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Beavers unble to get ground game going

CORVALLIS — One of the biggest frustrations for Oregon State football fans is that the Beavers don’t run the ball enough.

Those thoughts resurfaced yet again after last Saturday’s loss to USC when the Beavers went away from the run game despite struggling to throw the ball effectively.

Quarterback Sean Mannion threw for a career-low 123 yards and completed just 15 of 32 passes, and tossed two interceptions — one that was returned for a touchdown.

“We’re usually looking to balance our game from the pass aspect and get the run game going, but this one we never could really establish either enough protection or winning on routes to get the passing game balancing up,” coach Mike Riley said. “We were somewhat doing pretty well running the football.

“That was the biggest issue in the big picture of the game, whether it was winning on a route or protecting enough, it seemed like we just never could put those two things together.”

What’s puzzling is the Beavers appeared to have some success running the ball.

Storm Woods had 61 yards on nine carries, an average of 6.8 per attempt. Terron Ward added 29 yards on seven carries.

“It doesn’t look like it in the stats, but we actually had some runs,” Riley said. “And they weren’t big runs, but they were pretty steady, productive runs, and so it was a strange game for us.”

What is surprising is that USC gave up 452 yards on the ground to Boston College the previous game.

Woods was diplomatic this week when asked about how tough it is to find that run-pass balance in a game.

“Every time my number is called I just have to go out and do what I do,” he said. “We definitely want to be a balanced team but sometimes you can’t do that when you’re down. You can’t run the ball, it takes time off the clock and we need points in a hurry so we go to the pass.”

Down 21-10 at the half, the Beavers had the ball for only 10:35 of the second half.

That was pretty frustrating, Woods said.

“Of course the defense is out there making plays so you just want to go out there and help your team,” he said. “But if anything we’re going to use that as a learning tool, just execute when we can and hold each other accountable and keep going.

“We’re not pointing fingers, we’re fully responsible for (Saturday’s) loss and we’re going to get better from here on out.”