Beavers can't slow down Arizona's offense

2009-09-26T21:40:00Z Beavers can't slow down Arizona's offenseBy Kevin Hampton, Gazette-Times reporter Corvallis Gazette Times
September 26, 2009 9:40 pm  • 

CORVALLIS - This was a game the Oregon State defense was looking forward to playing.

After facing spread passing teams in the first three games, the Beavers were looking for a smashmouth game and Arizona seemed to fit the bill with a strong run game.

Not only that, but UA quarterback Nick Foles was making his first start of the season. On the road. In Reser Stadium.

So what happens? Arizona throws the ball all over the field against the Beavers and leaves Corvallis with a 37-32 Pacific-10 Conference win.

Foles completed 25 of 34 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. It seemed as if he had receivers running open on every pass play.

"Our defense has to take responsibility and come out and play better. Bottom line," safety Lance Mitchell said. "Personally, I think me and the secondary, we have to stay responsible with our eyes and stuff like that and stay disciplined in the back half of the defense and make plays."

It was another tough game against the pass for the Beavers, who thought they were going to get a break from constant pass defense after games against Portland State, UNLV and Cincinnati.

Instead, it was a disheartening performance against a team the Beavers figured to fare well against, particularly at home.

The defensive shortcomings were made all the more glaring by the fact that the Beavers managed to put 32 points on the scoreboard.

"Us being young, we've got to show up to play every week," Mitchell said. "I think as a secondary we have to play better. We have to learn on the run and make stuff happen. We just have to play disciplined with our eyes and come to play."

Cornerback James Dockery said he was not surprised that Foles had the ability to throw the ball effectively.

"Not really," Dockery said. "You get a Pac-10 scholarship offer to play quarterback, you can throw the ball. He did a good job of obviously knowing what defenses we were in and checking out at the line and making the throws."

The Beavers' defensive front struggled to get to Foles and the defensive backs struggled in coverage.

The Beavers were flagged for pass interference a couple times.

Two came on Arizona's first drive. The Wildcats had a third-and-goal at the OSU 4 and Foles' pass was incomplete, but Dockery was flagged. The Wildcats scored two plays later.

"At corner we've got to have a short memory because sometimes that stuff happens," Dockery said. "Unfortunately we had a big one early in the game on third down when we could have got off the field and next play they come back and score. Sometimes you just can't do anything about that. The next play you just have to stay focused and make a better play."

The Beavers didn't sack Foles. The lack of sacks has been an ongoing issue for the defense, although the line does get decent pressure at times.

Dockery and Mitchell said pass coverage and defensive line pressure have to work hand-in-hand.

"I don't want to point any fingers, so I'm just going to say from the secondary's standpoint we have to have tighter coverage," Dockery said. "The tighter we are on our man, the longer the D-line has a chance to get to the quarterback. If we're soft in coverage, any quarterback in our conference is going to be able to get the ball off quick."

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