Unlike in '07, OSU finishes this one off
TEMPE, Ariz. — Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield remembered walking out of Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium with an empty feeling in 2007. The Beavers had an early 19-point lead, only to watch it fade away in a 44-32 loss.
He didn't want to have the same feeling on Saturday. This time, OSU had a 21-3 halftime advantage and watched ASU pull to within 21-10 on its first drive of the third quarter.
But he stood firm as ASU attempted to apply pressure and get back into the game.
He was 6 of 10 for 83 yards in the second half and completed a key, 37-yard pass to James Rodgers to the ASU 3 that set up the Beavers' final TD with 7:07 left in the game. The 2-yard scoring toss to Damola Adeniji made it 28-10 before ASU scored a meaningless TD with 11 seconds left.
The 28-17 win by the Beavers (3-2 overall, 1-1 in Pac-10) was big, especially considering their tough, 37-32 loss at home to Arizona in the conference opener a week ago.
Of the connection with Rodgers, Canfield said, "Their corner was biting (on short sideline routes) all night. He (Rodgers) did a stutter step and got by him. I laid it up and he was able to get it.''
Canfield, who was 18 of 30 for 216 yards and a pair of TDs, was happy that his team could jump to a 14-3 first-quarter lead and hold the halftime advantage, "But we couldn't do much in the second and third quarters. We have to fix that,'' he said.
He also was pleased that OSU could end a 16-game losing streak at Sun Devil Stadium that dated all the way back to 1969, when coach Mike Riley's father, Bud, was an assistant coach.
"We had good balance on offense and defense tonight, and that was huge,'' Canfield said. "We're going to need more of that because the conference (Pac-10) is the best all-around it's been in a long time.''
DEFENSIVE EFFORTS: Sophomore cornerback Brandon Hardin and junior tackle Brennan Olander (Grants Pass) started for the first time in their careers, and Hardin came up with his first interception. It also was the first interception of the year by an OSU cornerback.
Hardin got his opportunity when regular starter Tim Clark was feeling some aftereffects from having wisdom teeth pulled earlier in the week.
"It felt amazing to come up with an interception and help us win,'' said Hardin, from Honolulu. We wanted to go out and get our 'swag' (swagger) and show we are capable of having an unstoppable defense.''
It was a special night for (strongside) linebacker Keaton Kristick, who grew up in the Phoenix area and played at St. Mary's High. Kristick, the team's leading tackler, was at the top of the defensive chart again with eight tackles, one for a loss.
TOUGH OPPONENT: ASU receiver Chris McGaha had a huge game with personal records of 15 catches for 165 yards, but none for scores. He pretty much single-handedly kept his team in the game.
"I was even smart enough to say, 'Hey, they're going to throw it to McGaha,'" Riley said, laughing.
Safety Lance Mitchell saw a little too much of McGaha to his liking, as McGaha ran his routes mainly over the middle.
"No. 13 (McGaha) made us work out there. It wasn't easy,'' Mitchell said.
ASU quarterback Danny Sullivan completed 32 of 58 passes for 338 yards, but the OSU defensive line kept the pressure on when it needed to, forcing him to throw early on several occasions.
QUICK HITS: The Beavers like the first quarter. In their last 45 games, they have outscored opponents 236-78 ... OSU won their 31st game since the start of the 2006 season. Only USC is better ... The 35-yard field goal in the first quarter by ASU's Bobby Wenzig was the first field goal allowed by OSU this season ... Taylor Henry's fourth-quarter sack was the first of his career.