Beavers look to rebound at home against ASU

Oregon State junior quarterback Cody Vaz scrambles out of the pocket during the Beavers’ 21-7 win over Utah on Oct. 20. (Photo courtesy of Neil Abrew / The Daily Barometer)

There’s no place like Corvallis, Ore., in November.

Coming off a disappointing loss, the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers should be excited to come home to face ASU.

There is no better time for Oregon State to be home and no worse time for ASU to be in Corvallis. The Beavers have won three of the last four meetings against the Sun Devils in Corvallis.

“It’s all about not wanting to lose at home,” junior linebacker Michael Doctor said. “You can’t let nobody come in your home and just stomp all over you. You just want to hold your home ground and come out and win the game.”

November is also the month teams in the Pac-12 start separating themselves from the pack. The Beavers stumbled against unranked Washington last week, losing 20-17. To keep their Pac-12 championship hopes alive, they need to beat ASU at home this Saturday.

Redshirt freshman running back Storm Woods said the added pressure is one reason the Beavers are so strong at home late in the season.

“November counts,” Woods said. “You want to finish strong and get entered into the bowl game, and we got a tough road in November. I know our guys are ready.”

The loss to Washington gave the Beavers some tough lessons.

Woods said little mental mistakes hurt the team going down the stretch against the Huskies and they have to sure those things clear up before taking on the Sun Devils. Doctor said the team is amped to go out, play again this weekend and prove themselves.

Coach Mike Riley said he was proud of the way his team responded to practice this week after the loss.

“It’s been good,” Riley said. “I didn’t expect anything different. This group has been good on every Monday. We played another game well into the fourth quarter, this time we lost. The team, as far as work and getting ready for the next game, has responded well.”

In the last two games, the Sun Devils have been burned by some talented running backs in the conference.

Oregon senior Kenjon Barner and UCLA redshirt senior running back Johnathan Franklin both had over 100 yards rushing in their games against ASU.

Woods said he hopes to have a strong game against ASU’s attacking defense that likes to send pressure. Woods wants to take advantage of that.

“Just try and gash them, make them pay for the blitz,” Woods said.

The Sun Devil defense has faced a plethora of back-up quarterbacks this season.

This week they face another second-string passer — sort of.

The original starting quarterback, sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion, injured his knee against Washington State in early October. Junior Cody Vaz took over for him and Oregon State won its next two games.

Mannion underwent surgery, returned last week against Washington and threw four interceptions. Riley is giving the job back to Vaz.

“Both quarterbacks here have a lot of respect amongst the team,” Riley said. “I think they have faith in both of them and we have to pick one, and I think they are good with it.”

 

Reach the reporter at ehubbard@asu.edu