Third-quarter blitz rescues Beavers
CORVALLIS -- Points, like flowers, can come in bunches.
Oregon State put together a 21-point bouquet in a four-minute period of the third quarter and rode it to a 35-21 victory over San Jose State Saturday at Reser Stadium.
It couldn't have come at a better time for the Beavers, who trailed 21-14 at halftime and were in danger of losing to a Mountain West opponent that went 3-9 a year ago.
The Beavers had gift-wrapped a pair of touchdowns for the Spartans (1-2) with turnovers deep in OSU territory in the first half.
"Adversity hit us right in the face," OSU coach Gary Andersen said. "San Jose State took advantage of that."
Andersen delivered this message to his players at halftime: "If you stop shooting yourselves in the foot, you're going to find football is a simpler game. You cannot win Division I games if you're your own worst enemy. You have no shot."
Oregon State outscored San Jose State 21-0 in the second half and dominated the statistical sheet after intermission.
"Tremendous second half," a relieved Andersen said. "The kids did a very nice job of taking control of the game when the opportunity presented itself.
"We weren't fazed when we hit a bunch of adversity in the first half. We kept playing."
The Beavers (2-1) drew even when quarterback Seth Collins laid in a perfectly thrown ball to Jordan Villamin, who took it in stride and raced 31 yards to paydirt to tie the game at 21-21 with 7:34 left in the third quarter.
Oregon State then got a major break when San Jose State punter Michael Carrizosa -- who had an otherwise outstanding game -- couldn't field a slightly high snap and was swamped by OSU defenders at the Spartans' 15. Two plays later, Collins skirted left end for 10 yards and a TD and the Beavers were on top 28-21 with 5:15 left in the period.
"That was a big swing," Andersen said.
OSU's defense was in attack mode now, and Spartan QB Joe Gray's pass was intercepted by Beaver linebacker Caleb Saulo, who looked like the quarterback he was at Kentlake High in Kent, Wash., taking it 41 yards to the house for a TD and a 35-21 advantage with 3:35 remaining in the quarter.
That was the end of the scoring for either team on a night when the Beavers won the battle in first downs (13-5), total offense (249-92) and rushing yardage (206 to minus-28) over the final two quarters.
"We can't start slow like we did," said OSU linebacker Rommel Mageo, who had 11 tackles. "But we came out with fire in our eyes and went after (the Spartans) in the second half.
"We made corrections at halftime and went out there and played at a very high level. We were able to adjust and play loose."
Oregon State wound up with a sizable advantage for the game in first downs (24-14), rushing yardage (303-104) and total offense (438-253). The Spartans were only 1 of 13 in third-down conversions.
"We played our style the first half," San Jose State coach Ron Caragher said. "The difference was a pick-six, a dropped punt (snap) that gave (the Beavers) great field position, and a failure to execute on third-down situations."
Collins rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and completed 13 of 25 passes for 135 yards and another score. The true freshman out of San Diego also had an interception and missed several open targets, but probably had his best overall game in his third career start.
"Seth was solid," Andersen said. "He had some very dynamic plays with his feet. He slid once -- that was great to see, a step in the right direction. He had a few throws he'd like back, but he was effective."
Senior Storm Barrs-Woods also put up big numbers, carrying 17 times for 151 yards and a TD. Barrs-Woods, who rushed for 131 yards on 13 attempts in the second half, caught three passes for 30 yards.
A week ago, Barrs-Woods sat out the first half of a 35-7 loss at Michigan, telling coaches his sore knee was bothering him. He played in the second half but had only three carries for 13 yards.
"Storm always runs hard when he's ready to go," Andersen said. "He had some good, physical runs today. It brought a smile to my face to see him break tackles. He was ready to go. He definitely ran with a purpose, with physicality, and made some people miss."
Collins and Barrs-Woods room together when the Beavers are on the road and also at the team hotel the night before home games.
"We were in the hotel room today, and I told Storm, 'I'm expecting big things out of you today,'" Collins said. "But I always expect greatness out of him. It felt good to see him do it."
Barrs-Woods said the key for him was attitude.
"It's all about staying even keel," he said. "Bad things are going to happen. Good things are going to happen. But how do you respond? I just stay even keel and come to work every day."
Barrs-Woods said the win gives the Beavers impetus going into next Friday's Pac-12 opener against Stanford at Reser Stadium.
"You can judge a team by (how it deals with) adversity," the senior tailback said. "Last week, we took a big loss. This week, we came back and got a win. That feels good, to get a win going into conference play."
Saulo hadn't scored a touchdown since his high school days, but the 6-1, 225-pound junior put on a couple of nifty moves on the way to paydirt after his interception.
"Felt like a dream at first," Saulo said. "But, man, after I made the first move, my legs started to gas out on me. It was like, 'Where are my blockers at?' Thank God they were helping lead me to the end zone."
The Spartans looked poised for an upset early. They took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 10 plays, scoring on Tyler Ervin's 4-yard run. Less than five minutes into the game, the visitors led 7-0.
The Beavers answered on their first offensive series by moving 65 yards in 10 plays. Barrs-Woods' nifty catch-and-run for 16 yards on third-and-11 from the SJS 19 was the key play. Collins bootlegged left for the final four yards and a TD -- the first of his career -- and it was 7-7 with 6:21 left in the first quarter.
San Jose State got an easy one when OSU's Rahmel Dockery muffed a punt and the Spartans recovered at the Beavers' 6. One play later, Ervin barreled into the end zone and the Spartans regained the lead at 14-7 with 14:24 to go in the second quarter.
The Beavers responded with a quick strike -- 69 yards in four plays. Victor Bolden ran for 20 yards, Collins scampered for 30, Barrs-Woods went six yards and then finished it off with a 13-yard TD run to tie the game at 14-14 with 10:11 to play before halftime.
Later in the quarter, San Jose State's Cleveland Wallace intercepted a Collins pass at the Oregon State 26. Joe Gray hit Tyler Winston for a 6-yard TD strike, and the Spartans were back in front 21-14 with 3:08 remaining before intermission.
"Early in the game, we were moving the ball fine, but we weren't capitalizing on (the Spartans') mistakes," Collins said.
And the Spartans were capitalizing on the Beavers' miscues. But in the second half, it was all Oregon State.
"It's a mentality thing," Collins said. "Everybody changed their mentality in the second half. We pursued the end zone like we should."
"The offensive line got better as the game went on," Andersen said. "The defense played very well, especially in the second half. We were physical, and we finally got a pass rush going.
"This isn't a baby step for us, it's a giant step. We understand we can now swing a game very quickly. it's great to win, but it's also great to see them all meshing together to get a good solid team victory.
"We have a lot to learn, a lot of things to clean up. we have to do a better job of closing out games, but I'm happy we're 2-1."
NOTES -- San Jose State's starting quarterback, Kenny Potter, suffered a high ankle sprain early in the second quarter and did not return. Potter was off to a great start, completing 8 of 9 passes for 72 yards. Gray and Malik Watson divided time at QB the rest of the way for the Spartans. Barrs-Woods said Collins was the biggest reason the Beavers turned things around after halftime: "This young man demands greatness. It's a look in his eyes. It's the tone of his voice. He said we were going to go get seven (points). We went and got seven. That's our leader out there. That's our captain. That's what changed it. He got us going. When I see him making plays, I have to make plays. It pushes all of us to make plays." It was the second best rushing total of Barrs-Woods' career. He gained 161 yards against Arizona as a freshman in 2012. Barrs-Woods stands sixth on the OSU career rushing list with 2,477 yards, 45 shy of Dave Schilling (2,522). It was Oregon State's first time over the 300-yard rushing mark since the Beavers gained 323 against Washington State in 2008.
OSU sophomore linebacker Manase Hangalu had 11 tackles in his first career start. Beaver junior linebacker Ricky Ortiz, switched from tight end last week, had an interception in the fourth quarter. Garrett Owens missed both of his field-goal attempts, from 48 and 40 yards. It appeared the Beavers had three points when Owens booted a 48-yarder through the uprights just before the half. The officials granted San Jose State a late timeout, however, and on the re-kick, Owen's attempt went wide right. Carrizosa averaged 55.6 yards on his eight punts. OSU's Nick Porebski had a good game, too, punting six times for a 43.7-yard average, including a career-best 53-yarder. He twice pinned the Spartans inside their 6-yard line. Ervin rushed for 93 yards and two TDs on 21 attempts. Wallace verbally committed to Oregon State out of high school. The 5-11, 175-pound junior, a second-team all-Mountain West selection last season, started his college career at Washington but transferred after his redshirt freshman campaign. Oregon State has won 111 games in the 21st century, third-most in the Pac-12 behind Oregon and Southern Cal.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
San Jose State 7 14 0 0 -- 21
Oregon State 7 7 21 0 -- 35
SJS -- Tyler Ervin 4 run (Austin Lopez kick) 10:13
OSU -- Seth Collins 4 run (Garrett Owens kick) 6:21
SJS -- Ervin 6 run (Lopez kick) 14:24
OSU -- Storm Barrs-Woods 13 run (Owens kick) 10:21
SJS -- Tyler Winston 6 pass from Joe Gray (Lopez kick) 3:08
OSU -- Jordan Villamin 31 pass from Collins (Owens kick) 7:34
OSU -- Collins 10 run (Owens kick) 5:15
OSU -- Caleb Saulo 41 interception return (Owens kick) 3:35
ATT. -- 34,573