Beavers continue to overcome obstacles

Vaz remains starter with No. 16 Stanford on deck

For the most part, the Oregon State football team continues to pass test after test through eight games this season.

Injuries to the Beavers' starting quarterback and running back haven't slowed them. Even losing the first game of the season after the best start in the modern era didn't bother them.

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The Beavers came back strong from all that with a 36-26 Pac-12 Conference victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.

"We knew we had to get the win," linebacker Michael Doctor said. "We had a hard week of practice and watched film and we put it together."

The Beavers (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) remain No. 13 in The Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. They will stay in BCS bowl contention if they can win their final three conference games.

First up is a big showdown for second place in the North Division at No. 16 Stanford (7-2, 5-1) at noon Saturday. Get by the Cardinal and it's two straight conference home games, ending with first-place Oregon.

"We don't give up," receiver Brandin Cooks said. "Any adversity we are going to keep pushing to the end and keep on fighting."

OSU needed to gain momentum going into Stanford and to work out some offensive issues.

Cody Vaz took over as the starting quarterback and led the offense to 424 yards in total offense and threw three touchdowns passes. Coach Mike Riley said Sunday night that Vaz will remain the team's starter for the time being.

"We knew we could do that," Vaz said of the offensive production. "They have a great defense and a great group of athletes. They got after it, but at the same time, we had guys step up and make plays."

The running game had its best showing of the season with third-string running back Terron Ward running for 146 yards and a touchdown.

He pounded out the yards with aggression and broke off the longest run of the season at 53 yards.

"It came from the offensive line," Ward said. "They made some big holes to run through. They played well and I took advantage of my opportunity."

Regular starter Storm Woods couldn't play due to a sprained ligament in his knee and will be limited in practice this week, Riley said. Ward will get more work now that he has earned Riley's confidence.

"You always base it on production and he did a great job running and in pass protection," Riley said. "It was great to see. We needed that. It was a hard game against a physical team. He really stepped up."

Cornerback Jordan Poyer, another starter out with a knee sprain, is expected to return to practice this week in a limited capacity, Riley said, and should be ready for Saturday's game.

No new injuries came out of the Arizona State game, Riley said.

Even without Poyer, the defense put together a strong game in the end. Riley was impressed with how hard everyone fought.

The special teams improved in coverage, returns and place-kicking. A blocked punt for a safety was the only blemish.

"We didn't completely click, but we clicked enough to show you a glimpse of what this team can be," defensive end Dylan Wynn said.


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