Oregon State fades at finish, falls to UCLA 27-19

Even though coach Mike Riley tried to look at the positives, the

disappointment over Oregon State’s 27-19 loss to UCLA on Saturday

was apparent in safety Lance Mitchell’s fallen expression and

hushed voice.

“It’s hard to find good in a loss. The whole thing is bad,”

Mitchell lamented. “0-and-3. It’s hard to swallow.”

The Beavers were thwarted by mistakes against UCLA, and while

they seemed gain momentum in the second half, closing to within

21-19, ultimately they couldn’t finish.

After the Bruins scored to make it 27-19 with 6:15 to go, the

Beavers drove down field but were stopped at the UCLA 22-yard line

when they tried to go for it on fourth-and-eight.

The loss spoiled redshirt freshman Sean Mannion’s debut as

starter for Oregon State. Mannion completed 24 of 40 passes for 287

yards and a touchdown, but he was also intercepted and had a costly

fumble that led to a quick UCLA touchdown.

Of course, Riley was disappointed in the loss. But that didn’t

stop him from looking for a silver lining.

“I’m frankly very encouraged by this group and seeing them

grow,” he said.

The Beavers have struggled with a stunning overtime loss at home

to Sacramento State in the opener before a 35-0 blanking by

Wisconsin. During last week’s bye, Riley decided to make a change

at quarterback, replacing junior Ryan Katz with Mannion.

Saturday’s game was the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.

Oregon State is 0-3 to start the season for the first time since

1996.

Richard Brehaut completed seven of 11 passes for 146 yards for

the Bruins (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12). UCLA had vacillated between

quarterbacks in their first three games, but coach Rick Neuheisel

named Brehaut the starter for this game after Kevin Prince threw

three interceptions in the 49-20 loss to the then-No. 23

Longhorns.

Derrick Coleman ran for 100 yards for UCLA after starter

Jonathan Franklin went out in the first half with a hip injury.

The Beavers saw the return Saturday of flanker James Rodgers and

tight end Joe Halahuni, who had not played this season because of

injuries.

Rodgers, who has had two surgeries on his left knee, was

formally cleared to play by doctors earlier this week. He was

greeted by a standing ovation when he started, and had a 31-yard

reception on the Beavers’ first series.

“After I caught the first pass, everything went away,” Rodgers

said.

Oregon State went up 3-0 on Trevor Romaine’s 25-yard field goal,

but Brehaut answered for UCLA with a 69-yard pass to Josh Smith

that put the Bruins in position for his 22-yard touchdown pass to

Taylor Embree.

Brehaut ran five yards for another score to put UCLA up

14-3.

Mannion’s fumble on the Beavers’ own 4-yard line led to Jordan

James’ touchdown run for UCLA. But Oregon State narrowed it to

21-10 before the half on Jordan Poyer’s 85-yard punt return. It was

the second-longest such return In Oregon State history. Dwayne

Owens had a 97-yard punt return for OSU against UCLA in 1992.

Romaine opened the second half with a 30-yard field goal for the

Beavers, and the momentum looked to shift in Oregon State’s favor

after Andrew Seumalo blocked a UCLA field goal attempt.

Mannion’s 45-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Bishop pulled Oregon

State within 21-19, but the two-point conversion pass was

intercepted.

The Bruins got more breathing room on Anthony Barr’s 1-yard

scoring dive for the final margin with 6:15 left. Seumalo blocked

the extra point, but the Beavers were unsuccessful on their final

drive.

“Throughout the game we had a bunch of good plays across the

board,” Mannion said. “I feel like we had a chance to win all the

way down to the end.”

Rodgers was ranked sixth in the nation with an average of 176.75

all-purpose yards last season when he was hurt five games into the

season at Arizona. The Beavers asked for and received a fifth year

of eligibility for him.

He was played sparingly, finishing with five catches for 76

yards.

Halahuni, who had six touchdown catches last season, had surgery

this spring on his left shoulder. He had five receptions for 26

yards.

“Obviously it is tough,” Poyer said. “We are 0-3 right now and

no one really expected it. We need to swallow it and move

forward.”