September 23, 2012
Reilly, Beavers chew on Bruins
By TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency
Are you swelling with a little bit of patriotic pride after Saturday's NCAA football action?
Hard not to cheer on the Oregon State Beavers if you're Canadian, eh?
And it's not simply because of that national symbol we love so much on our nickel.
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley is a former CFL sidelines boss. His name is synonymous with success in Winnipeg, where, at age 33, he became the youngest head coach in CFL history in 1987. He led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to two Grey Cups during his four seasons in the Manitoba capital.
Riley's dad, Bud, was also boss of the Bombers back in the '70s for four seasons, was head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a season-and-a-half ('82-83) and was player personnel director ('85-87) and interim head coach ('85) of the Calgary Stampeders. Bud, who passed away in August, was an assistant with the Saskatchewan Roughriders ('73), the Toronto Argonauts ('78), the Tiger-Cats ('81) and the Edmonton Eskimos ('85).
So it's always good to see Riley, also a former NFL head coach, have success in the college ranks.
Even better is that these Beavers are bona fide, as evidenced by a surprise 2-0 record so far this season.
Saturday's sneak attack to beat the host No. 19-ranked UCLA Bruins (3-1) 27-20 in Pasadena, Calif., was the latest upset by Riley & Co.
That follows a thrilling 10-7 win two weeks ago in Corvallis, Ore., over the heavily favoured Wisconsin Badgers, then a top-25 ranked team with an outside shot to be a national contender. Nobody knew what to make of the Beavers — who went an ugly 3-9 in 2011 and 5-7 in 2010 — before they knocked off the Badgers in an emotional tilt and added a second triumph on the road against a UCLA unit that's been making big noise of its own early in the campaign.
But Riley's defence has been devastating, limiting the Bruins to just 20 points Saturday after they'd put up at least 35 points in their first three games. They shut down the nation's leading rusher, Johnathan Franklin, who collected just 45 yards on 12 carries.
"It was an awesome job by our defence — I thought they just kept playing and playing," Riley told ESPN post-game. "We gave up one big play. But besides that, I thought it was a nice, awesome job by our defence.
"We're 2-0, and we'll just keep trying to get better. I like this team — they've been working really hard. i thought this was a great win for the Beavers to come down here to the Rose Bowl and beat these (UCLA) guys, who were undefeated and had some big wins. I really liked how our team played."
Riley, with a 74-63 record, has tied Lon Stiner (1928-1932, 1933-1948) as the all-time winningest coach at Oregon State.
"That's a stat, and I love it," Riley added. "Because it means we've been there for awhile. It means a lot to me that way. I'm very thankful for my time at Oregon State. We're just going to make it longer."
Keep playing like this and it'll be a quite a long time for Riley in Corvallis.
Talk about domination. That's 26 straight 'W's for Florida (4-0) over Kentucky (1-3) after a 38-0 shutdown. Pundits are putting No. 4 Florida State in the national championship picture. I'm thinking the No. 14 Gators, who got 203 passing yards Saturday from ever-improving sophomore pivot Jeff Driskel, are tops in FLA. We may not find that out until Nov. 24, when the Gators and the Seminoles hook up in Tallahassee, Fla … Welcome to life on the road in the SEC, Missouri. How did ya like getting popped in the mouth by No. 7 South Carolina 31-10? Offensively strong Mizzou (2-2), which is 0-2 vs. SEC teams, was held to a season-low 254 yards by Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks (4-0). It's gonna be a long first SEC campaign for the Tigers … How good is Wisconsin? Not very. The Badgers, who've been sketchy in putting up a 3-1 record, escaped with a 37-26 homefield victory over lesser-lite Texas-El Paso (1-3). Tough afternoon for Wisconsin wrecking-ball Montee Ball, who lost his first fumble in four years of college football then suffered a concussion. The head injury took Ball out of the game after just nine carries and 40 yards … Brandon Carter made a couple of dynamite catches for No. 17 TCU (3-0) in a 27-7 win over visiting Virginia (2-2). The Horned Frogs receiver pulled in five passes for 128 yards, including a one-handed grab that turned into a 68-yard pass-and run TD … Upset of the day — Georgia Tech losing 42-36 to Miami. It was more the way the Yellow Jackets lost it which was upsetting — blowing a 36-19 second-half lead, which included allowing a late 90-yard TD drive, and getting stuffed on 4th-and-1 at the Hurricanes two-yard line in OT. Ouch!
Do not adjust your set — those really were the true colours of Maryland and West Virginia. Basically, it was the all-grey Mountaineers against the all-white-with-silver-trim Terrapins. TV halftime commentators hated at least one set of uniforms — not sure which one — but I thought both were kind of funky. Together, though, it was tough on the eyes … BTW, No. 8 West Virginia (3-0) topped the Terps (2-2) 31-21. While it wasn't a dominating day for the Mountaineers, sudden Heisman-favourite Geno Smith was super again with a 30-of-43 passing day for 338 yards, three TDs and no INTs … Speaking of Heisman Trophy hopefuls, my pick for the future, Ohio State QB Braxton Miller, was less than spectacular in a 29-15 takedown of sad-sack UAB (0-3). The No. 16 Buckeyes (4-0) got just 204 total yards, including a mere 143 through the air, from sophomore Miller … I'm thinking No. 21 Michigan State supporters should be concerned, especially with the Spartans offence, after another so-so effort. State had to pull a 23-7 win out of the fire, with two fourth-quarter TDs, after cupcake Eastern Michigan led 7-3 at halftime. The Spartans could easily drop out of the polls Sunday … At the very least, No 25 Nebraska should climb over Michigan State in the top 25 after thumping Idaho State 73-7.
On Twitter: @SUNToddSaelhof