Since the opening thrashing of Rutgers talk has been about Brian Kelly’s offensive schemes and fire power. On Saturday, Kelly and his staff allowed it’s defense to show the Bearcats are more than just an offensive circus.
Led by redshirt freshman Drew Frey’s twelve total tackles and the strong play from the front seven, the Bearcats defense held Oregon State to 344 yards and one touchdown in a 28-18 victory.
Anytime a team from the Midwest or East Coast makes a trip West there is a chance for things to happen. Last year the Bearcats made a long haul to Hawaii and saw how hard it can be to win a road game so far from home.
While there were times early in the game that made you wonder if a let up in a hostile environment was possible, Kelly’s team would answer and do so leaving Beaver fans scratching their heads.
Kelly spoke after the game about the trip.
“We came here to play a Pac-10 team that hadn’t lost 26 straight games. It’s not an easy place to play. It’s a tough trip to make and our kids fought through everything.”
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley knows the game could have taken a different direction early if his team could have converted field goals into touchdowns.
“It is very obvious to all of us now that two field goals instead of two touchdowns early make a major difference in the game. We’ll look back at a lot of stuff and not like it.”
Brian Kelly knows this game will be one that his staff can draw on as the season continues.
“As you proceed though the season, there’s going to be some rough spots and you’re going to have to fight through it. The defense was key obviously in making sure they didn’t convert those two touchdowns while we tried to get ourselves together offensively.”
While quarterback Tony Pike didn’t get off to the fast start he’s seen in the first two games of the season. He know this is a game the offense can draw from.
“It shows a lot of last year compared to this year. We went down early with the crazy, unbelievable crowd. You know, Oregon State is a great team; an obvious top 25 team. We were able to go through some tough times and come back out of them. I believe our defense won this game tonight. We put them in a lot of hard situations early in the game, and they answered.”
Not only did Drew Frey have a great game but so did Walt Stewart who took Curtis Young’s place on the defense after Young went down with a knee injury that will sideline him for 3-6 weeks.
Overall the Bearcats linebacker played a very good game as they recorded 35 total tackles (23 solo) on the night. Andre Revels, J.K. Schaffer, Demetrius Jones, Robby Armstrong and Stewart showed why Brian Kelly was so excited about making the change to the 3-4 defensive scheme.
But until someone slows him down Tony Pike will be the poster child of the Bearcats team. After three games Pike has himself listed next to some of the top signal callers in the country as his hit on over 70% of his passes with a QB efficiency rating of 165.03.
While Mardy Gilyard is Pike’s main target sophomore D.J. Woods continues to show why he was considered such a high recruiting target. On Saturday Woods pulled down 7 balls for 117 yards and a touchdown. For the season Woods has posted 14 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown.
The Bearcats move to 3-0 and will return to Nippert Stadium for a battle against WAC member Fresno State with a noon kickoff set.