Christopher Smith

Oregon State Turns Two Defensive TDs Into Bowl Win

Created on Dec. 24, 2013 11:42 PM EST

For most of the season, Oregon State relied on its passing game to compete. It was the only element in which the team performed well.

On Christmas Eve, though, the Beavers mixed a strong running game with two defensive touchdowns, putting away Boise State early in the first half and cruising to a 38-23 win in the Hawaii Bowl.

Cornerback Rashaad Reynolds returned two fumbles for touchdowns in the first half, the first off a strip-sack by Scott Crichton in the end zone. He also scooped up a ball dislodged by Larry Scott after a Broncos completion and sprinted 70 yards to put Oregon State up, 24-6.

ESPN conducted an awkward phone interview with new Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who proceeded to ignore the broadcast team's attempt to interrupt him to announce the touchdown return.

Terron Ward and Storm Woods bookended halftime with nine-yard touchdown runs and the Beavers built a 38-6 lead midway through the third quarter at a nearly empty Aloha Stadium. Boise State chipped away under interim coach Bob Gregory, scoring the game's final 17 points, but a failed onside kick with less than three minutes to go removed any hope of another unlikely Mountain West Conference comeback against the Pac-12.

The MWC fell to 2-2 in bowl games, three of which have been against Pac-12 teams.

Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 60 yards and a touchdown in the game, which many believe will be his final in an Oregon State uniform. Beavers fans will await an NFL decision from quarterback Sean Mannion, who followed the team's trajectory with a statistically amazing first half before fading during the five-game losing streak, which the team snapped Tuesday.

Grant Hendrick completed 32-of-44 passes for 382 yards and a touchdown, but did cough up the ball on Reynolds' first touchdown. Hendrick played pretty well at quarterback in place of Joe Southwick, whom the team sent home for violating team rules (and subsequently protested in a bizarre public way, claiming to have taken a polygraph test to refute the claims).

Boise State now enters the Bryan Harsin era and will attempt to get back to the top of the Mountain West next year.

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