A rally squad member sprinted past one of the end zones holding an Oregon State flag aloft after a late score by the Beavers on Saturday night.
There was no one left to cheer the moment except the OSU marching band.
Fans had abandoned the Reser Stadium ship in droves during halftime, leaving a smattering to hold on until the final moments of the Beavers’ 69-27 Pac-12 loss to Washington.
After the game, coach Mike Riley made his way to the media room for interviews. No players showed up to talk.
There was nothing typical about the blowout. On senior night, in front of a home crowd with plenty of incentive, the Beavers put together one of the poorest performances in recent memory.
Washington players were pumped from the start, dancing to tunes while the Beavers seemed to lack urgency and interest.
The UW snowball started with a big kickoff return and kept rolling.
“Everything about it is really disappointing,” Riley said. “We obviously weren't prepared to play.
“(We) didn’t play from the very outset of the game. The special teams part, our offense, our defense. We got outplayed in all those areas right from the very first play.”
The Huskies said after the game that their emotion was genuine.
They were excited to play and showed it on the sidelines when the music played.
Meanwhile, the Beavers seemed disengaged after three straight losses.
“I don’t know that jumping and dancing around is necessarily the key part of it, it’s just that they played better, way better than we did (Saturday),” Riley said.
“Lots of parts were missing. Whether it was the emotion of playing the game, obviously we missed them all. We were not on the right edge of any of that stuff.”
Practices seemed to go well during the week, so OSU’s play was a surprise to Riley and his staff.
“This one really came out of the blue,” he said. “I’m not anxious to, but I’m anxious to look at it on film.”
The Huskies shredded OSU with the run game.
The Beavers were all too aware of Bishop Sankey and his ability, but failed miserably in their attempts at slowing him. Sankey tore through OSU for 179 yards on 23 carries and three scores. Most of his damage was done by halftime.
Then his teammates stepped in. Deontae Cooper ran for 166 yards and two scores on 11 attempts and Dwayne Washington had 141 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
They all had big plays in the run game. Sankey had a 48-yard run, Cooper escaped for runs of 68 and 70 yards in back-to-back drives and Washington had a 71-yard score.
It all added up to 530 total rushing yards for UW.
“That is a crazy number,” Riley said. “It’s not a secret that they’re a very good running team.”
Riley said the Huskies did not change up anything on offense to catch the Beavers by surprise.
“Pretty much with that formation or that personnel group that they had, that’s what they do. They just executed very, very well,” he said.
“I don’t know for sure that we saw anything that was different than they’ve been doing.”
The Beavers could not counter on offense.
Quarterback Sean Mannion struggled for the third straight game, throwing three interceptions, one of which was returned 80 yards for a touchdown. He completed 20 of 41 passes for 229 yards and a score.
Mannion was sacked three times and could not pull himself out of the downward spiral that started against Stanford.
Cody Vaz stepped in and completed 6 of 8 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
It’s up to Riley and his staff to find a way to pull the team out of the nosedive.
It will be difficult. The Beavers have a short week before going to Oregon for the Civil War game on Friday.
A loss would mean a 6-6 record, a finish receiver Brandin Cooks said could not happen following last week’s defeat at Arizona State.
“I think they’ve been good responders all year. Good guys to practice. I think they’ll come to work on (today) and get ready to play,” Riley said.
“It is a tough week to have a short week, but that’s exactly what it is, so we’ve got to get going (today) with getting ready to play.”