Friday, November 27, 2015         

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Oregon State defense stumbles in opener

By Joel Fowlks

Associated Press


CORVALLIS, Ore. >> Now that the initial shock has worn off, the Oregon State Beavers are left with assessing the aftermath of Saturday's loss.

There's little question where the blame for the loss to lower-division Eastern Washington lies: Eagles quarterback Vernon Adams put up astounding numbers on the Oregon State defense, throwing for 411 yards and rolling up 107 on the ground in the 49-46 upset.

Beavers defensive coordinator Mark Banker and his position coaches have work to do.

Eastern Washington was the Big Sky co-champions last season and it reached the semifinals of the FCS playoffs, but Oregon State was favored by four touchdowns.

It was only the third time that an FCS school defeated a ranked FBS team.

"It hurts, it hurts really badly," running back Storm Woods said. "We came in here a Top 25 team and practiced so hard. The loss, it really hurts. We just have to pull it back together. There are a lot more games to be played, so we have to hold our heads up high and just continue to grow and learn from it."

Eastern Washington had 625 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. The Eagles scored every single time they got the ball save for a possession where Adams temporarily left the game due to cramping and a possession just before halftime where they took a knee.

The Beavers' defense had several problems on Saturday: broken coverages, bad positions and angles, sloppy downfield tackling and an inability to stop the Eagles on third down.

Perhaps the biggest problem was that Oregon State couldn't contain the mobile Adams.

The Beavers' secondary may have been missing cornerback Jordan Poyer, who has moved up to the NFL and the motor of linebacker D.J. Alexander, who is out with a knee injury.

Injuries led coach Mike Riley to decide against holding live scrimmages during fall camp, which led to speculation that the players might have been rusty.

"That's not an excuse," Oregon State senior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds said. "We have all played football for a long time. It was sloppy out there (Saturday). We have to step that up."

After the game, Reynolds gathered his teammates and issued a challenge.

"I told the team we can go one of two ways: we can take it and learn from it, or we can lie down," he said.

The Oregon State offense played well.

Quarterback Sean Mannion had 422 yards passing just days after being tabbed as the starter after competition with Cody Vaz. The Beavers put up 527 yards, had no turnovers and only punted three times.

Mannion, Woods and tight end Connor Hamlett said the offense didn't play a perfect game either.

Still it's clear where the urgency is as the Beavers regroup to host Hawaii on Saturday -- with the defense.

"Until we fix it there is major concern," Riley said.

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