OSU’s pass defense gets failing grade
STANFORD — Entering Saturday’s game, Stanford and Oregon State ranked first and second, respectively, in the Pac-12 in pass defense.
But while the Cardinal secondary held firm in a 38-14 victory, the Beavers’ pass defense faltered. Although Oregon State grabbed two first quarter interceptions, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan bounced back to finish with 277 yards through the air and two touchdowns. The passing total was 101 yards more than the average surrendered by the Beavers entering the contest.
“They won all the one-on-one matchups, it seems like,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. “They made the plays. They blocked up the blitzes and then the quarterback made the plays and the guys made the catches. I thought they executed on all that well.”
The Beavers’ Ryan Murphy, who nabbed Hogan’s first interception, pointed to Stanford’s first touchdown on its opening drive as a play he would like to have back. Hogan connected with Christian McCaffrey on a 42-yard pass for the game’s first score.
“(McCaffrey) came off the backfield, ran a route, I missed a tackle. That kind of ignited their team and got them going,” Murphy said.
In the pivotal second quarter, Hogan was 7-for-11 for 139 yards and a touchdown as the host Cardinal outscored Oregon State 14-0 to hold a 28-7 halftime advantage.
Stanford finished with 438 total yards — 287 passing and 151 rushing — and four offensive touchdowns.
“I was surprised by the fact that we missed tackles,” Riley said. “We let what would be relatively … just run a curl route and catch a ball and tackle them, we let those be big plays.”
But Riley was disappointed with all three phases of the Beavers’ game.
“It was bad football all the way around,” he said. “We didn’t play well. We didn’t tackle well. We killed ourselves with penalties. We started off right away with jumping offsides. And then special teams wasn’t very good. I’m very disappointed in all that.”
Stanford coach David Shaw liked his team’s variety on offense.
“We’re not going to completely scrap our big personnels and our six and seven offensive linemen packages,” he said. “But we can be versatile so we need to be versatile.”
SOUR HOMECOMING: Sean Mannion played his high school ball less than 50 miles away from Stanford in Pleasanton. But his visit to the Bay Area on Saturday wasn’t too delightful.
Mannion completed 14 of his 30 passes for 122 yards and no touchdowns. It’s the fewest passing yards he has produced in a start for Oregon State.
The senior tried to look at the game pragmatically.
“They weren’t really giving up anything deep,” he said. “It was just the kind of game where you have to keep taking what they’re giving you and just methodically move the ball down the field.”
Mannion talked about eliminating negative plays. The Beavers running game produced a paltry 12 yards. Mannion was sacked six times for minus 51 yards.
“I thought our O-line, for the most part, held up pretty well,” he said. “It’s just for me, what I can control is getting the ball out of my hand fast. We’ll have to look at the film and see what happened on a lot of them, but we’ve got to eliminate big plays.”
Riley pointed out the third-and-long situations that the Beavers offense put itself into all game. Oregon State was held to zero or negative yards on 33 of its 67 offensive plays.
“I thought he battled in there pretty well. We didn’t protect him very well,” said Riley about Mannion. “We put ourselves into horrible situations that are lethal against Stanford.”
It’s back to the film room for Mannion.
“I’m frustrated we lost. That’s what I’m frustrated about, especially a couple tough ones in a row,” he said. “I just try to watch the tape of this game and learn from it and do my best to just forget about it. That’s easier said than done for sure, but I think that’s the challenge.”
“He will bounce back big-time,” Riley said. “He’s going to end up being the career leader in passing in the conference.”
NOTES: One Oregon native certainly had a positive day. Stanford senior wide receiver Jordan Pratt, who graduated from Central High in Monmouth, caught the first touchdown of his college career. He evaded tacklers for a 37-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. … Luke Del Rio, a redshirt freshman, entered in the fourth quarter for Mannion and completed four of his eight pass attempts for 87 yards. He led the Beavers on its second touchdown drive, which ended with a Damien Haskins 1-yard scoring run. … Oregon State’s only other touchdown was set up by an interception by Michael Doctor at the Stanford 20. He returned it to the 5, and Chris Brown bulled his way into the end zone on a run with 2 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the first quarter.