BeaversEdge - 5 reasons why Oregon State earned its first win of the season
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5 reasons why Oregon State earned its first win of the season

It's taken 322 days, but the Oregon State football team is victorious once again. Thanks to a 45-7 demolishing of Cal Poly at Reser Stadium, the Beavers will now head into their bye week armed with a win. Managing Editor Brenden Slaughter gives his five reasons as to why the Beavers were able to break through and find themselves on the right side of the scoreboard.

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1. Artavis Pierce was stellar starting in place of Jermar Jefferson 

One of the more surprising and concerning pre-game storylines that emerged from Reser Stadium shortly before kickoff was that sophomore running back Jermar Jefferson would miss the contest with a foot injury suffered against Hawaii.

However, thanks to senior running back Artavis Pierce, you could hardly tell the Beavers were missing their top back. The 5-foot-11, 208 pounder was extremely effective in his limited touches against Hawaii (seven carries, 79 yards, two touchdowns) and it was clear that he was hungry, and able of shouldering a bigger workload moving forward.

With Jefferson on the shelf against the Mustangs, Pierce shined in just about every aspect. While he didn't lead the team in yards, as that honor goes to BJ Baylor (101 yards and one TD), Pierce set the tone for the Oregon State ground game early, tallying 87 of his 90 rushing yards before halftime.

Toss in the fact that Calvin Tyler Jr. was able to also rack up 59 yards on nine carries and that true-freshman Ta'Ron Madison was also to get in on the action with a few late carries and it bodes well for the future of the Oregon State backfield.

It's been advertised all fall camp that the Beavers boasted one of the deepest backfields in the Pac-12 this season, and when they were missing their best player, the supporting cast, led by Pierce, made sure that they reminded everyone just how good they are too.

Jefferson should be back against Stanford in two weeks, but in the meantime, Pierce, Baylor, Tyler, and Madison can sit back and reflect on a strong performance that saw the OSU ground game tally 262 yards and four touchdowns.

2. The defense came ready to play

Heading into the week, everyone knew that Cal Poly's triple-option offense that more closely resembles a Wing-T could have the potential to cause the Beavers a lot of problems. However, the Beavers were stout in their defensive discipline and preparation as for most of the contest, Tim Tibesar's group was able to corral the Mustangs.

While the Beavers allowed 315 yards of total offense, including 203 on the ground, OSU tightened up between the '20s and kept the most important statistic in their favor the entire way.

The score.

Outside of the opening drive where the Beavers allowed the Mustangs to run loose and get big chunk plays down the field, Oregon State stood tall when it mattered the most and were rewarded with a kind score on the scoreboard. It's a rarity these days when you see the Beavers hang a lopsided number on an opponent, and it all started with the defense today.

Sure, the OSU offense did its thing, but if Tibesar's group hadn't made the necessary adjustments after it was a 7-7 tie, this very well could have been a contest that was within reach for Cal Poly. However, after that first drive, the Beavers clamped down the rest of the way and didn't allow a single point to the Mustangs.

Granted, it's Cal Poly, and today's performance should be taken with a grain of salt, but defending the Mustangs' offense on a short-week is still no easy task. Kudos to the Oregon State defensive coaching staff for continuing to grow the defense each and every week so far this season.

Pac-12 play will be the ultimate test, but the Beavers showed they have the potential to make all the right plays and push all the right buttons to come out on top defensively.


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