Beavers start slow, finish fast

In the battle of teams needing to bounce back, it was the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers who proved to be the springier team with a 36-26 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils.

The new-look OSU backfield of Cody Vaz and Terron Ward helped the Beavers overcome an early 14-3 deficit. Filling in for the injured Storm Woods, Ward rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Vaz, who was named the starter following Sean Mannion’s four-interception performance in the loss to Washington last week, completed 14 of 33 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.

Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks each eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark. Wheaton had four catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks led the Beavers (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) with six catches for 116 yards and a score.

For the Sun Devils (5-4, 3-3), who have now dropped three straight following a 5-1 start, it was the second consecutive week they had jumped out to an early double-digit lead but were unable to hold it. On Oct. 27 they were up 14-0 on UCLA before losing a back-and-forth contest on a last-second field goal.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly was held to just 153 yards passing, completing 22 of 41 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.

ASU jumped ahead in the first minute when Junior Onyeali recovered a Vaz fumble deep in Oregon State territory and returned it 1 yard for the touchdown. A Trevor Romaine field goal cut the lead to 7-3 before a 1-yard Cameron Marshall touchdown put the Sun Devils ahead 14-3.

But that was ASU’s only offensive touchdown until the very end of the game. The rest of its points came on a Keith Kostol blocked punt for a safety and a 31-yard Jon Mora field goal. A 2-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Marion Grice prevented the second-half shutout.

The Sun Devils are back on the road again next week when they travel to USC in search of that crucial sixth victory.

Oregon State’s win sets up an interesting showdown next week at Stanford.