Oregon State fell for just the second time in its last seven games on Saturday night, dropping a hard-fought 31-27 game to Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Both the Beavers and the Longhorns finish the season with 9-4 records.
We've graded each position for the Beavers on their performance in the Alamo Bowl. Let's dive in.
Cody Vaz had a night to forget, turning the ball over three times and tacking far too many sacks. He was under pressure for much of the night, but held on to the ball too long without simply throwing it away.
Oregon State took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, but sacks helped swing momentum in favor of the Longhorns. Vaz's performance will not help him heading into the offseason quarterback battle between him and Sean Mannion.
Vaz finished 15-28 for 194 yards with a pair of interceptions.
Storm Woods was tremendous throughout the hotly-contested game, finishing with 118 yards on the ground and a 22-yard pass reception that helped set up one of his two rushing touchdowns.
Terron Ward added a nine-yard touchdown on one of his six carries.
When your top rusher averages almost six yards per carry, you expect to win the game. Unfortunately for the Beavers, that didn't happen.
The Oregon State passing game never got into rhythm on Saturday night, due to heavy pressure on Cody Vaz and a strong performance from the Texas secondary. The dynamic duo of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks was held to just six combined catches for 68 yards.
Wheaton had one very impressive catch for a first down on a low throw from Vaz, but the duo struggled to shake the tight coverage of Texas cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs.
Conor Hamlett was the star of the first half, catching four passes for 68 yards. He added a short reception in the second half to finish with 70 yards on the night.
Oregon State's screen game was effective all game long, and Hamlett was the early beneficiary. He wasn't targeted much late ni the game, a mistake that will haunt the Beavers coaches when they look at the film.
When an opposing player has 4 1/2 sacks, as Texas defensive end Alex Okafor did, it's hard to say anything positive about the Oregon State offensive line. However, the unit was opening up huge holes for the running game for much of the night.
The unit eventually wore down with the heavy pressure that Longhorns defensive coordinator brought for most of the game. The run blocking was solid, but when moving backwards, it was an abysmal performance from the Beavers offensive line.
The short-handed unit shut down the Texas running game, but grew weary late in the game, failing to get any sort of pressure on David Ash. The numbers look good, however, as other than a 64-yard reverse, Texas had just 53 yards rushing.
Andrew Seumalo had a key hurry on David Ash late in the third quarter that led to an errant throw and an interception. It appeared to stall the Longhorns momentum, but it turned out to do so only temporarily.
Again, the front seven did just fine against three talented Texas running backs. However, it did let David Ash be an effective runner in the second half when the Longhorns shifted to an up-tempo offense.
Feti Unga was the beneficiairy of a poor throw from Ash late in the third quarter, recording a key interception that led to a touchdown.
It was not a great night for a strong Oregon State secondary led by All-American Jordan Poyer, as two fourth-quarter touchdown passes allowed Texas to rally from a 10-point deficit.
Sean Martin was no match for Marquise Goodwin on the game-winning touchdown pass, as the Olympic sprinter blew past the helpless Martin. Even Poyer had an off night, as he was late covering a few third down passes that were completed to move the chains.
Oregon State did block a field goal and sniff out a fake punt, but the special teams unit still left a little something to be desired. A poor punt allowed Texas' eventual game-winning drive to begin at midfield, and the return game was contained.
Special teams did more help than harm on Saturday night, but it didn't do enough to swing the game in the Beavers' favor.
Oregon State kept the Texas defense off-balance for the first three quarters, using screens to combat the blitz-heavy Longhorns game plan. However, Cody Vaz never looked comfortable, and it's only natural to question if making a switch to Sean Mannion would have given the Beavers a better chance to win.
Clock mismanagement late in the first half likely cost Oregon State three crucial points, and the defense struggled to adjust to the up-tempo offense that Texas moved to in the second half. For a coach like Mike Riley who has so often done more with less, this was far from his finest hour.