Sieverson steps up when Beavers need him most
EUGENE — Oregon State senior running back Matt Sieverson could have stopped playing after his team's first offensive possession and he still would have had the best game of his collegiate career.
A 38-yard touchdown run by the Bend native capped a two-play, 67-yard drive that gave the visiting Beavers a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter of Saturday's Civil War at Autzen Stadium.
"The guys just did a great job of blocking and the hole opened up," Sieverson said. "I couldn't get to the end zone fast enough."
Sieverson, who got his second consecutive start in place of the injured Yvenson Bernard, finished with 142 yards on 27 carries as Oregon State defeated the Oregon 38-31 in double overtime.
The Civil War victory was the first by a visiting team since 1996, when the Ducks drilled the Beavers 49-13 in Corvallis.
"Since I was born and raised in Bend, the Civil War has been a big thing in my life every year," Sieverson said. "This is the one for me. This game really makes my college career, and this is the game you want for your best game."
A career backup, Sieverson's previous rushing high came earlier this season when he racked up 68 yards on 16 carries against Stanford. He scored his first touchdown of the season in a Nov. 17 win over Washington State.
In the final regular season game of his college career, Sieverson was joined in the backfield Saturday by another backup, quarterback Lyle Moevao.
The sophomore quarterback said he and his teammates had confidence in Sieverson's ability to step in for Bernard.
"Sieverson did a great job," Moevao said. "He knew the role he was in and we knew that he could get the job done, that's why we put him there."
Growing up, Sieverson said he was always an Oregon State fan. As a senior at Bend High School he racked up 2,726 yards and 28 touchdowns and was honored as the state's Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year.
While he had some conversations with Oregon coach Mike Bellotti about joining the Ducks, Sieverson said he never seriously considered it.
"I've always been kind of an OSU fan," he said. "Then when I got older I was Beavers all the way. I liked to see the Ducks go down."
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said Sieverson and all of the Beaver seniors stepped up in a big way to lead their team to the victory.
"It's hard to lose good players," Riley said of the injured Bernard. "It's real important that we had Adam Speer step in for Jeremy Perry and on down the line. Those guys, our team doesn't blink and that's because of good senior leadership. Those guys are big-time in the character of this team."
AFTER LIMPING OUT of the gate to start the season, Oregon State (8-4, 6-3) likely earned its way into the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Dec. 27 with wins in six of its last seven games.
The Holiday Bowl usually pits the second place team from the Pacific 10 Conference against a team from the Big 12.
While a trip to San Diego isn't a sure thing until the Holiday Bowl's committee extends an invitation to Oregon State, it is a certainty that the Beavers, who started the season 2-3, will head to a quality bowl game.
"That's the story of this year's team," Riley said. "I really think this has been a great group of seniors that have stayed the course, that helped the rest of the team hang in there to get to one of the best two-year strings in our school's history."
SENIOR PLACEKICKER Alexis Serna set a Pac-10 record in the fourth quarter when he made good on his 140th consecutive extra point attempt.
With five extra points and a field goal, Serna extended his school record point total to 380. He is the NCAA's active leader in field goals made.