MADISON, Wis. – Oregon State's defense fended off No. 8 Wisconsin's signature running game as long as it could.
That wasn't nearly enough to make up for a sputtering offense and a couple of bad mistakes on special teams, and the Beavers were pounded by the Badgers 35-0 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
"We never did really offensively do anything," coach Mike Riley said. "That was probably the difference. We made it easier for them messing up on special teams."
It's shaping up as an ugly start to the season for Oregon State (0-2), which was coming off a head-scratching loss to Sacramento State.
"Everybody has to stay together," Riley said. "I really have hopes for this team. I think there was a lot of stuff, particularly defensively, that was better so we can build on that."
Sean Mannion took most of the snaps at quarterback, completing 25 of 38 passes for 244 yards. But he couldn't get the Beavers in the end zone.
"We were trying," Mannion said. "We've just got to get better. That's all we can do."
Ryan Katz, the team's starter last season, played a limited number of snaps.
"When we got behind we were throwing the ball more and we wanted Sean to do it," Riley said. "We wanted him to throw. That's why he went in early."
The Beavers were without freshman running back Malcolm Agnew, who was hurt after rushing for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the Oregon State's opener.
"It was not good not having Malcolm but we should have been able to do better than that," Riley said. "So obviously we didn't block well enough."
The biggest bright spot for the Beavers was their run defense, which held the Badgers in check early.
"That was our No. 1 priority but the pass was killing us," defensive end Scott Crichton said. "It was a good team. They have too many ways to get you. We had our opportunities. We just didn't capitalize."
In his second career start for the Badgers (2-0), Russell Wilson threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair to tight end Jacob Pedersen. Wisconsin's running game broke through after halftime, and Ball had a pair of touchdowns in the second half.
"The interior held up pretty well for a long time," Riley said. "They're eventually going to get you. We just need to respond better if you want to beat them."
Wisconsin's offense certainly got some unintended help from Oregon State.
The first special teams gaffe came on the Beavers' second possession, when punter Johnny Hekker bizarrely shanked a ball out of bounds for a four-yard loss that gave the ball back to the Badgers deep in Oregon State territory.
Oregon State's defense held on first and second down, then gave up a 17-yard touchdown from Wilson to a wide-open Pedersen.
Early in the second quarter, a personal foul penalty on long snapper Marcus Perry on a punt gave the ball to the Badgers near midfield. Wilson finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nick Toon.
With Wisconsin leading 14-0, Oregon State needed a drive to stay in the game. Instead, kick returner Kenyan Parker decided to field a kickoff inside the 5-yard line and step out of bounds to back the Beavers up near their own end zone. Then the Beavers took a delay-of-game penalty on first down.
After a punt, Wisconsin put together a 12-play, 72-yard drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Pedersen. Wisconsin led 21-0 at halftime, and its running game began to break through as the game progressed.
"We shank a punt and they get a touchdown and they we catch a ball on about the 5-yard line and go out of bounds," Riley said. "Just bad football."