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The opponent’s view: Beavers seeking out positives with Wildcats on horizon

NOTE: This is an Oregon State story from Gary Horowitz of the Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal, one of our Gannett partners. Here is a link for more coverage of the Beavers from the newspaper.

Oregon State isn’t the only winless team in college football, but the Beavers have the dubious distinction of being the only team from one of the six Bowl Championship series automatic qualifying conferences without a victory.

Five schools from conferences whose champions do not automatically qualify —Miami (Ohio), UAB, New Mexico, Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky — also are searching for their first win.

The Beavers, who were off Monday, return to practice today in preparation for Saturday’s matchup against Arizona.

OSU had a 13-0 lead last Saturday at Arizona State but lost 35-20, extending its losing streak to six games dating to last season’s USC game.

Coach Mike Riley pointed to positives such as the defensive line play and creating turnovers (four). But the Beavers had five turnovers of their own and special teams breakdowns.

“You’ve got to look at both sides,” Riley said. “There were some good things in the game.”

Cornerback Jordan Poyer epitomized the mixed bag for OSU. He had two interceptions, but his fumble on a punt return led to an ASU touchdown.

The bottom line is it was another defeat for the Beavers.

“There are not really any words to pretty it up,” Poyer said. “A loss is a loss, and we are going to see what we can do from here.”

The Beavers probably are going to need more balance offensively to get over the hump.

Quarterback Sean Mannion set a single-game school record with 66 pass attempts against the Sun Devils, and the Beavers had just 14 running plays, including three sacks of Mannion.

“Our coaches are calling plays that are going to work and we just need to execute them better, me especially,” Mannion said.

Wildcats down but not out: On the surface, you might think that Arizona is the ideal opponent to play for a team looking for its first win.

The Wildcats have lost four games in a row and have given up an average of 52 points per game during that span. But three of those defeats — Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon —came against teams ranked in the top 10.

In Saturday’s 48-41 loss at USC, the Wildcats overcame a 34-12 deficit to make the game close in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Nick Foles, who ranks fifth in the nation in total offense, threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns.

“They’re never out of it the way they can throw the ball,” Riley said.

Wheaton putting up numbers: Split end Markus Wheaton had 11 receptions for 116 yards in the ASU game. It was Wheaton’s second-career game with at least 10 catches, and fourth 100-yard receiving game.

Wheaton is tied for 11th nationally with an average of eight receptions per game.

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