Beavers pass the Bears to secure bowl eligibility

2009-11-08T00:00:00Z Beavers pass the Bears to secure bowl eligibilityBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

BERKELEY, Calif. - Winning in Memorial Stadium has become so much the norm for the Oregon State Beavers that the postgame celebration wasn't a wild one like in the past.

But don't be fooled. Some significant developments occurred for the OSU football team Saturday night.

The Beavers defeated No. 23 California 31-14 in a Pacific-10 Conference game before a crowd of 56,496 to become bowl eligible.

The victory was the fifth straight at Cal. And it moved the Beavers (6-3, 4-2) up the conference standings into a tie for fourth place with Southern California, a game back of Oregon in first place.

"I'm proud of our team," coach Mike Riley said. "They've focused and played hard in every game. I think we have gotten better in a lot of ways. If we can keep doing that, who knows what can happen."

The Beavers put together their most complete game of the season against a quality team that was on a three-game winning streak.

And Cal usually wins at home. In its last 37 home games there are seven losses: all to OSU or USC.

The Beavers led from start to finish and the Bears (6-3, 3-3) never threatened to take the lead.

Quarterback Sean Canfield continued his string of stellar games. He completed 29 of 39 for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Canfield scored another on a 1-yard sneak.

"There's something about Berkeley," Canfield said. "I love playing here. I love the atmosphere in a historic stadium. For whatever reason, the Beavers win here."

His big game was needed since Cal stopped OSU's running game. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers had his worst outing of the season.

Rodgers ran for 67 yards on 25 carries. He lost 11 yards on various runs. A big chunk of his numbers came on a 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter when the outcome was already decided.

"They did a nice job defending us in the running game," Riley said. "That's why you need to do something else."

Wide receiver James Rodgers contributed 111 yards of offense and a receiving touchdown, but it was the supporting cast that made a difference.

Tight end Joe Halahuni had six receptions for 128 yards. Jordan Bishop caught a 3-yard touchdown pass. Damola Adeniji caught five high-pressure balls for 87 yards.

"It was great to see other guys contribute," Canfield said. "They've been coming along all season. Those two guys, Damola and Joe, are accounting for a lot on offense."

The defense performed just like the coaches scripted. Cal was held to 39 rushing yards. It didn't help the Bears that star running back Jahvid Best left the game in the second quarter with a concussion.

A pass rush emerged since Cal was in frequent passing situations. Gabe Miller and Keaton Kristick registered sacks.

"Everybody did their job," safety Cameron Collins said. "We jelled as a team and took care of our responsibilities."

The Beavers started Miller and Josh LaGrone at the defensive ends, and it improved the overall defense.

Special teams were sound in all areas. The only blip was a missed 50-yard field goal that was plenty long enough.

"This game was one of those with all the parts, and I loved that," Riley said. "It appeared to me that our offense, defense and special teams played nice roles in this game and all contributed to the win."

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

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