Oregon State can smell it
CORVALLIS, ORE. -- Although the Oregon State Beavers wouldn’t dare mention it, their fans weren’t at all afraid.
“We Smell Roses!” read a trio of signs lofted by fans at Reser Stadium following No. 23 Oregon State’s 34-21 Pacific 10 Conference victory over California.
With the win, the Beavers edged closer to their first appearance in the Rose Bowl since New Year’s Day 1965.
Because Oregon State defeated then-No. 1 USC 27-21 on Sept. 21, the Beavers hold the tiebreaker for a Rose Bowl berth should both teams win the rest of their games. Oregon State visits Arizona next weekend before hosting Oregon in the Civil War rivalry game.
“It’s just one step closer to our goals,” Jacquizz Rodgers said of the Beavers’ fifth straight win.
Lyle Moevao completed 14 of 28 passes for 145 yards for Oregon State (7-3, 6-1). Rodgers, the Pac-10’s leading rusher, ran for 144 yards and a score, and older brother James Rodgers caught six passes for 50 yards and ran 18 yards for a touchdown.
Moevao referred to the Rose Bowl as “it.”
“The thing about having it in the back of our minds is that we get hungry for it. We want it so bad,” he said. “But we know what we are going to have to do and how we’re going to get there.”
Kevin Riley, who grew up in Portland, started for Cal (6-4, 4-3) and completed 11 of 25 passes for 117 yards and a score. Jahvid Best ran for 116 yards and a touchdown.
“The strength of this team is defense and we played pretty well,” Golden Bears Coach Jeff Tedford said. “But this is a team game and we have to play well in all three phases.”
Cal jumped in front on its first series, scoring on Riley’s five-yard pass to Verran Tucker. Oregon State quickly answered, when James Rodgers returned the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a score this season in the Pac-10.
Oregon State Coach Mike Riley acknowleged, sheepishly, that he does think about going to the Rose Bowl.
“Yes, I do, and it scares me,” he said. “We all know when the season starts what the goal is, and that’s the Rose Bowl.”