SAN FRANCISCO - Mike Riley always seems to come up with the right game-plan in bowl games.
In this case, it was pretty obvious. Friday night at AT&T Park, Riley improved his postseason record at Oregon State to 4-0, as the Beavers beat the Maryland Terrapins 21-14 in an ugly - and at times, unwatchable - Emerald Bowl.
Playing with its struggling backup quarterback, Oregon State turned to running back Yvanson Bernard, and it paid off. Bernard was clearly the player of the game, and he led the Beavers' rushing attack with 177 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries. Oregon State ran the ball down Maryland's throat for 275 net yards on 54 carries. The Beavers (9-4) chewed up the game's final 6:24 and didn't allow the Terps (6-7) a chance to tie the game.
It was the Beavers' seventh win in their past eight games.
"I didn't think I ran that ball that well in the first half," Bernard said. "I had to come out in the second half and make some things happen."
Maryland could not stop Oregon State's end-around sweep, a hand-off that went to wide receiver James Rodgers 10 times for 115 yards.
"We came out and we knew they were going to try to run the ball," Maryland safety J.J. Justice said. "Our emphasis was to try to stop the run and we didn't really do a good job of it. We tried to make them one dimensional and force them to pass the ball, but they ended up having a good day on the ground."
The Terrapins, however, did not.
Coach Ralph Friedgen called Oregon State's rushing defense the best he has seen all year. The Terps mustered just 19 rushing yards on 25 carries.
"It came down to finding out the way," Riley said. "Our defense got stronger and stronger as the game went along, and we were able to stop the run."
The game turned ugly in the second quarter, when there were a combined five turnovers. Neither team sustained any type of offensive attack, until the Beavers established a running attack.
The play of the game, though, may have come in the first quarter. After the Terrapins completed a fantastic opening drive and went up 7-0, they stopped Oregon State on three plays and were destined to get great field position. But a roughing the punter penalty gave the Beavers the ball back, and they scored six plays later to tie the game.
"I don't think we played as well as we could play," Friedgen said. "We started off fast, but couldn't get much done after the first quarter."