With his team clinging to a 28-27 lead with less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter Saturday night, Oregon State linebacker Michael Doctor saw a pass from Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly coming right at him.
Doctor’s reaction? Priceless.
“I was freaking out,” Doctor said on Ferrall on the Bench. “All I was thinking was I got to get in the end zone and the game will be over. I was very determined to get in the end zone. I owe it all to my D-Line. They did a great job.”
Yes, the 35-yard pick-six was just what the Doctor ordered, as Oregon State upset then-No. 6 Arizona State, 35-27.
“It was pretty cool,” Doctor said. “(Defensive coordinator Mark Banker) made a great call, and our D-Line did an incredible job of getting to the quarterback’s face.”
Kelly more or less had his way with Oregon State in the first half, throwing for two touchdowns and giving Arizona State a 24-14 lead heading into the break. He finished 22-of-44 for 264 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Doctor said. “Our D-Linemen did a great job. That’s really how the play ended up like that. I think he got hit a little bit on the pass, and I was able to pick it off and we was able to prevail and get the win.”
Oregon State’s quarterback, meanwhile, wasn’t too bad himself. Sean Mannion turned down a shot in the NFL to return to Corvallis for his senior season. He went 19-of-33 for 251 yards, two touchdowns and an interception Saturday.
“It shows you the character that Sean has,” Doctor said. “He wanted to come back for his senior season. We owe it to Sean as well as all the rest of the seniors to go out and play a big game. We had a couple struggles this year. We just had to prevail and learn how to finish.”
Mannion found Victor Bolden for a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter and Jordan Villamin for a 67-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth. The pass to Villamin wound up being the game-winning score, as Oregon State – behind Mannion – limited Arizona State to three points in the second half.
“Sean’s a huge competitor,” Doctor said. “He’s not going to take no for an answer. He’s going to try to do whatever he can to get the win.”
The Beavers (5-5, 2-5) have struggled for much of the year, but they hope this win can salvage their season. They play at Washington (6-5, 2-5) this Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
“Washington is a great team, but we want to go in there,” Doctor said. “It’s all about discipline with a team like that. It’s going to be whoever plays the hardest for the longest in that game.”
While the Beavers aren’t a playoff contender, they can play playoff spoiler the final week of the season when they host No. 2 Oregon (9-1, 6-1) on Nov. 29. Does Oregon State have what it takes to beat the Ducks?
“We most definitely have it in us,” Doctor said. “We’ve seen what we’re capable of this past weekend and all season. We just had to learn how to finish. Last week was an example of what we can do if we just all stick together and finish. We could definitely beat Oregon. It’s going to be a long, tough game there, too. We have to be disciplined. Teams (that run) a spread offense, one mistake can lead to a big play. You have to be assignment sound and get after it.”