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Perfect achievement for Beavers

Oregon State fetes 2000 Fiesta Bowl champs in best way possible by capping 6-0 season at Reser

CORVALLIS — The look was the same, and so was the result.

With Oregon State’s 2000 football team being inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame this weekend, the Beavers wore uniforms that were throwbacks to that team that earned a share of the Pac-10 championship and beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

And, Saturday night at Reser Stadium, the current Beavers matched another of its accomplishments: Go unbeaten at home. Oregon State’s 24-10 Pac-12 win over Arizona State finished the Beavers’ home slate with a 6-0 record.

OSU defensive back Jaydon Grant said before the home opener against Hawaii, he and wide receiver Trevon Bradford had been reflecting on past home games.

“We felt we didn’t really take advantage of our home crowd, didn’t have the best showings at home,” Grant said. “So from then on, the mantra was, ‘Do anything to defend the home turf.’ That was the message from the first game we had.”

The Beavers responded by beating Hawaii, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Stanford and ASU.

“So I’m just so proud of my team,” Grant said. “We made it really tough for teams to try to come in here and try to get a win. To go 6-0 at home, that’s huge.

“And obviously we couldn’t have done it without the support of Beaver Nation, the diehard fans who have supported us through ups and downs. I guess it’s kind of a way we give back to the community and to the fans a little bit by going 6-0 at home.”

Over 60 players from the 2000 team and much of the coaching staff, including head coach Dennis Erickson, were on hand for the induction and Saturday’s game.

The most notable tie between the 2000 Beavers and this year’s squad is that Jonathan Smith was OSU’s quarterback then and he’s the head coach now. The connections go further: Jake Cookus, who intercepted three passes in a win over Oregon, is now OSU’s special teams coach and Trent Bray, who is now OSU’s interim defensive coordinator and was a Beaver linebacker from 2002-05, is the son of Craig Bray, the defensive coordinator on that 2000 team.

“I definitely saw a few of them last night,” Smith said of his college teammates. “It was a great weekend, those coaches coming through. Coach Erickson spoke to the team yesterday at our walkthrough — that was special.”

Smith said when that team was introduced after the first quarter, he took a moment to give a look their way.

“So this was fun,” Smith said. “I thought those uniforms looked great and to be undefeated at home, and having that team back was really special.”

DEFENSE DOES IT AGAIN: For the second straight week since Bray was named OSU’s interim defensive coordinator, the Beaver defense came up big in a victory.

Last week, it held Stanford to 230 total yards but that was against a banged-up Cardinal offense. This time around, Oregon State faced an ASU squad led by elusive quarterback Jayden Daniels and running back Rachaad White, who was averaging 96.6 rushing yards per game. Overall, the Sun Devils were averaging 421.9 yards total offense.

Saturday, the Beavers allowed them only 266 yards total offense. Arizona State had to settle for field goal tries on two long drives in the first half, both missing the mark as Oregon State built a 17-0 lead. ASU’s only touchdown of the game came after it recovered OSU punter Luke Loecher’s fumbled snap that sent the Sun Devils up at the Beaver 4 early in the fourth quarter.

“I would say execution, then just playing team defense,” Grant said of OSU’s improvement. “Not relying on one position group to make plays, but an accumulation of 11 guys out there on the field. I also feel like our coaches, all year, have put us in positions for success; it’s just the trust, the camaraderie, the chemistry, the cohesiveness of all the guys. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody coming together.”

OSU accomplished this with standout linebacker Avery Roberts having to leave the game in the first half with an ankle injury.

“I think that they’ve played with some great energy, they want to play well, they practiced well,” said Smith. “They’re playing with energy and that makes a difference … Those guys came to play, created some havoc.”

ON THE RUN: Oregon State ran for 237 yards, the ninth time the Beavers have crossed the 200-yard mark on the ground this season. Most of that came from a familiar source: B.J. Baylor, as the running back ran for 150 yards on 20 carries, his sixth 100-yard game of the season.

The Beavers second-leading rusher was a familiar figure, but he got there in an unfamiliar way.

Jack Colletto, OSU’s mix of a linebacker and short-yardage quarterback, had the key play of the game early in the fourth quarter after ASU had closed within 17-10. On fourth-and-2 from the ASU 47, Colletto took his usual direct snap and looked for a crease in the line that would get him to the first-down marker.

This time, Colletto found not just a seam, but a crevice. He stepped through it, dashed right and stayed ahead of the ASU defense long enough to reach the end zone and make it 24-10 with 11:24 to play.

“I saw it all: bright sunset, daylight, there were angels,” Colletto said of what he saw on the play. “It was a wide-open hole — let’s go.”

It was the longest run of Colletto’s career; he’s better known for being almost automatic in short-yardage situations.

“He’s been really effective,” Smith said. “I think our team gets energized when he gets himself in the game, and the crowd does, too. It’s short-yardage and goal-line type stuff, and he’s worked at that. He gets himself in the huddle and he calls a play where he’s getting the ball in his hands, and the guys like it.”

EXTRA POINTS: Oregon State honored nine seniors prior to their final home game. That included a trio of sixth-year seniors in Bradford, offensive lineman Nous Keobounnam and linebacker Andrzej Hughes-Murray … Arizona State now leads the all-time series 30-15-1, and in games in Corvallis the series is tied 9-9-1 … Saturday night’s game was the final contest in Reser Stadium’s current configuration. This offseason, the current west grandstand will be demolished and construction will begin on a new, triple-decked stand scheduled to open for the 2023 season. That will remove the last remaining part of the original Parker Stadium that opened on the site in 1953: the lower 42 rows on the west side.