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Defense returns, and Beavers handle Hawaii

Mannion, Cooks shine on offense in Oregon State's 33-14 victory


CORVALLIS -- There was plenty of pass offense -- 451 yards and four touchdowns worth -- in Oregon State's 33-14 victory over Hawaii Saturday night at Reser Stadium.

But make no mistake, the key to victory was the Beavers' defensive performance.

A week after the ultimate egg-laying in a 49-46 loss to FCS power Eastern Washington, OSU's defense appeared a reasonable facsimile of the one that was among the Pac-12's best a year ago.

Hawaii finished with one offensive touchdown, 15 first downs and 239 yards total offense -- 55 of the yards coming on a meaningless possession in the game's final minute.

"I was really proud of the way the defense played," said coach Mike Riley, whose Beavers improved to 1-1. "We did a nice job. We tackled a lot better, we lined up better, we covered better. It was a vast improvement from a week ago. Good work by the coaches; good playing by the kids."

Oregon State's defense was particularly effective after halftime, blanking the Warriors (0-2) and holding them to no first downs and nine yards total offense in the decisive third quarter in which the Beavers broke loose from a 14-14 tie to forge a 28-14 lead.

"Everyone was yelling, getting on everyone to pick it up at halftime," said OSU defensive end Scott Crichton, who had four tackles and 1 1/2 sacks. "We needed to pick up the tempo. The effort needed to be better, and we needed to execute our assignments. We had to play at a better level."

After yielding six touchdowns and allowing Eastern Washington to score on nine of 10 possessions in the opener, Oregon State's defense gave up only a second-quarter TD Saturday. Hawaii's other score came on a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Julian Gener earlier in the quarter.

"Our defense played outstanding," said OSU quarterback Sean Mannion, who completed 31 of 43 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns. "We practice against them every day. We know how good they are. They showed it today. I gave (Hawaii) seven points, and other than that (the OSU defenders) gave up seven."

Mannion, who threw for 422 yards and three TDs against Eastern Washington, had another big day against a Hawaii defense that was considerably better than that of the Eagles.

"The guy's on fire right now," OSU receiver Brandin Cooks said. "Don't expect anything less. I plan on Mannion keeping that going."

"Another big-time percentage night, with good yards per completion," Riley said. "Sean was really good."

So was Cooks after a slow start. The junior receiver, who caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, had only one reception for six yards until late in the second quarter, when he caught balls on consecutive plays. He finished with seven catches for 92 yards and a pair of scores.

"We have to get the run going early," Cooks said. "Coach Riley knew what he was doing. He picked the right time to start getting me involved in the game. Once he did, that's when things started to click."

Quarterbacks Mannion and Cody Vaz combined to throw for 451 yards, but the Beavers managed only 57 yards on the ground -- 50 of them on 17 carries by Storm Woods.

"We're not running the ball very well," Riley said. "We have to get better than that. We weren't productive enough."

Mannion completed 17 of 23 passes for 184 yards and two scores in the first half, but Oregon State's run game was dormant. The Beavers had only 18 yards rushing in the half. Hawaii managed only seven first downs and 128 yards total offense but still went into intermission in a 14-14 deadlock.

Oregon State's defense forced a Hawaii punt to open the game; then the Beavers' offense struck quickly. After a pass-interference call on a bomb to Cooks gave them the ball on the OSU 49, Woods took a screen pass 48 yards to the Hawaii 3-yard line. On the next play, Mannion found sophomore tight end Kellen Clute in the end zone for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead 4 1/2 minutes into the game.

Oregon State then went into grind-it-out mode, going 69 yards in 15 plays. Richard Mullaney's 19-yard touchdown grab made it 14-0 Beavers with 14:06 to play in the second quarter.

The Beavers seemed in control until an ill-advised throw on a screen pass by Mannion was intercepted by Gener for a pick-six early in the second quarter. From that point, the Beavers were mostly on their heels through the rest of the half. After an OSU three-and-out and a punt, Hawaii kicked its offense into gear for the only time in the game, moving 80 yards in nine plays. Taylor Graham's 15-yard outside screen pass to tight end Clark Evans provided the touchdown to tie the score at 14-14 with 4:30 left before halftime.

"We initiated their momentum with that interception touchdown," Riley said. "Then they made a nice drive and all of a sudden, everybody gets nervous again. That's what was happening."

"We were pretty sloppy offensively (in the second quarter)," Mannion said. "Our pace was kind of lackluster. I made a mistake on that interception. We left a lot of plays out there."

There was plenty of emotion in the Oregon State locker room at halftime.

"It wasn't the coaches, it was mainly the players, to be honest," Cooks said.

"Everyone was saying, 'We're better than what we're showing,' " Mannion said. "That's 100 percent true. Our whole offense and defense had room to improve. We made strides the second half."

Oregon State came out smoking on the first possession of the second half, moving 69 yards in nine plays. Mannion's third TD pass of the game -- an 8-yard strike to Cooks -- pushed the Beavers in front 21-14 with 10:18 remaining in the third quarter.

After a Hawaii three-and-out, Oregon State moved 73 yards in nine plays, Mannion again connecting with Cooks for eight yards and a TD to make it 28-14 with 5:36 left in the quarter.

Trevor Romaine booted a 34-yard field goal to extend OSU's lead to 31-14 with 7:39 to play, and a safety provided the final points seconds later.

What turned things around in the second half?

"I wish I could tell you," Hawaii coach Norm Chow said. "Oregon State made some nice adjustments, and we did not take advantage of opportunities we had in the third quarter. It just kind of steamrolled from there."

Against Eastern Washington, "the whole defense didn't play up to our expectations," Crichton said. "We had to get better during practice, and that's what we did. We showed it on the field tonight. Everything was flowing; everyone was feeding off each other."

"The defense played great," Cooks said. "They did what I expected from them coming off last week. I knew they were going to step up and help the offense out and bring out the 'W.' "

"We all came together," cornerback Rashaad Reynolds said. "Guys talked with each other (at halftime) and told each other we were going to come out the second half and play our hearts out."

Mannion was asked if the victory provided a boost of confidence for the Beavers after the loss in the opener.

"We've always been a confident group," he said. "Everyone has confidence in each other. But whenever you get your first win, it feels good -- especially after what happened last week. It was great to bounce right back with a win over a tough team like Hawaii. We had a great week of practice. Everyone moved on and looked to the next opponent."

Mannion was great, but the OSU defenders deserved their share of the spotlight.

"They looked like they were having fun, flying around, making plays," Riley said. "After having a real rough game a week ago, hopefully we can build on that."

NOTES: Oregon State ended the game without several regulars, including linebacker Michael Doctor (ankle), guard Roman Sapolu (foot) and guard/tackle Grant Enger (knee). "Michael will probably be out for a bit," Riley said. … In two games, Mannion is 68 for 86 (.788) passing for 794 yards and seven TDs with one interception. "Sean's the man," said receiver Kevin Cummings, who had two big catches for 54 yards in the second half. "He has gotten so much better over the years with decision-making, poise in the pocket and seeing the field." … Clute's touchdown catch was the first of his career. … Riley used the screen pass often to offset the Warriors' frequent blitz packages. "We knew it was coming," he said. "They really pressured SC (in a 30-13 loss in the season opener). Hawaii's defense is well-coached. They play hard, and they're pretty darn good. It's actually real good for us. That's what we're going to see all year." … The Beavers got their first turnover of the season with cornerback Steven Nelson's fourth-quarter interception.

Mannion has 38 career touchdown passes, placing him in a tie with Sean Canfield for fourth place on the Oregon State list. … Romaine has 33 career field goals, moving into sixth place on the OSU list. … Cooks moved ahead of Phil Ross into 10th place on the school career receiving list with 1,830 yards. Cooks is knocking on the door behind Roddy Tompkins (1,845, eighth place) and Steve Coury (1,387, ninth). … Crichton moved into fifth place on OSU's career sacks list with 16 1/2. … Crichton, told that Cooks had guaranteed a victory during the week of practice: "Every Saturday should be a guaranteed win." … There was a 10-minute delay after a first-period injury to Hawaii's Brenden Daley on a kickoff. Daley, a 6-3, 250-pound senior who starts at middle linebacker, was taken from the field by ambulance. … Oregon State has five native Hawaiians on its roster, including starting defensive tackle Mana Rosa, who led the Beavers in tackles with seven. Another Hawaiian, D-end Devon Kell, made the tackle for the safety that provided OSU's final points. … Cooks met former Oregon State receiver Sammie Stroughter, who was in Corvallis for Saturday's game. "A little Northern California vibe going on," Cooks said. "First time meeting him. It was great meeting Sammie. We talked a little before the game. He had a couple of words of advice. It was fun." … Oregon State is 60-22 at home this century.

Hawaii 0 14 0 0 -- 14

Oregon State 7 7 14 5 -- 33

FIRST QUARTER

OSU -- Kellen Clute 3 pass from Sean Mannion (Trevor Romaine kick) 11:30

SECOND QUARTER

OSU -- Richard Mullaney 19 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 14:06

HAW -- Julian Gener 23 interception return (Tyler Hadden kick) 10:13

HAW -- Clark Evans 15 pass from Taylor Graham (Hadden kick) 4:30

THIRD QUARTER

OSU -- Brandin Cooks 8 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 10:18

OSU -- Cooks 8 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) 5:36

FOURTH QUARTER

OSU -- Romaine 34 FG 7:39

OSU -- Team safety 7:33

ATT. -- 38,179