BERKELEY, California - A career game by Oregon State running back Yvenson Bernard allowed Oregon State to maintain its dominance over California.
A sophomore, Bernard established career highs with 42 carries and 194 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 6:41 left as the Beavers posted a 23-20 triumph over the 18th-ranked Golden Bears in a Pac-10 Conference contest.
Bernard scored two touchdowns for Oregon State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-10), which has won five of the last six meetings against Cal and the last four in Berkeley. The Golden Bears had won 10 in a row at home since losing to the Beavers two years ago.
From the opening snap, the Beavers played better than their hosts. However, they could not take advantage in the early going as they drove deep in to Bears territory twice in the opening quarter only to come away with two field goals.
"Our team is pretty tough minded, we've been through a lot," said winning coach, Mike Riley, in his second stint as the Beavers coach. "We fought back in two of the best comebacks that I've been involved in. Out team never thought we couldn't stop them, and that we couldn't move the ball. With the fumble that was rule a touchback in the end zone, that can be very disheartening. I don't think our players let that get to them."
A number of things went wrong early for the Bears. Junior defensive tackle star Brandon Mebane and senior offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan both missed considerable parts of the game. Freshman wideout DeSean Jackson missed time with a shoulder injury and sophomore Marshawn Lynch was benched for fumbling twice - partially due to the big cast covering his thumb.
Beyond the injuries, Cal simply didn't play well. Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob, who completed just 13-of-39 passes for 219 yards and two interceptions, was on the receiving end of a 21-yard TD pass from tailback Lynch on the opening play of the second quarter. Ayoob then connected with Jackson for a six-yard TD with just over four minutes left in the half to make it 14-6.
After Oregon State kicker Alexis Serna hit his third field goal at the end of the first half, Bernard capped an 80-yard drive to open the third quarter with a 31-yard burst down the sideline to give Oregon State a 16-14 edge.
Bernard had a costly fumble in the end zone result in a touchback later in the third quarter. Ayoob capped the ensuing drive with a four-yard TD run but his pass on the two-point conversion fell incomplete to leave Cal ahead by just 20-16.
But Bernard made amends with his 11-yard TD burst in the fourth quarter to give the Beavers the lead for good. Cal had two fruitless possessions down the stretch.
"They did a good job pressuring our offensive line," said Ayoob after the game. "I always expect to get hit, I'm the quarterback - you are going to get hit. Everyone on our line played well, obviously we did miss O'Callaghan."