for this game

Defense dominant as Oregon State blanks Pittsburgh

Jan 1, 2009 - 6:11 AM EL PASO, Texas (Ticker) -- Oregon State was without more than 40 percent of its offense, so the defense picked up the slack for the 25th-ranked Beavers.

Justin Kahut accounted for the game's only points with a 44-yard field goal late in the second quarter as Oregon State blanked No. 21 Pittsburgh, 3-0, Wednesday in the Sun Bowl.

Kahut also missed two field goals for the Beavers (9-4), who overcame the absence of freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers and sophomore wide receiver James Rodgers.

Jacquizz Rodgers, the Pac-10 Conference's second-leading rusher, sat out the game with a broken shoulder blade, while James Rodgers was sidelined with a broken collarbone.

"We have a lot of athletes who can step in," quarterback Lyle Moevao said. "Without those guys, it was definitely a big loss but we were still able to manage the game."

It was lowest-scoring Sun Bowl since Catholic and Arizona State battled to a scoreless tie in 1940.

The teams combined for 19 punts, still far short of the Sun Bowl record of 29 set in the inaugural game in 1936.

"That's the game we were in," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "We played that game. We ended up winning it. Some people will call it ugly, but I can't."

With the offense doing nothing, Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt sent Connor Lee into attempt a 58-yard field goal with just over two minutes remaining. Lee's kick fell just short and also was slightly off to the right.

"I think it summed it up when it was 4th-and-8 and I had more confidence kicking a 58-yard field goal than going for it," Wannstedt told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"I did feel like Connor could make it, I did not feel like our offense could, and when you are 2-of-15 on third down, I felt like I needed to give our team the best chance to win."

Oregon State's defensive effort came a month after it surrendered a school-record 694 yards in a 65-38 loss to Oregon that cost the Beavers a spot in the Rose Bowl.

On Wednesday, Oregon State allowed under 200 yards as Pittsburgh's deepest penetration was Oregon State's 37 early in the fourth quarter. However, that drive ended with a fumble.

Pittsburgh quarterback Bill Stull, who completed 7-of-24 passes for a meager 52 yards, was benched for the Panthers' final two series with a hand injury.

"Things just didn't click, but I blame myself for playing (so poorly)," Stull told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"This is the worst game I ever played in my life. It is just horrible, I feel sorry that my teammates had to be a part of the way I played and I feel so sorry for the seniors."

Backup Pat Bostick completed passes of 20 and 16 yards to Dorin Dickerson as the Panthers reached their 49-yard line on their final possession. However, Bostick was sacked to end the game.

End Victor Butler spearheaded Oregon State's defensive effort with 11 tackles, including four sacks, and also recovered a fumble and forced another one.

Moevao completed 21-of-42 passes for 193 yards, but was intercepted twice.

After Kahut's field goal with 2:18 left in the half, the Beavers forced a three-and-out and strung together a 13-play, 61-yard drive as Moevao executed the two-minute offense. However, Oregon State came away empty he was intercepted in the end zone by linebacker Scott McKillop.

LeSean McCoy accounted for nearly half of Pittsburgh's offense, rushing for 85 yards on 24 carries.

"We couldn't get anything on offense started at all," McCoy said. "We played horribly."

Pittsburgh was denied its first 10-win season since 1981, when Jackie Sherrill guided the Panthers to an 11-1 record.