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California uses fast start, stout defense to take a bite out of Oregon State.

Byline: Bob Rodman The Register-Guard

CORVALLIS - His right arm bandaged and bleeding, Oregon State strong safety Sabby Piscitelli didn't seem so strong and not nearly as safe.

But that's what getting your collective football hat handed to you can do.

California, ranked No. 20 in the country and a country mile better than the Beavers this day, were as dominant on Saturday's warm and clear afternoon as they were the last time the Bears visited Reser Stadium two years ago.

This time it was 41-13; then it was 49-7.

Sophomore quarterback Nate Longshore threw for 341 yards and for the third time in four games this season connected on four touchdown passes.

Marshawn Lynch was the second of Cal's one-two punch, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown and scoring twice more on receptions.

"It hurts," said Piscitelli, who had a team-high nine tackles and his 13th career interception, "it hurts emotionally and physically.

"This team has a little bit of a gut-check to do."

Cal sped off to its fourth straight win and a 4-1 overall record, 2-0 in the Pac-10.

The Beavers slipped to 2-2 for the season, 0-1 in the Pac-10 - the fifth loss in their past six league openers - with Washington State coming to town next Saturday.

"What happened?" OSU coach Mike Riley was asked in the aftermath of the second time this season his team has been beaten by 28 points (the other was a 42-14 loss at Boise State).

"What happened was the start by Cal," Riley said. "They did a great job in the first half."

They did a great number on Oregon State, scoring 21 first-quarter points and would have owned a first-half shutout save for Alexis Serna's school-record tying 58-yard field goal as the second quarter ended.

An announced crowd of 39,309 began easing its way out of Reser midway through the third quarter.

"It's a little disconcerting to see," said OSU tight end Joe Newton, who had five catches for a team-high 84 yards, "but you can't worry about that."

The Bears, who scored on each of their five first-half possessions, didn't.

Cal did not punt until the six-minute mark of the third quarter and had an 8-of-13 third-down conversion rate, including 5-of-6 in the first half.

"We came out pretty strong in the first half," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford, whose defense held Oregon State to 8 yards rushing through the first 30 minutes.

Cal, the best red-zone team in the Pac-10, usually bypassed OSU's 20-yard, last line of defense, scoring on touchdown drives of 64, 85, 74, 80 and 80 yards that only once needed to finish from the red zone - Lynch's 15-yard run in the first quarter.

How frustrating was it for the Beavers?

"Real frustrating," said Yvenson Bernard, the OSU tailback who managed to get just 21 of his 74 yards rushing in the first half.

"There was frustration as soon as they scored 28 points. We were just shocked. It happened so quickly."

It was Bernard's fumble on the Cal 12-yard line midway through the first quarter that put a dagger in Oregon State's attempt to recover from the Bears' touchdown in the first two minutes of the game.

"That was the tip of the iceberg," Riley said, "but I don't want to minimize how much Cal dominated."

How dominant were the Bears?

Longshore's 341 yards passing were 41 more yards than Oregon State's total offense.

Lynch's 106 rushing yards were nearly twice OSU's run total of 56.

Lavelle Hawkins, who had 67 yards in receptions on Cal's 64-yard first scoring drive, finished with six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.

The Beavers' pass defense, ranked first in the Pac-10 after yielding an average of 124 yards and only one touchdown in the first three games, failed to pass its first major test.

OSU starting quarterback Matt Moore's numbers were nice enough with 18-of-27 passing for 187 yards and no interceptions, but he was sacked three times and did not throw a touchdown pass in a game for the first time this season.

He was replaced at the start of the fourth quarter by redshirt freshman signal-caller Sean Canfield.

"I think we were efficient offensively," Moore said, "but we just didn't get in the end zone. There were some unfortunate events."

Like that Bernard fumble? It was the third time in OSU's first four games that he lost a fumble.

"That stuff happens," Moore said. "You can't blame anybody. You've got to come back from that."

But the Beavers did not.

Cal scored on five of its next six possessions.

Oregon State answered with little fanfare, pairing two Serna field goals with Bernard's 5-yard scoring run for its points.

Now what? Washington State.

"It's another huge game," Bernard said. "Like all the games, it will be a dogfight."

The Beavers know all too well after just being bitten.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Previous Article:No doubt about it.
Next Article:OSU women run to victory.

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