Oregon State football primer: Beavers have had limited success
Oklahoma State opens its 2019 season Friday night against Oregon State. It’s the first Cowboys-Beavers matchup ever on the gridiron. Here’s a primer on Oregon State football history.
Conference titles: Five. Outright championships in 1941 and 1956; co-championships in 1957, 1964 and 2000. All were in the Pac-12 or its forerunners (Pac-10, Pac-8, Athletic Association of Western Universities and Pacific Coast).
Bowl record: 9-6. The Beavers have played in three Rose Bowls, losing to Michigan 34-3 in the 1964 season and Iowa 35-19 in the 1956 season, and beating Duke 20-16 in the 1941 Rose Bowl, which was played in Durham, North Carolina, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Oregon State’s most recent bowl game was the 2013 Hawaii Bowl.
Best team: Dennis Erickson’s 2000 team went 11-1, tied for the Pac-12 title and beat Notre Dame 41-9 in the Fiesta Bowl. Those Beavers finished fourth in the AP poll.
Best historical position: The Beavers have produced three big-time NFL wide receivers this century – Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Brandin Cooks.
Greatest player: Quarterback Terry Baker won the 1962 Heisman Trophy. He’s one of only eight consensus all-Americans for the Beavers.
Arch-rival: Oregon. The Ducks have dominated the Civil War of late, winning 10 of 11. But Oregon’s overall series lead is just 65-47-10.
Greatest win: November 18, 2000, when the eighth-ranked Beavers beat fifth-ranked Oregon 23-13. It’s the only game ever in the Civil War when both teams were ranked in the top 10.
Greatest coach: Tommy Prothro, who coached the Beavers 10 seasons, 1955-64, and went 63-37-2, the second-best winning percentage in school history (Erickson had a percentage of .646 from 1999-02). Prothro left for UCLA in 1965 and eventually became coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
Oklahoma connection: Dee Andros, an OU player under Bud Wilkinson in the late 1940s and an Oklahoma City Central High School graduate, coached the Beavers 11 seasons and went 62-80-2 from 1965-75. Andros produced five straight winning seasons, 1966-70, the only in Oregon State history it has produced five straight winning seasons. Andros’ 1970 Beavers beat OU 19-14, the last game the Sooners played before switching to the wishbone.
Biggest upset: Andros’ 1967 team upset top-ranked Southern Cal 3-0. That Trojan team was led by O.J. Simpson and fellow overall No. 1 draft pick Ron Yary. Those Beavers were dubbed the “Giant Killers.” They also beat second-ranked Purdue 22-14 and tied No. 2 UCLA 16-16. All three games came in a 22-day period.
Stadium: Reser Stadium, capacity 45,674, the second-smallest venue in Pac-12 football, ahead of only Washington State. Built in 1954, Reser Stadium has undergone several renovations, most recently in 2007.
City: Corvallis, Oregon, which proclaims itself the best college town in the Pac-12. Which probably isn’t true but is not an absurd statement. Most Pac-12 schools are in major-league cities – Los Angeles, suburban San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Seattle, suburban Phoenix. Plus Tucson, Arizona, is a huge place. So that leaves Pullman, Washington; Boulder, Colorado; or Corvallis. Most people would vote Boulder. Corvallis has a population of an estimated 55,000 and is the westernmost city in the continguous 48 states with at least 50,000 residents.
Career rushing leaders: Ken Simonton holds the Oregon State rushing record, with 5,044 yards from 1998-01. Mighty mite Jacquizz Rodgers was a more recent Beaver star, with 3,877 rushing yards and 1,056 receiving yards from 2008-10.
Career passing leaders: Sean Mannion is the Beavers’ career passing leader, with 13,600 yards from 2011-14. He threw a school record 83 touchdown passes. Derek Anderson was a long-time NFL quarterback who threw for 11,249 yards for Oregon State from 2001-04. And current Beaver head coach Jonathan Smith threw for 9,680 and 55 touchdowns from 1998-01.