No. 25 Oregon St. 35, Louisville 28
Jacquizz Rodgers and the Oregon State offense are back in sync. The Beavers' defense is still adjusting.
Rodgers ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns but the No. 25 Beavers let Louisville get too close for comfort in a 35-28 victory Saturday. The Cardinals managed 453 offensive yards and hung around until James Dockery's late-game interception.
''It was too close for our first (home) game,'' Dockery said. ''We practiced really hard and were expecting a better result. But they were a really good team.''
For the second straight game, a mobile, experienced quarterback gave Oregon State trouble. Louisville senior QB Adam Froman threw for 288 yards, ran for 46 and led a Louisville rally from a 35-14 deficit. Andy Dalton of TCU also challenged the Beavers with his arm and feet in Oregon State's 30-21 loss to the then-No. 6 Horned Frogs in their first game.
Another challenge comes next week with No. 3 Boise State and speedy playmaking quarterback Kellen Moore.
''We have got to do a better job of containing the quarterback,'' Dockery said. ''We've got to go back to work on tackling.''
Rodgers ran for just 75 yards against TCU and failed to catch a pass. Oregon State (1-1) had lost three in a row dating to last season and in each game the Beavers' star tailback had failed to run for 100 yards. Rodgers averaged 111 yards rushing last season and is the subject of a Heisman campaign. Getting Rodgers on track opened up the game for the Beavers who led 35-14 with 9:28 left in the third quarter.
Louisville (1-2) had a final chance to tie or win the game and was driving at the Beavers' 49 with under a minute left but Froman's errant pass to Dockery ended the threat. Doug Beaumont had nine catches for 121 yards, and Bilal Powell had 83 yards rushing.
The Beavers won their ninth straight home opener. Sophomore QB Ryan Katz was 15-of-26 passing for 142 yards and two TDs.
Louisville marched down the field on its first two possessions - gaining 100 yards of offense - but squandered both chances to take an early lead. On the first drive the Beavers stuffed Powell on a fourth and one from the 2. On the second drive, Froman ran 12 yards on a quarterback keeper but had the ball punched out of his hands and out of the back of the end zone just a foot from the goal line.
Katz found tight end Joe Halahuni for a three-yard touchdown pass to put the Beavers up 7-0 just before the end of the first quarter. Froman kept the ball on an option and ran 17 yards for a touchdown to tie the score.
Rodgers ran for two touchdowns and caught a third for the Beavers. After Rodgers took a direct snap and handed off to split end Markus Wheaton for a 28-yard score, the Beavers appeared to be in the driver's seat with a 35-14 lead. But Froman ran for a 5-yard touchdown and connected with Cameron Graham for another one that got Louisville within seven. They wouldn't get any closer.
''You can be proud when you come out and battle right to the very end,'' Froman said. ''We scrapped and fought and guys just played their hearts out for the entire game.''
Louisville dominated Oregon State 63-27 when the two teams met for the first time in 2005. However, that was two coaching regimes ago, under Bobby Petrino. Strong replaced the fired Steve Kragthorpe this season. The Cardinals lost to Kentucky 23-16 in their first game but beat Eastern Kentucky last week.