Another late-season march to the postseason has begun for the Oregon State football team.
The Beavers have won two straight Pacific-10 Conference games, and are coming off a dominating 31-14 road victory against then No. 23-ranked California on Saturday.
OSU (6-3, 4-2) became bowl eligible with three games left in the season. Two of the lower ranked conference teams are up next to build momentum against before the Civil War.
The Beavers play their final home game of the season Saturday against Washington (3-6, 2-4), and open as 10-point favorites.
"We don't have any magic for it," coach Mike Riley said Sunday night of the late-season success. "The one thing we try to do, and if it's real or not I'm not sure, we try to live in the moment and enjoy the game. Then we work harder to get better the next week."
The Beavers, who started the season as a young team, put together a complete game against the Golden Bears. The defense played its best game and the offense adapted without star running back Jacquizz Rodgers having his usual productive game.
The Beavers are one game back of leader Oregon, and tied for fourth in the conference with Southern California. With the way the Beavers are playing and some help, there's an outside shot at the top.
"We have three games left and a lot can still happen," quarterback Sean Canfield said.
Riley considers his program about development, which is why he plans for his players to improve as the season goes on.
The Beavers decided to go with younger players this season, but Riley considers this one of his more talented teams.
"I appreciate the kids," Riley said. "This doesn't happen if they don't want to get better and work hard. We just put them in the best situation to succeed. Maybe we find out more what guys can do and our coaches figure out how to use them best."
Going young in the past meant a tough rebuilding season, and Riley expected that before the first game. However, the common early-season blowouts didn't occur and the Beavers nearly won each of the games they lost.
Now he'll put his talent against anyone and he feels the Beavers should be competitive and win more often than not.
"This team was more of a mystery to me than in the past," Riley said. "We are playing so many new guys and guys who didn't redshirt more than than normal. A reason for (our success) is we are getting some good play from younger guys now."
Riley's positive vibe comes from working with the team the whole season, but it really hit him after the Cal game.
He watched his offense move the ball efficiently with the passing game when there was nothing on the ground.
And the development of dependable secondary receivers such as Damola Adeniji and Joe Halahuni makes him feel the offense hasn't reached its potential yet.
"The more weapons you have the better off you are," Riley said. "It really strengthens our offense to utilize them and spread the ball around."
The defense had eight new starters before the season, but is now playing with an edge.
Players said after the game they have reached the trust and experience playing together that is needed to win.
"We played with a lot of energy defensively," Riley said. "I thought it was really good team defense, and it was fun to watch."
The Beavers came out of the Cal game with some minor injuries, but nothing that will keep anyone out of practice much, if at all.
Defensive tackle Brennan Olander missed the second half with back spasams, Adeniji bruised a thigh, cornerback Brandon Hardin dislocated a finger and cornerback James Dockery sprained an ankle.