rushing yards and OSU’s offense dominated.

Turning point

Although Oregon State was scoring seemingly at will, WSU was matching the Beavers through much of the first half. Trailing 21-14 with a couple of minutes left in the half, Jeff Tuel dropped to throw on a third-and-6 from his 38. Freshman Scott Crichton came off the edge and got a hand on the quarterback, jarring the ball loose. OSU recovered. Before halftime, the Beavers had kicked a field goal and knocked Tuel from the game.

Difference makers

Though Mannion had gaudy stats – 26 of 34 for 376 yards and four touchdowns – those numbers were built through a combination of his accuracy, the time the offensive line gave him and the efficiency of his receivers. Junior Markus Wheaton ran free all night, catching five passes for 99 yards and helping OSU convert eight of its first nine third downs.

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