6:30 PM ET, November 5, 2005
6:30 PM ET, November 5, 2005
SEATTLE (AP) -- The last time Alexis Serna rose to college football prominence was 14 months ago. The Oregon State kicker was an image of pity on national cable television, standing in the middle of LSU's rain-soaked Tiger Stadium with his head bowed dejectedly.
The freshman had just missed the third extra point of his initial collegiate game, the last one in overtime, to allow the defending national champion Tigers to escape with a win.
Saturday night on another rain-soaked field, this one Washington's Husky Stadium, Serna's head was like his kicks: Up and good.
Serna made all six of his field goal attempts through horizontal rain and gusty wind to tie a 21-year-old Pac-10 record and lead his Beavers to a 18-10 victory over the fang-less Huskies.
"Those were great conditions. It was fun," beaming, soggy Oregon State coach Mike Riley said after moving to within one win of becoming eligible for a fourth consecutive bowl bid.
The Beavers (5-4, 3-3 Pac-10) next play Stanford at home, before visiting Oregon Nov. 19.
Washington (1-8, 0-5) needs a win at Arizona or against Washington State to avoid its second consecutive, one-victory season. The Huskies have lost 14 consecutive conference games and 18 of their last 20 overall.
"It gets worse every week. It's just bad," said Washington season-long starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback, whom coach Tyrone Willingham replaced with sophomore transfer Johnny DuRocher to begin the second half.
By then, Oregon State's Yvenson Bernard was on his way to 122 yards on 35 carries. That got Serna in position to tie the 1984 conference record UCLA's John Lee set against San Diego State. The NCAA record for a single game is seven.
The six kicks -- from 46, 28, 18, 32, 41 and 25 yards -- made Serna 11-for-11 in his last two games against Washington.
Serna, whom Riley called "a tough-minded kid," said he often thinks of that errant night on the Bayou, and of how far he has come since. He has made 38 of 43 field goals -- including 22 of 24 this season -- and all 57 of his extra-point tries since that LSU loss.
"I always look back at that," Serna said. "I always tell myself whatever happens, I can bounce back."
His teammates have learned the same thing.
"We're not impressed. He's been doing that since last year," Bernard said of Serna's six pack. "Whenever it's fourth and whatever in the red zone, we go to him."
Riley said his offensive game plan changed once he saw how difficult it would be for quarterback Matt Moore to throw downfield in the weather. So the coach had Moore use safe, short passes to go 17-for-27 with 136 yards passing.
The Beavers loved that, compared to the six interceptions and one lost fumble Moore produced in the previous week's loss to Arizona, the low point of this wavy Oregon State season.
Meanwhile, Oregon State's defense exploited Washington's ineffectiveness and uncertainty with its quarterbacks. The Huskies' anemic output -- buoyed by a touchdown in the game's final minute -- came against a Beavers defense that earlier had allowed Louisville 63 points, UCLA 51 and Arizona State 42. Both teams entered the game with the worst defenses in the Pac-10, allowing an average of 34.9 points per game.
Willingham, in his first season at Washington, made good on hints earlier this week and benched Stanback after he completed 5 of 12 passes for 104 yards. He also lost a fumble while getting drilled by unblocked Oregon State linebacker Keith Ellison, whom Stanback said he never saw. That doomed the Huskies' deepest first-half drive, to the Beavers 9.
"I feel like I was doing OK," Stanback said. "(But) you've got to expect that. When things aren't going well with the team, people are going to look at the quarterback.
"If you can't handle that, you shouldn't be playing the position."
DuRocher was 11-for-30 with 103 yards passing, one interception and one lost fumble. He did throw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers with 48 seconds left.
Willingham said he didn't know who would start next Saturday at Arizona, adding "you guys need more to write about that that."
Stanback said he doesn't know, either. But DuRocher said he expects to be back on the sidelines.
"As far as I know, Isaiah is the starter."