Oregon State needed a win at Washington State to keep its Rose Bowl hopes alive, and made sure that would happen right from the start.
The No. 20 Beavers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and rolled to a 42-10 win on Saturday, setting up the possibility that their rivalry game against Oregon on Dec. 3 will decide the Pac-10 representative for the bowl game.
"Obviously everyone knows what's out there," said quarterback Sean Canfield, who threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns, and directed the Beavers to 567 yards of offense.
Oregon State has already beaten Stanford, so if Arizona loses and Oregon State beats first-place Oregon next weekend, the Beavers would be packing for Pasadena.
"One hundred guys have banded together for one purpose, winning the upcoming ballgame," said Oregon State linebacker Keaton Kristick. "We have the possibility of going to the Rose Bowl or a big game like that."
Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns as Oregon State (8-3, 6-2) won its fourth straight game and sixth of the past seven. Coach Mike Riley praised the team for recovering from a 2-2 start to put themselves in line for a big-money bowl game.
"They never quit," Riley said, predicting the game against Oregon going down as "one of the great matchups ever in the Civil War."
The Cougars (1-10, 0-8) lost their eighth straight. Kevin Lopina, making his first start at quarterback since being benched after the second game, completed 15 of 32 for 133 yards. But the Cougars were held to 192 yards, including 59 on the ground.
Still, they trailed just 21-10 at halftime.
"We felt we were in the game," Lopina said. "We had the ball for long periods of time. One play here or there and it would have been a whole different game."
It was the fifth consecutive game in which the Cougars have given up at least 40 points. They rank last in the nation, allowing 511 yards per game.
The contest was played before just 16,167 fans with Washington State students already on fall break and cold, windy weather blowing through Pullman.
Oregon State opened with a crisp 80-yard drive, and Canfield hit Damola Adeniji for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Canfield completed 22 of 29 passes and was intercepted once.
Washington State replied with its own drive that stalled on the 11, and Pat Rooney kicked a 29-yard field goal. It was only the second time this season the Cougars have scored in the first quarter, and they've been outscored 173-6 in the opening quarter this year.
"It's no use driving the ball if you don't finish and punch it in," said Washington State offensive lineman Reed Lesuma.
Rodgers ran in from 10 yards out on Oregon State's next possession, and Canfield hit Joe Halahuni on a 10-yard scoring pass for a 21-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Washington State drove 80 yards in the final 3 minutes of the half, with Dwight Tardy scoring from the 1 on fourth down to cut the halftime deficit to 21-10.
Oregon State's Markus Wheaton scored on a 10-yard run after a 13-play drive that was kept alive by a 12-yard reception by Colby Prince on fourth-and-5. Rodgers added a 39-yard run early in the fourth, his 19th touchdown of the season tying the school record held by Steven Jackson and Ken Simonton.
Riley picked up the 64th win at Oregon State, breaking a tie with Tommy Prothro for second on the career list. Lon Stiner leads with 74 wins.
Washington State has not led a game in regulation this year, its only win coming on a field goal by Nico Grasu in overtime to beat Southern Methodist 30-27 on Sept. 19. The Cougars trailed that game until a tying touchdown pass with 28 seconds left.
Washington State finishes its season next week with its rivalry game against Washington.
"It will be my last Apple Cup and I'm going to enjoy every moment of it," said the Cougars' Xavier Hicks, who intercepted Canfield on Saturday.