Oregon St. 26, Stanford 12
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) _ Small wonder that Oregon State students and players celebrated as if they’d just clinched a trip to the Rose Bowl.
For the first time since their 1995 season opener, the Beavers were winners.
With a blitzing defense, a power running game and a freshman quarterback, Oregon State beat Stanford 26-12 Saturday, ending the longest current losing streak in major-college football at 15.
``We were so hungry for that victory, we were starving,″ defensive back Marc Williams said. ``And when you’re hungry, you’re going to find something to eat. We had a big lunch today.″
The Beavers tried not to talk about the losing streak. Coach Jerry Pettibone said he never brought it up. But it always lurked in the background of a downtrodden program that hasn’t had a winning season in 26 years.
``This streak has been highly publicized and it’s been weighing on our shoulders an awful lot,″ Pettibone said. ``It feels good to have it behind us and out of the way.″
Oregon State students flooded onto the field after the homecoming victory, surrounding the team in celebration, singing the school fight song, then tearing down one of the goal post uprights and carrying it out of Parker Stadium.
Freshman David Moran ran for a touchdown and passed for another and the Beavers (1-5 overall, 1-3 Pac-10) sacked Stanford’s Chad Hutchinson 11 times, an Oregon State record. The Beavers had only four sacks all season entering the game.
``I think it was the finest defensive effort I’ve seen around here in six years,″ said Pettibone, who improved his record at Oregon State to 12-48-1.
Hutchinson threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice in the first half as Oregon State took a 19-12 lead.
``I don’t know,″ said Hutchinson, when asked what went wrong.
With the victory, Oregon State avoided setting a Pac-10 and school record for consecutive losses. The Beavers hadn’t won since a season-opening 14-7 win over Idaho a year ago. The win snapped a 12-game Pac-10 losing streak and was Oregon State’s first over the Cardinal in seven tries.
``There’s a satisfaction in finally proving how good we are, in just showing people that doubted us how good we are,″ said linebacker Nathan McAtee, who had two sacks, ``and paying back the fans that have stayed with us the whole time.″
Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham blamed himself.
``I don’t think we played with the same emotion, the same get-after-it early that we’ve played with in weeks past,″ he said. ``I just look at it and say, `No, I don’t think Willingham did his job of getting his team ready to get it done.‴
The Beavers clinched the victory when 250-pound fullback Darron Kirkman ran up the middle 28 yards for a touchdown with 3:16 to play.
Stanford (2-4, 1-2) managed just 198 total yards, 27 rushing, against the Beavers’ blitzing defense. Oregon State rushed for 255 yards, Akili King had 85 in 22 carries, Kirkman 77 in 11 carries and DeShawn Williams 72 in 10 carries.
Williams ran 22 yards for Oregon State’s first touchdown and scored again on a 17-yard pass play from Moran to put the Beavers ahead for good 19-12 with 1:38 left in the first half.
Hutchinson’s long afternoon started on Stanford’s first possession, when Andrae Holland intercepted a pass at the Beavers’ 47. Five plays later, Williams went 22 yards for the score. Randy Lund missed the conversion and it was 6-0.
Stanford took its only lead 7-6 when Hutchinson hit Mike Mitchell in the right flat on a 57-yard scoring play 43 seconds into the second quarter. Kevin Miller’s conversion made it 7-6.
Moran, in his second collegiate start, scrambled 3 yards to put the Beavers ahead 12-7.
``It was a wrong formation call,″ Moran said. ``We had the wrong play called and I just scrambled and ran it in.″
But on the two-point conversion try, Stanford’s Tim Smith intercepted and returned it the length of the field for two Cardinal points to make it 12-9.
Miller’s 36-yard field goal with 2:28 left in the half tied it 12-12.
In the game’s final seconds, the students pushed against the fence and the players savored the victory.
``I had a big smile on my face,″ DeShawn Williams said. ``I could just taste it.″