By the Numbers:
- 23.5% - Oregon State's 3rd conversion percentage. Pretty dismal, although Utah going 3-14 was not much better.
- 2.6 - OSU's yards per carry. This was massively impacted by the sacks on Mannion, without those it would have been 4.3 yards per carry.
- 40 - Number of carries for OSU, which actually exceeded the number of pass attempts, which was 37. Including sacks it would be 40:43 though.
- 63.5% - Mannion's completion percentage for the season. That number is still 34th in the country among qualified quarterbacks. It is 8th in the Pac-12, and it's actually lead by Brett Hundley with 72.5% despite his mediocre season.
- 1 - Dylan Wynn's first career interception, which came off of a freak deflection.
- 2 - Number of drives that started in Utah territory. They resulted in 6 points. There were 12 drives that started in OSU territory, and 11 of those started inside the OSU 20. Not a great field position game for the Beavers although Keith Kostol had a solid game, but Utah punter Tom Hackett did as well.
- 3.4 - Yards per pass for Utah. Something to actually feel good about after having our hearts ripped out.
- 9 - Number of penalties for OSU. Still an ongoing problem as there were several false starts and procedural issues that don't stop. When the offense is already anemic, it's a death knoll for drives to move backwards.
The game was even right until the Jordan Villamin 70 yard touchdown. Both defenses had limited the offenses, but it took one Mannion rifle shot down the field and the Beavers were in the driver's seat. The Oregon State defense again rose up to the challenge, forcing three straight incompletions and a punt. This set up the drive that would define this game.
Terron Ward started off the drive with three straight punishing runs earning a first down. They kept pounding the ball and utilizing short passes to eat up clock down the field. They added in a fly sweep to Rahmel Dockery and continued to march down the field and got down to the Utah 38, staring down a 3rd and 2. They then had Mannion dropped back where he was pressured and the ball fell incomplete. Utah finally broke through after that and had go ahead score, and could not be stopped by the Beaver defense for the rest of the game.
The plan deviated here from what had worked the entire drive. Oregon State had built their drive off of the run game, even on 3rd and long they ran a couple draw plays which completely fooled the Utah defense. Their rushers had already gone too far upfield and the Beavs kept chewing up yards. Then in the most critical moment of the game the coaches deemed a pass the correct call. Utah appeared to be waiting for the call. One more first down might have chewed up some clock, but more importantly it would have given OSU a real chance to get one more field goal and extend the lead, possibly setting up a game winner in the final moments. The Beavers refused to play tough in the most critical time of the game
- This was a well-played game by both teams. There was a lot of talk of how boring and poorly executed it was, but both defenses brought it. There were some missed chances by both offenses, but for the most part the defenses just took everything away, making it a real knock-down drag-out war. The SEC is always lauded for the defensive battles, why is a highly contested Pac-12 game not given the same respect?
- Booker was a monster, the Beavers got handfuls of jersey several times, but could not bring down the big back. OSU has always had tackling issues, but this was the case of a really good player overpowering guys. It is tough to blame anyone for some of the runs. They did lose their gaps a couple times and every time Booker capitalized every single time.
- Mannion looks skittish. It was the same as it was against USC, when the pass rush reared its head he would not set his feet. Utah forced even more lame ducks though, Mannion floated a ton of throws. He was also very slow in his reads, when the primary option was open he would snap to it and get it out quick. When he was forced to go through his progression he would either take too long to get to his checkdown when it was already too late. If OSU is ever going to break through Mannion needs to lead the Beavers to wins, he can't just be a normal cog in the system, he has to be exceptional.
- The offensive line also needs to improve, part of Mannion's woes was the constant pressure applied to him. The run game stalled too although it had glimmers towards the end. Gavin Andrews was working on an injured ankle, but as a whole they got demolished. They should improve, but that might not pay real dividends until next season when Seumalo comes back.
- Villamin has some real potential. The deep catch he made was a nice display of athleticism and the jump ball at the end showed some strength as well. He will have to step in for Mullaney, but he can do it. He looked like the most dangerous pass catcher on the field, and despite Mullaney's consistency Villamin has athletic ability that Mullaney just can't match. Hopefully he can deliver on all his talent though.
- I don't know any Beaver fan that feels comfortable watching Romaine kick a field goal, and I haven't felt comfortable watching an Oregon State kicker play since Alexis Serna in his junior season.
- The return game was a mess. Watching the kick returners take a ball in the end zone out to the 15 yard line was excruciating. It got to the point where an audible groan went up in my section.
- Beaver fans are insatiable. In my section in the nosebleeds they clamored for a pass after every run, and after every pass they wanted a run, there was really no winning for Riley.
- The Beavers had nothing to be ashamed of. They missed some plays, a couple errant Mannion throws, but this was a game between two teams that had played to a standstill. They had their chances to win, but in the end Utah played just a little bit better. It was horrible coming out of Reser, after giving everything supporting the Beavers, but in the end the players left everything on the field. I can't stay upset when I know my team gave everything they had.