Las Vegas bowl matchup has OSU's interest

2009-12-07T23:00:00Z Las Vegas bowl matchup has OSU's interestBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

Oregon State's football players didn't gather and sit around waiting for the Las Vegas Bowl announcement on Sunday.

Coach Mike Riley let them go their own way after a brief meeting after the Civil War defeat. They were getting ready for this week's finals before even thinking about a bowl game.

They knew they were headed for one, and realized it wasn't going to be anywhere near as glamorous as the Rose Bowl they hoped to be in this season.

As it turned out, the No. 16-ranked Beavers (8-4) drew one of their most challenging opponents in recent postseason history with No. 15 Brigham Young (10-2).

"It's a really good matchup," senior receiver Damola Adeniji said. "After a loss like the one we went through, that's nice to know that's not how we are going to end our season."

The Beavers are 8-4 in NCAA sanctioned bowl games and have the nation's second-longest active winning streak at five games.

This will be a school record fourth consecutive bowl trip. Coach Mike Riley is undefeated in bowl games at 5-0 with the Beavers and 3-0 as an offensive coordinator at Southern California.

OSU's win streak started in 2003 with a 55-14 victory over New Mexico in the Las Vegas Bowl.

To extend the streak, the Beavers must emotionally bounce back from Thursday's four-point loss to Oregon that knocked them out of the Rose Bowl. The latest line opened with OSU as 2½-point favorites.

"I know coach Riley will have them ready to go," Las Vegas Bowl executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. "Having Mike Riley in the game is wonderful.

"Mike Riley is an all-time great guy."

Adeniji ignored what people were saying about where the team could end up after the loss. He felt it was too confusing and he was still upset about the Oregon game to get involved in speculation.

"Up until a little while ago it was hard to move on," Adeniji said moments after finding out the postseason destination.

"Now I'm ready to finish school, keep working out and finish the season strong."

Receiver Casey Kjos heard rumors about what bowl game wanted the Beavers, but just watched the bowl selection show on Sunday to find out and read the Internet for more information.

Position coaches called the players soon after the announcement to give them updates and tell them about a team meeting Sunday night.

"Most of the time we've been trying to relax," Kjos said of the aftermath of the Civil War. "We're trying to come down from the disappointment of the loss, and going to a bowl game helps."

For most of the players this will be their first real trip to Las Vegas. They played at UNLV this season but just went in, won the game and quickly left.

The Beavers will arrive in town Dec. 19, four days before the game. Practice and various bowl activities will keep them busy.

"The bowl game is a bonus," Adeniji said. "They are supposed to be fun. It will be fun to play one more game. It will be fun to experience what Vegas is, and what goes on.

But what about the night life distractions of Sin City?

"For some teams it will be a distraction," Adeniji said. "It can be a distraction if you let it be. Coach Riley keeps us focused, so that won't be a problem."

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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