CORVALLIS, Ore. — Jordan Poyer had three interceptions, Sean Mannion passed for 270 yards and No. 14 Oregon State survived a shaky start with a 19-6 win over Washington State Saturday.
Markus Wheaton had 95 yards receiving and a touchdown but it was the Beavers defense which kept the Cougars at arm’s length on the day when Mannion, who threw three interceptions, was more down than up.
Oregon State (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) has surpassed its win total from all of 2011, but many in the school-record crowd of 46,579 were left shaking their heads at penalties and turnovers as the offense sputtered. Mannion completed 25 of 42 passes and was sacked three times.
The Beavers are 4-0 for the first time since 2002.
Jeff Tuel was 11 of 17 for 126 yards after replacing Connor Halliday, who threw three interceptions in just over one half of action. However, Tuel’s telegraphed pass that led to Poyer’s interception ended the threat for Washington State. Marquess Wilson had four catches for 54 yards to lead the Cougars (2-4, 0-3). Halliday was 9-for-20 passing.
Turnovers kept the Cougars from gaining a foothold as they continue to implement new coach Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense. Oregon State kept both Halliday and Tuel on the run, forcing four interceptions and a fumble. Defensive end Scott Crichton was in the backfield all game, tallying three sacks.
Mannion was named Pac-12 offensive player of the week after throwing for 433 yards last week in a 38-35 win over Arizona, but he was not sharp to start the game, throwing two interceptions early.
The Beavers had another promising drive stopped when they failed to convert a fourth-and-2 at the Washington State 24. The Beavers had to settle for Trevor Romaine’s two field goals and a 6-3 halftime lead.
Mannion showed more poise in the second half. He marched the Beavers down the field for a 75-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter, hitting Wheaton for a 12-yard touchdown pass. In the fourth, he generated an efficient time-consuming 86-yard drive that Tyler Anderson capped with a one-yard run.
Helped out by two 15-yard Oregon State penalties, Tuel completed 5 of 7 passes on a drive early in the fourth, but the drive ended in an Andrew Forney 32-yard field as Wazzu never did get in the end zone.