Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009 | 12:46 a.m.
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Ryan Greene and Rob Miech break down UNLV's last-second 23-21 defeat at the hands of Oregon State, which was similar to several games the Rebels let slip from their grasp just a year ago. The guys look at what went wrong, and whether you can expect Mike Sanford's club to still have its edge next Saturday when Hawaii comes to town ... and beyond.
- UNLV-OSU box score
- Series of mistakes doom UNLV in 23-21 loss to Oregon State
- James and Jacquizz Rodgers power Oregon State
- Notebook: Clayton’s knee injury not believed to be serious
- Instant analysis: Close game with Oregon State something to build on
- NFL rookie Frank Summers back to support UNLV
- UNLV fan photos
- Opponent: Hawaii
- Date: Sept. 19, 8 p.m.
- Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
- TV: The Mtn., Cox ch. 334
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
They say an offense adopts its quarterback’s attitude in adverse situations, with the game on the line.
No wonder Oregon State never panicked despite how dire the circumstances looked in Saturday night’s 23-21 victory against UNLV.
Senior quarterback Sean Canfield would not let that happen to the Beavers.
“You can’t be like that if you want to win,” Canfield said. “I love being in those situations.”
Canfield went 25-for-31 for 198 yards and two touchdowns against the Rebels. Most importantly, he directed a late, four-minute, 66-yard drive that ended with a 33-yard game-winning field goal from kicker Justin Kahut.
Before UNLV even scored its final touchdown to go ahead 21-20 with 4:16 remaining, Canfield envisioned the drive. He said he told his offense to prepare on the sideline.
“I pulled them aside and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to assume that they’re going to score and it’s going to be on us,’” Canfield said.
That’s exactly what happened. But the drive began worse than Canfield might have imagined.
UNLV senior linebacker Jason Beauchamp sacked Canfield five plays into it to set up a third-and-26 play from Oregon State’s 15-yard line.
Pressure once again got to Canfield and he lofted an incomplete pass toward the UNLV sidelines.
If not for a pass-interference penalty on UNLV’s Deante’ Purvis, the Beavers would have faced fourth and 26.
“That was the most beautiful call of the week,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. “I know that.”
The penalty prolonged the drive and allowed Canfield to shine. The Beavers ran six more plays, all of which were Canfield passes.
He completed five of them, including a 21-yard strike to freshman receiver Jordan Bishop that put the Beavers in field-goal range.
“He made enough big-time throws in there to get the ball down to get us in a position to kick to win the game,” Riley said.
Throughout the last four minutes, Canfield said, he kept reminding himself that he had been in the same situation before.
Canfield has made starts for Oregon State in each of the last two seasons, but injuries have prevented him from holding the job for an entire year.
Last season, he helped Oregon State defeat Arizona 19-17 on a last-second field goal by leading a drive identical to the one Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Canfield knew he could do it again. “It was just a matter of getting it done,” he said.
Canfield put on an efficient performance all night. With sophomore speedster Jacquizz Rodgers in the Beavers’ backfield, Canfield did not need to make spectacular plays.
Instead, the key was not making mistakes while still marching the offense down the field. He perfected that strategy by not throwing any interceptions and only six incomplete passes. Before the final drive, Canfield’s longest completion was only 15 yards.
Canfield trusted that his time would come to lead the Beavers to victory.
That’s how he stayed calm.
“I’m very proud of how our team responded,” Canfield said. “We stayed in it all night.”