Oregon State stuns Wisconsin

Beavers’ defense stifles Badgers

Oregon State's Jordan Poyer (14) rushes against Wisconsin's Montee Ball (28) during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., Sat Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (left) had little running room against Jordan Poyer (14) and the oregon State defense.

Oregon State 10
Wisconsin 7

CORVALLIS, Ore. — It had been 41 years since a Big Ten team had visited Oregon State.

And with the reception No. 13 Wisconsin received on Saturday, a smothering crush of orange, capped by a sea of fans swarming the field, and one of the biggest nonconference wins in Beavers history, it might be another 41 years before one shows up again.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

‘‘They played their hearts out today and I’m so proud of them,’’ Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. ‘‘It’s unbelievable. They just played like crazy to win that game.’’

Sean Mannion threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, Oregon State’s defense smothered Wisconsin’s star running back Montee Ball, and the Beavers upset the Badgers, 10-7.

Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks for a 20-yard TD on the opening drive of the second half to give the Beavers a 10-0 lead, then turned it over to an Oregon State defense that forced two turnovers and held Ball to 61 yards rushing.

More importantly, Ball had his touchdown streak snapped at 21 games because of the Beavers’ defense.

They were aggressive, blitzing from all angles and making life miserable for Wisconsin quarterback Danny O’Brien, who was sacked three times and threw one interception.

Ball’s longest run was a 15-yard gain in the fourth quarter in a passing situation as the Beavers bracketed him on the outside and kept the usually nimble back from bouncing to the perimeter and open field.

‘‘They were actually presenting what we had planned,’’ Ball said. ‘‘We just didn’t do a great job executing.’’

Riley didn’t shy from putting some hype behind this intersectional matchup, calling it the biggest nonconference home game in school history.

Instead of folding under that pressure, the Beavers responded with a stellar defensive effort that made up for missed chances by the Oregon State offense and put the memories of an underachieving 2011 season in the past. Oregon State (1-0) outgained the Badgers, 354-207, and had an 11-minute advantage in time of possession.

The win snapped Wisconsin’s 33-game nonconference winning streak, the second-longest in the country behind LSU.

Wisconsin finished with 207 yards and only 35 on the ground. It was the fewest total yards for Wisconsin in five years. The previous nonconference loss for Wisconsin (1-1) came early in the 2003 season when the Badgers lost to UNLV.

‘‘The performance in the first half was unacceptable and that begins with me,’’ Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. ‘‘The best rhythm we had all day was the last two minutes at the end. I thought we were extremely fortunate to only be down, 3-0, at the half.’’

Oregon State’s opener against Nicholls State was postponed when Hurricane Isaac made it difficult for the Louisiana school to make the trip to the Northwest. Riley joked his team went through the world’s longest training camp.

‘‘I think the extra week definitely helped. Our coaches kept us focused and they had a good game plan,’’ Mannion said.

Mannion was efficient, using short passes to make up for Oregon State’s struggles running. Mannion completed 29 of 47 passes and four times in the first half led the Beavers inside the Wisconsin 35 only to come away with a 43-yard field goal from Trevor Romaine. Markus Wheaton had eight catches for 87 yards and Cooks six for 80.

Mannion was 5 of 7 for 68 yards on the first drive of the second half that was capped when Cooks was found open in the end zone.

‘‘When he called the play I knew something special was going to happen,’’ Cooks said.