November 13, 2007

Bowl Game Brouhaha

The Oregon State Beavers have had an up-and-down season just like their counterparts in the Palouse, but the one constant has been their defensive unit. That unit, however, took a hit last week when several key members were involved a fracas with members of the Washington Husky football team during their game. The result of that fracas was not particularly pleasing to head coach Mike Riley.

According to NCAA rules, players involved in a fight must sit out half of the next game and in this case, that means two Beaver defensive starters - cornerback Brandon Hughes and safety Bryan Payton - will be on the sidelines for the first half of this week's game against the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium in Pullman.

"We were very disappointed," said Riley. "Our guys know that we don't want, in any way, retaliation and sometimes it's not fair, but that's tough. It takes a bigger man to walk away. We had two ejections that were retaliations and that's a shame [because] Brandon Hughes never threw a punch. #65 from Washington [offensive lineman Ryan Tolar] was trying to tear Al Afalava's head off and Brandon stepped in and straight-armed him."

The altercation had its roots earlier in the game when Afalava had a helmet-to-helmet hit on Husky quarterback Jake Locker, literally knocking him out of the game. Locker eventually was revived and able to re-enter the stadium but the ensuing brawl has left Riley with twin conundrums coming into Pullman - missing starters on defense and with backup quarterback Lyle Moevao, who is filling in for injured starter Sean Canfield, making his first start on the road.

"I certainly don't like to be without a couple secondary guys against Alex Brink and company," says Riley when asked to pick which concerned him most. "I'm not worried too much about Lyle. He's played a lot of football for us. I'm really not worried about him."

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