Reynolds gives Beavers edge

HONOLULU — Rashaad Reynolds had spent his first 49 college games focused on preventing touchdowns.

Playing game No. 50 in the 50th state, the Oregon State cornerback closed his career by reaching the end zone twice in the Beavers' 38-23 win over Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl on Tuesday.

Oregon State's defense did a good job keeping the offense fresh in the first half as Sean Mannion, Brandin Cooks and company spent much of the second quarter on the sideline while the Beavers defense took care of building a commanding lead.

By the middle of the second quarter, the stadium scoreboard could have read "Rashaad Reynolds 12, Boise State 6" after the senior cornerback returned two fumbles for touchdowns that gave the Beavers an 18-point lead.

"I had a little friendly words on the sideline telling (Cooks) I had more touchdowns than he had in the beginning of the game," Reynolds said of his first and last touchdowns of his career.

"We were just having fun out there and I think it showed with our play. Not just us but the whole team."

The fun continued for the Beavers as the lead grew to 25 by the time the teams went into the locker room. The Oregon State defense kept the Broncos offense out of the end zone until the 4:32 mark of the third quarter.

By then Oregon State led 38-13 and was well on its way to ending a five-game losing streak.

"It's an amazing feeling. It's bittersweet, that was my last game going out there with my brothers," Reynolds said.

"Being my last game and seeing how the guys fought is definitely a great feeling and hopefully they can ride this momentum into next year."

Reynolds finished the regular season tied for the team lead with six interceptions. He forced two fumbles against Washington State, but hadn't recovered one since his freshman year in 2010.

And he hadn't scored in 49 career games leading up to the Hawaii Bowl.

Defensive end Scott Crichton, possibly playing his final college game as well, set up Reynolds' first score during a dominant stretch late in the first quarter.

After dropping Jay Ajayi for a 9-yard loss back to the Boise State 6, Crichton caught quarterback Grant Hedrick in the end zone and knocked the ball loose.

Reynolds scooped it up at the 3 for Oregon State's first fumble return for a touchdown since a 33-yard return by Al Afalava against UCLA in 2007.

Reynolds doubled his career touchdown total midway through the second quarter when Larry Scott forced a fumble near the sideline. Reynolds was there again, taking it back 70 yards to extend the Beavers' lead to 24-6.

"I was really Johnny on the spot," Reynolds said. "The first play Scott made a play and I just benefitted from it. The second play Larry made a great tackle and forced a fumble and like I said I was Johnny on the spot."

Reynolds, who said the last time he reached the end zone was back in his days as a high school quarterback, was part of a senior class that helped keep the Beavers on track through a rough stretch to end the regular season.

"Rashaad has had a great career, watching him grow has been outstanding," Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said. "His development, his maturity, his play. He is I think a big-time player, big-time guy and was really fun to coach."

Added Cooks: "As far as me going against him all my years here, I feel like that made me the receiver I am today. I look up to him like a big brother on and off the field. In life, when I've got questions I come to him."

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RUNNING GAME FINISHES STRONG: It took nearly an entire season, but Oregon State's running game finally hit its stride in the last two games.

The Beavers closed the season with Storm Woods rushing for a season-high 107 yards, Terron Ward adding 54 and both contributing touchdowns to the win.

"It's almost like what might have been had the season started differently, we'd been healthy, we'd have had some time to really develop this and have some trust in it. It was almost out of desperation that we found it late," Riley said. "We just said it's really hard to live for any offensive linemen throwing the ball as much as were throwing it against very good teams.

"We've gotten a real good snapshot of who we want to be in the last two games."

Leading up to the Hawaii Bowl, Riley said he was "halfway encouraged" by the Beavers' running game coming out of a 231-yard performance in the loss to Oregon in the Civil War.

That performance raised the Beavers' average to 86 yards per game, still 11th in the conference and 118th in the FBS.

They opened Tuesday's game by picking up nearly half that average on its first two plays from scrimmage, a 29-yard run by Cooks on a fly sweep and Woods' 15-yard blast up the middle.

They went into halftime with 99 rushing yards and Ward's punishing 9-yard run gave Oregon State a 31-6 lead.

The Beavers covered 52 yards on the ground in their 94-yard drive in the third quarter and Woods scored his sixth touchdown of the season.

Oregon State finished the game with 195 rushing yards out of 454 in total offense, and averaged 5.9 yards per rush.

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RECORD WATCH: Mannion and Cooks capped the season by setting Pac-12 single-season records and connected for the Beavers' first touchdown of the game.

Cooks needed 52 yards to break the record of 1,721 set last season by USC's Marqise Lee. He passed that mark on his seventh reception of the game, a 10-yarder that extended Oregon State's opening drive of the third quarter.

Cooks added to his conference receptions record with eight catches, pushing his season total to 128, and finished the game with 60 yards to give him 1,730 this season.

Mannion broke the conference's single-season record for passing yards set by Washington's Cody Pickett in 2002. He entered the game with 4,403 yards, 55 away from the record. He passed the mark with a 16-yard completion to Caleb Smith on Oregon State's second possession of the game and ended his junior year at 4,662.

After missing on three of his first four throws, Mannion completed his next 12 and went into halftime 13-for-16 for 160 yards. He finished with 24 completions in 33 attempts for 259 yards and the 2-yard touchdown pass to Cooks in the first quarter.

He finished the season with 37 touchdown passes, two short of the record set by USC's Matt Barkley in 2011.

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POSTSEASON PUSH: Oregon State improved to 11-6 in bowl games and won its first postseason game since beating Pittsburgh in the 2008 Sun Bowl.

"I think coaches like to spin it when you win that it's a good ending and a good beginning," Riley said.

"You hate losing a bowl game because that last game you play that hangs over you for a long time."

In their previous postseason visit to Aloha Stadium, the Beavers lost to Hawaii in the 1999 Jeep Oahu Bowl in the program's first bowl appearance since 1965. Tuesday's game was the program's 10th postseason game since the Oahu Bowl loss to Hawaii.

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HOMECOMING WEEK: Senior defensive linemen Mana Rosa and Devon Kell ended their college careers back in their home state.

Rosa, a graduate of Baldwin High School on Maui, started at defensive tackle and Kell, a product of Hilo, recorded a sack late in the second quarter.

Defensive back Steven Christian transferred to Oregon State after four years at the University of Hawaii and had a tackle in his final game.

Tuesday's game also marked a return to Aloha Stadium for defensive coordinator Mark Banker, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, defensive line coach Joe Seumalo and wide receivers coach Brent Brennan. All four spent time on the Hawaii coaching staff prior to their hiring at Oregon State.

The Beavers will return to Aloha Stadium on Sept. 2 when Oregon State faces Hawaii to conclude a home-and-home series. Oregon State defeated Hawaii 33-14 for its first win of this season.

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SERIES EDGE: Oregon State is now 5-3 against Boise State. They are scheduled to meet again on Sept. 24, 2016 in Corvallis.


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