The main storyline of Oregon State's 24-7 was the talented Beaver defense, but we'll start with a look at how the offense fared.
Sean Canfield, Oregon State's starter, went 8-for-19 with 86 yards. Those numbers don't sound like anything special, but if you add in the balls that were dropped by the receivers, those numbers sound a lot better. For Sean's first game in a starting role, these numbers are tolerable. Head Coach Mike Riley would have liked for Sean to have made a few decisions differently, especially the interception he threw to Sean Smith on a deep ball in the third.
Sean also played the entire third quarter and part of the fourth. He lead the Beavers to a touchdown and a field goal in the third, and that's when he really started to shine. The touchdown drive included a 54 yard rush by Yvenson Bernard that probably should have been stopped in the backfield. It also included a couple short passes that got the Beavers into the red zone, and then the drive was capped off with a six yard pass to Darrell Catchings. You could tell that he was happy to find the end zone in his first collegiate game.
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Lyle Moevao, Oregon State's other starter, played in the second quarter as well as part of the fourth. He inherited a drive from Sean Canfield at the start of the second quarter, and on his first play as a Beaver, he threw an interception. There appeared to be some miscommunication-- Moevao seemed to think Brandon Powers was running an out, when really, he was running a corner route-- but excuse or no excuse, it wasn't a good first impression for Beaver fans. That interception lead to Utah's only touchdown of the game, but at these early stages of the game, it was crucial.
In the drive following the interception, two penalties lead to a quick three and out. The first was a delay of game, and the second was a false start call where Lyle moved early from under center. His third down passing attempt was batted down, forcing an Alexis Serna punt. We'll get to that later.
The batted pass reminds me of another issue I have with Lyle. He's so small (listed at 5'11", but looks shorter) that he almost has to roll out or scramble to get the ball over the linemen. He probably can't see the field as well as Sean at the line of scrimmages, making it harder for him to pick up blitzes and defensive schemes. I'm still not 100% sold on Sean, but there are some things about Lyle that worry me. However, he would still make a very talented back-up. Not many teams have two quarterbacks that they feel they could alternate and still be successful. We'll see how that changes in weeks to come.
Ryan Gunderson even got a few plays in during the fourth quarter when the Beavers were enjoying a 17 point lead. He completed one pass to Matthew Sieverson, the man who came to Oregon State as a safety, switched over to receiver, and now plays running back. Matthew picked up 24 yards in the air and 10 yards on the ground, good numbers for under four minutes of playing time. Gundy was 1 of 2 passing for 10 yards. His incompletion was also intended for Matt.
Sean Canfield finished the night 8 of 19 for 86 yards with an interception and a touchdown. Lyle Moevao was 3 of 9 for 32 yards with an interception, and Ryan Gunderson was 1 of 2 for 10 yards. Eight Beavers caught passes, lead by Yvenson Bernard who caught 4 for 22. Darrell Catchings was the only other Beavers who caught more than one ball. He had two receptions for 23 yards with a touchdown. Six Beavers had one reception each. Anthony Brown should of had three or four, but dropped balls were an issue throughout the game. Anthony dropped back to back passes in the first quarter that would have been first downs. Instead, the Beavers had to punt.
I told you coming into this game that an offensive key was balancing the passing game and rushing game, but that didn't really matter tonight. Our main attack was Yvenson Bernard, who went for 170 of Oregon State's 248 rushing yards. There were some drives where we would give the ball to Yvenson four or five times in a row, and he would still manage to gain yards on the fourth and fifth carry. Our passing attack was decent enough to keep the Utes honest, but still, we were dead meat tonight without Bernard.
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Oregon State's defense had an exceptional game, but part of that was due to some injuries to crucial Utah players. Matt Asiata went down early with a leg injury that could sideline him for the whole year, and quarterback Brian Johnson left in the second with a separated shoulder. Those two losses definitely hurt Utah, and will hurt them in weeks to come. The Beaver defense took advantage of Tommy Grady at quarterback-- after Johnson left, the Utes only picked up four first downs. Johnson was able to get seven during the time he played. Johnson was giving the Oregon State secondary all they wanted, but after Grady came in, it was a different story. Johnson gained 119 yards in 13 attempts, and Grady threw for 61 yards in his 24 attempts.
In fact, the defense was so good that Utah only gained 17 yards on the ground. They had 30 attempts, so do the math and it boils down to .6 yards a carry. Utah struck first with a 36 yard pass from Brian Johnson to Brent Castell, but after that, 24 unanswered points by the Beaver offense sealed the victory.
Kudos to everyone on the defense for flying around and making the plays tonight. The situational subs on the line seemed to work flawlessly, and the secondary (especially the safeties) as well as the linebackers played with lots of experience and emotion.
Let's carry this momentum on to Cincinatti! And to all the Utes that suffered injuries tonight, we wish you speedy recoveries.