Beavs' undefeated season ends in Seattle

MIKE RILEY

OREGON STATE WAS out of sorts in the first half. But a strong end to the third quarter had Oregon State right where they needed to be, in a tie game and with momentum on their side. Alas, for Beaver fans, 'Ol Mo shifted one more time and the Beavs lost their first game of the 2012 season.

Washington beat Oregon State 20-17 in Seattle on Saturday night.

Penalties, injuries and pulling the starting quarterback were all on center display.

The Beavs didn't wrap up in the first half, and UW running back Bishop Sankey made them pay.

Sean Mannion, in his first game back from a torn meniscus, never found his groove.

And losing Markus Wheaton in the first half to injury was big.

Oregon State benefited all told from the penalties called during the game, but the biggest one for the Beavs -- a play the almost always sanguine Mike Riley took major exception to on fourth-and-forever with seconds left on the clock -- was never called.

Let's be clear -- Oregon State shouldn't have needed that flag that was never thrown to win this one.

Yes, it was a bad no-call. But OSU lost the game long before that.

MANNION THREW FOUR interceptions -- not all of them were his fault. But the last two were particularly damning to the Beavs' cause.

And the defense, for as much as they forced UW to punt, didn't take over the game as Beaver fans have seen so many times before.

Absent were the game-defining plays, the turnovers, the great one-on-one tackles.

IT WAS A team loss -- don't forget the Mannion passes that were on target in the first half that ended up drops. And it's one that will sting for awhile.

But at the end of the day, a few truths still hold...

Oregon State still controls its destiny in the Pac-12 North.

And this is a team that is still 6-1 -- and will be ranked in the Top 20 (if not the Top 15) -- that the media picked to finish dead last in the Pac-12 North.

Next Saturday against ASU will be high noon.

Will Cody Vaz, who at the end of the fourth quarter engineered a near comeback for the ages, be the starter or will it be Mannion?

Will the defense get back to their run-stopping, larcenous and momentum-turning ways?

Will the offense see a return to their big-play ways?

Don't know about you but it's hard not to feel as if there is still far better yet to come this season.

Game on.

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