There's nothing a defense likes better than to pull off a goal line stand.
Particularly when there's a shutout on the line.
To stuff an offense, hold it out of the end zone and send the players back to the sidelines without a point is the goal every time a defense finds itself backed up.
In the fourth quarter of OSU's 34-7 win over Portland State at Reser Stadium, the Beavers made their stand.
The Vikings had moved to the OSU 2-yard line, but a first-down pass fell incomplete and two runs picked up one yard. On fourth down, the Beavers harassed PSU quarterback Drew Hubel enough that his pass to Kalua Noa was off-target.
Although the shutout was lost late in the game, the stand was a big moment for the OSU defense, which is a mix of experience and first-year starters.
"Anytime you have a shutout for the defense it always looks good," OSU cornerback Tim Clark said. "When we get in our red zone and inside our 5, the defense takes it personal. You could see that two years ago at Cal. We don't like to give up points at all."
The game was a perfect learning opportunity for the Beavers. The offense got a lead early and put the game away just after halftime.
That allowed the defense some leeway. The Beavers are replacing defensive ends Victor Butler and Slade Norris and all four defensive backs.
Both areas were tested on Saturday. Portland State slings the ball around with its run-and-shoot offense, so the defensive backs were busy in coverage all game.
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The Vikings threw for 274 yards. The Beavers did not have an interception and gave up pass plays of 40, 35 and 20 yards.
"They definitely gave us a test," Clark said. "They're a spread team, so a spread team forces us to cover and forces us to tackle in space and they did that. They isolated us and got us on one-on-ones. They did give us a good look."
The Beavers did not have a sack. Norris and Butler were known for their ability to get to opposing quarterbacks.
Linebacker Keaton Kristick said the stat was a little misleading. The Beavers were able to pressure Hubel, but his quick throws kept them from actually taking him down.
"They had a lot of quick releases and they were just trying to test us with the quick passes, they really were," Kristick said. "We have a lot of good athletes on the defensive line. They were pressuring the quarterback all day and I think that really helped us in that we were going to attack them, they weren't going to attack us."
The Beavers were tough against the run. The Vikings did try to rush the ball, probing the OSU defense 25 times. There were no big plays and OSU held the Vikings to 77 yards on the ground.
"I was a little surprised they ran that much," Kristick said. "In the past they didn't really run too much. So to shut down the running game like that, I think it's a good start for our defense."
In the end, the game comes down to the points on the board.
The Beavers gave up seven. That's not bad for a learning experience.
"I feel real good about our defense," Clark said. "We've got a lot of young guys that're playing for the first time out there like starters and they did good. They've got confidence, you could tell, as the game continued on and we started playing the style of defense we like to play."