The Oregon State Beavers put their squad on an 8-hour road trip this weekend for a battle in Cheney, Wash. with the Eastern Washington Eagles. And on a cool and blustery day, it was OSU getting past EWU 17-12 in a very physical game.
The Beavers opened with the first points of the game with fullback Carl Pitzer putting over a penalty conversion. Eastern would waste no time with an answer when flanker Eric Populus pounced a loose ball and his teammates taking advantage thereafter for a 5-3 lead.
A narrow pitch and physical play by both teams lead to a very defensive guided first half and it wasn’t until the 37th minute that another score was posted for either team. OSU flanker Mitch Fargher made a tough run and Pitzer putting over the conversion to make it 10-3 at the half.
In the second half, OSU coach Anthony Lally preached to his team about territory control and in the first 12 minutes it was EWU firing on high cylinders out of the gates. EWU got the first points of the half with strong play and quick offload that eventually got to inside center Jacob Moffett with a Populus conversion to make the score 12-10.
The Beavers wouldn’t go quietly though. With superb lineout play and a subsequent set-piece to the backline, winger Nate Kimmel worked his magic for the eighth time in three games with great pace and fancy footwork for a score. With the clutch leg of Pitzer, OSU went up for a slim, but manageable 17-12 lead.
Blood pressure was elevated and coaches screaming towards the end with a close match in progress and the final whistle yet to be blown. However, strong scrums and clutch lineout play saw the Beavers hold on for the win and remain undefeated.
“We emphasized discipline today and the boys committed their energy to positive play and self-control in the face of some tense moments,” OSU coach Anthony Lally said. “This is EWU's first home loss and as a coaching group we were extremely proud of the team and the leadership shown by Captain Mike Gamm to make good decisions and provide good guidance during the pressure moments.
Oregon State is now faced with a shortened week to take on in-state rival Oregon on Friday night for a rugby Civil War. Eastern Washington will have a few weeks off before taking on UBC at the end of the month at home.