CORVALLIS, Ore. — Sean Mannion threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, Oregon State’s defense smothered Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and the Beavers upset the No. 13 Badgers 10-7 on Saturday.
Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks on a 20-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half to give the Beavers a 10-0 lead then turned it over to the Oregon State (1-0) defense that forced two turnovers and held Ball to 61 yards rushing.
The win snapped Wisconsin’s 33-game non-conference winning streak, the second-longest in the country behind LSU.
Wisconsin finished with 207 yards and only 35 on the ground. It was the lowest total yards for Wisconsin in five years. The previous non-conference loss for Wisconsin (1-1) came early in the 2003 season when the Badgers lost to UNLV.
It took 41 years for a Big Ten team to visit Corvallis after Iowa was handed a 33-19 loss in 1971. With this kind of reception from the Beavers, it might be 41 more.
Billed as the biggest non-conference home game in the school’s history, the Beavers responded with a stellar defensive effort that made up for missed chances by the Oregon State offense. Oregon State outgained the Badgers 354-207 and had an 11-minute advantage in time of possession.
Wisconsin quarterback Danny O’Brien led one final drive, hitting Jacob Pedersen on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:31 left that kept the Badgers from being shut out for the first time in 15 years.
The onside kick was smartly executed by Wisconsin kicker Kyle French, who hit it with his left foot and was initially ruled to have recovered it at the Badgers 46. The play was reviewed and determined that French touched the ball before it went 10 yards giving possession to the Beavers.
Mannion knelt down three times and the upset was complete with the orange-clad Beavers fans racing from the stands and covering the Reser Stadium turf as the final seconds ticked away.
Oregon State’s scheduled opener against FCS Nicholls State was postponed when Hurricane Isaac made it difficult for the Louisiana school to make the trip to the Northwest. Coach Mike Riley joked this week his team went through the world’s longest training camp.
Mannion was efficient using short passes to make up for Oregon State’s struggles running. Mannion completed 29 of 47 passes and four times in the first half led the Beavers inside the Wisconsin 35 only to come away with a 43-yard field goal from Trevor Romaine. Markus Wheaton had eight catches for 87 yards and Cooks had six for 80.
The concerns that arose last week in the Badgers’ 26-21 win over Northern Iowa reappeared. Wisconsin struggled to run against the FCS squad and needed a strong performance from O’Brien and receiver Jared Abbrederis to stop the Panthers. Ball had 120 yards rushing against Northern Iowa, but needed 32 carries to get it.
Ball was clogged up all day by the Beavers and O’Brien failed to make enough plays. He finished 20 of 38 for 172 yards and was sacked three times.
It didn’t help O’Brien that Abbrederis missed the final 2½ quarters with a chest injury. He was hurt when he got sandwiched by Oregon State’s Rueben Robinson and Feti Taumoepeau on a crossing route. Abbrederis was taken to the locker room and about 20 minutes later walked under his own power to an ambulance. A school spokesman said Abbrederis was transferred to a hospital for evaluation.
Wisconsin tried to turn the momentum midway through the third quarter only to have the Beavers defense come up with a huge play. Oregon State walk-on punter Keith Kostol dropped a perfect snap and was tackled for a 16-yard loss giving the Badgers the ball at the Oregon State 36.
An 11-yard pass to Pedersen got the Badgers to the Beavers 11, but on second down O’Brien held the ball too long and was sacked from behind by Dylan Wynn, knocking the ball loose and defensive end Scott Crichton fell on it at the 21.