Beavers prove they have a backup plan

Even with starting tailback Yvenson Bernard being added to the list of injured offensive players during Saturday's game, Oregon State continued to find ways to grind out another conference win.

Led by another stellar performance by the defense and a seldom used running back in Matt Sieverson, the Beavers shut down an improving Stanford squad, 23-6, on homecoming weekend at Reser Stadium.

"We are playing without a lot of guys that can be contributing, and guys stepped up tonight," coach Mike Riley said. "Ryan Pohl played hard and looked great, and Matt and Clinton (Polk) went out there and made some plays. I thought they did a really nice job with Yvenson out."

OSU continued its first-quarter dominance by striking first, going 72 yards on a five-play drive highlighted by a big 51-yard run by freshman wideout James Rodgers. Tight end Howard Croom got the Beavers on the scoreboard with a 2-yard touchdown reception by quarterback Sean Canfield.

The momentum carried into the next quarter as Bernard drove Oregon State deep into Stanford territory. Although the senior would score from 2 yards out to give OSU a commanding 14-0 lead, an injured shoulder on the drive prevented him from playing in the second half.

"It was big for us to get as many rushing yards as we did," said Canfield, who was 14-of-21 passing for 142 yards and a touchdown. "It wasn't the cleanest game for us, and Yvenson getting hurt was unexpected, but we got guys that stepped up and made plays."

A couple Cardinal field goals late in the half cut the Beaver lead to eight, but the OSU defense denied them from putting any more points on the board. Their only chance to get back into the game was taken away late in the third quarter when Oregon State linebacker Derrick Doggett blocked a crucial field goal that would have cut the lead to one possession.

Senior kicker Alexis Serna added three field goals in the second half to put the game out of reach for OSU. The Beaver defense sacked Cardinal quarterback Tavita Pritchard four times, had two interceptions and forced a pair of fumbles.

"The defense was outstanding, unbelievable numbers in the rushing defense," Riley said. "It's rare that you can lose a game by only giving up that many yards, and then we won the turnover battle, which is how Stanford has been winning their games."

WITH BERNARD OUT, Sieverson and senior Clinton Polk took over the workload running the football in the second half. The senior from Bend finished the night with 68 yards on 16 carries, while Polk, who backed up Bernard last season, grinded out 27 yards on eight carries. It was a comeback game for Polk, who has rarely seen the field this season after missing the majority of fall camp with academic issues.

RODGERS PLAYED A VITAL ROLE in the offense early in the game, and used his stellar speed to put the Beavers in great field goal position. He finished the night with 60 yards rushing on three carries and returned a kick for another 18. Another true freshman, Darrell Catchings, was also active in the OSU offense. Despite looking shaky at times catching the football, he led the team with six receptions for 51 yards.

LIKE CANFIELD, Alexis Serna had another great all-around game punting and kicking the football. He put Stanford in bad field position most of the game and knocked two punts inside the 20-yard line. When the offense struggled to find the end zone in the second half, Serna was there to give OSU points when they needed it.

BY ALLOWING A MERE 5 yards rushing, the Beaver defense might be in the top position again after this week as the No. 1 team in the nation against the run. With no room to move the football on the ground, Stanford was forced to throw down field numerous times, and cornerbacks Brandon Hughes and Tim Clark had an impressive outing, holding the Cardinal to under 200 yards through the air. Doggett's blocked field goal was just one of his individual accomplishments, as he also returned an interception 37 yards, forced a fumble, and had seven tackles.

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