Oregon State 10, Wisconsin 7
CORVALLIS, Ore. — An Oregon State defense that ranked 84th nationally in 2011 turned in an improbable performance against No. 13 Wisconsin on Saturday, leading the Beavers to a 10-7 upset victory.
The students emptied the stands at Reser Stadium and rushed onto field as Oregon State (1-0) survived a stressful final couple of minutes before pulling out the win.
Wisconsin (1-1) scored its first points with 1:31 remaining on a Danny O’Brien-to-Jacob Pedersen 11-yard touchdown pass.
The Badgers then tried an onside kick that placekicker Kyle French appeared to gather himself. However, officials reviewed the replay and overruled the call on the field, judging that French touched the ball before it advanced 10 yards.
That was all Oregon State needed. The Beavers took a couple of snaps and ran out the clock to end the Badgers’ 33-game non-conference winning streak.
Last year at Camp Randall Stadium in Wisconsin, the Badgers drilled Oregon State 35-0. The teams went in different directions after that. Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl. Oregon State staggered to a 3-9 season.
This time, Oregon State held Wisconsin and its vaunted power running game to 35 yards rushing.
Wisconsin converted two fourth-and-shorts on a drive late in the fourth quarter, but O’Brien’s fourth-down pass from the Beavers’ 35 with 4:28 left was incomplete.
Earlier, O’Brien was stuffed on a sneak attempt on fourth-and-1 in Oregon State territory with 11:07 left.
Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks on a 20-yard touchdown pass on third-and-7 with 9:33 left in the third quarter. The extra point made it 10-0 Oregon State. And at the time, the Beavers had a 334-64 advantage in total yards.
The momentum wobbled a bit after that as both offenses struggled to make headway. Oregon State punter Keith Kostol dropped a snap was and buried for a huge loss. Then Wisconsin drove to the Oregon State 11, but O’Brien was hit by the Beavers’ Dylan Wynn, fumbled the ball, and the Beavers’ Scott Crichton recovered it.
After Oregon State postponed its scheduled opener last week because Nicholls State was pinned down by Hurricane Isaac, few knew what to expect of a Beavers team expected to be marginally better than last year.
Saturday was also the first time since 1971 that a team from the Big Ten Conference visited Corvallis.
Wisconsin was the highest ranked non-conference opponent to come to Corvallis in 35 years, when the Beavers knocked off No. 13 BYU 24-19 on Oct. 8, 1977.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin’s Heisman Trophy candidate, finished with 60 yards on 15 carries. He had 39 touchdowns in 2011, but he was held scoreless by the Beavers.
Mannion, a sophomore, led the Oregon State offense by completing 30 of 48 passes for 285 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
NOTES: Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis took a hard hit over the middle and left the game in the second quarter. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be examined for a chest injury. … Oregon State’s last win over a top-25 opponent was Nov. 10, 2010, when the Beavers beat No. 20 USC. … Oregon State defeated a Big Ten opponent for the first time since 1978, at Minnesota. … Wisconsin, which produced 206 yards of offense, narrowly avoided being shut out for the first time since 1997.