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Beavers blast Bears, possibly ending Tedford's Cal tenure

The SportsXchange

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State registered its first blowout of the season on a rainy Saturday night at Reser Stadium, but the outcome may end up as a footnote if it turns out to be Jeff Tedford's last game at California.

The 16th-ranked Beavers (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12) welcomed back starting quarterback Sean Mannion, and he threw four touchdown passes in the first half of a 62-14 victory over the Golden Bears.

"I thought he played with confidence and played fast," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said.

The outcome was the most lopsided Oregon State win in its 65-game series with Cal.

The Bears (3-9, 2-7) concluded Tedford's worst season in Berkeley.

Asked whether he thought he would be back for a 12th season, Tedford said: "I don't know."

Tedford turned around a Bears program that was in disarray upon his arrival. He led Cal to eight bowl appearances in the past nine years, plus a tie for the Pac-10 title in 2006.

Mannion, displaced as the Beavers' starter for four of the past five games by Cody Vaz after undergoing a surgical procedure on his left knee, finished 24-for-33 for 325 yards. He wound up with the four touchdown passes and one interception.

Beavers receiver Markus Wheaton caught seven passes for 99 yards and a score, while Oregon State running back Terron Ward produced 128 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

"I thought it was a great reaction to losing last week's game (at Stanford)," Riley said. "I was proud of the guys because they had a great week of practice."

It was a dreadful night for Cal, which incurred 15 penalties totaling 172 yards. On top of that, Oregon State's offense rolled for 559 yards. Cal also lost three fumbles, and quarterback Allan Bridgford threw an interception.

Among the few highlights for the Bears was running back Isi Sofele gaining 104 yards on 18 carries.

"We had way too many penalties and turnovers," Tedford said. "I really don't believe it's a lack of effort. I don't think they ever quit. They were just outmatched tonight."

Mannion wasted little time reasserting himself into the starting role for Oregon State. He connected with Wheaton on a 48-yard pass on the Beavers' first play from scrimmage and was 18-for-23 for 239 yards by halftime.

The Beavers had 333 total yards and led 35-7 at the break.

Many at Reser Stadium were also closely monitoring rival Oregon's close game against Stanford. Within seconds of Mannion's 48-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks early in the second quarter, the Cardinal made a field goal to deal the Ducks their first loss of the season.

The crowd's ovation for Cooks exploded into a roar when the final score from Eugene was announced.

Next week, the second-ranked Ducks come to Corvallis for the annual Civil War in a game with potential BCS implications.

"It should be a great matchup, as good as it gets," Riley said. "Some of the best football in the country is being played in the state, and it's something we can all be proud of."

Cal put together one of its best drives of the season, going 82 yards on nine plays to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:30 to go in the first quarter. Sofele scored on a 9-yard run.

However, Oregon State responded quickly, and often, scoring six touchdowns in a row to build a 49-7 lead in the third quarter.

"I think it was a good team win," Mannion said. "I think we did a good job of getting started. We never settled for a field goal, and that was a big thing. It's something we've had to do in the past, and we did a good job addressing it tonight."

Wheaton added, "We will get back out there tomorrow and prepare for the next week. Next week, it is unexplainable how much it means to me."

Regardless of the outcome of the Civil War, the Beavers won't be the Pac-12 North champion. Stanford and Oregon are both 7-1 in conference play, a game ahead of Oregon State, so a Stanford loss (at UCLA) and an Oregon State win would create a three-way tie for the division title. Stanford would win the tiebreaker, having beating both teams from the Beaver State.

NOTES: Cooks, a Biletnikoff Award finalist, left the game in the second quarter after taking a hit to the head. He finished with two catches for 60 yards. ... Oregon State has won 11 of its last 14 games against Cal. ... Beavers defensive back Jordan Poyer made his sixth interception of the season in the first quarter. ... Oregon State's 62 points were the third most ever scored by a Cal opponent.
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