Oregon State lost to UCLA in a 41-0 shutout this afternoon. It was a miserable, soggy performance. And the first time the Beavers have been shut out at home in 18 years.
QB Nick Mitchell set the tone for the Beavers, accounting for three interceptions and a fumble. The offense could not get anything going while the defense could hardly get off the field. UCLA gained 674 yards of offense and threw the OSU defense around like rag dolls. It was a discouraging outing for the Beavers, who had the looks of an improving football team in the past few weeks.
The injury bug continued to ravage OSU, with breakout RB Ryan Nall sitting out the second half with an injury and Dwayne Williams leaving the game in an ambulance. Both injuries were undisclosed as of press time. It was the second straight week the ambulance was in use for a Beaver home game, as Tristan Decoud had to be taken to the hospital two weeks ago against Colorado.
The Beavers actually played well in the first quarter, with the Woods and Nall RB duo leading drives into UCLA territory and the defense preventing the Bruins from scoring. It was back and forth, with neither team able to get any passing offense due to the pouring rain. It was all downhill from there for the Beavers.
The rain let up in the second quarter, allowing UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen to establish a connection with WR Thomas Duarte, above, for two scores and a couple big downfield passes. Rosen, below, had 333 yards and two touchdowns on 22/33 passing, and Duarte hauled in six receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
The Beavers defense failed to capitalize on a few UCLA mistakes that could have changed the momentum. In the second quarter, Nick Porebski put the defense in excellent position to make a stop with a 66-yard punt that landed at the UCLA four yard line. On that possession, Rosen fumbled and the UCLA offensive line committed two consecutive penalties for 25 yards. UCLA was still able to spin the possession into an eight play 96 yard touchdown drive, thanks in part to the Beaver secondary for giving up a 63 yard pass from Rosen to Kenneth Walker, below, on 3rd and 10.
The next scoring drive of the decisive second quarter featured a 53 yard completion to Duarte.
Mitchell set UCLA up with prime field position with a fumble and interception in Beaver territory in the second quarter, and with OSU's passing game non-existent, the running lanes for the Beavers shut down. His throws were mostly erratic and poor decisions.
While Mitchell may have been wildly inaccurate, he was by no means helped by the offensive line or wide receivers. He was constantly under duress and the wide receivers committed more than a couple egregious drops. Mitchell ended up with 84 yards, four turnovers on 9/19 passing.
It would have been nice to have Seth Collins for this one, who at least would have been able to generate some offense with his legs. However, Collins was inactive for this one with a knee injury. Recently demoted third stringer Marcus McMaryion was thrown into the fire early in the fourth quarter, and per usual, he was not able to do anything with the offense.
With UCLA up 24-0 at halftime, it was clear that there was no coming back from the Beavers. The energy was not there from the team or the crowd. More than half of the stadium was gone by the third quarter, and for good reason. No one wanted to watch crappy football in the soaking rain.
If there was any doubt, the Bruins promptly eliminated it, taking the opening drive of the 3rd quarter the length of the field for a touchdown to go up 31-0. The Beavers' response ended in Mitchell throwing another interception.
It was alarming to see OSU play so poorly in the less-than-ideal conditions. If anything, it seems like the rain would be an advantage for the Beavers because of their run-heavy offense (and the fact that they practice most days in the run.) However, UCLA, from that city which has been in a perpetual drought for the past ten years, shrugged off the rain and outplayed the Beavers in every way possible.
Credit the OSU Band, who battled to the end, and also comprised the majority of the people still in the stadium in the 4th quarter.
Beaver fans have reasons to worry at this point. OSU took a huge step backwards tonight, and the quarterback situation looks more dire by the week. The "building year" excuse is not particularly valid anymore. The Beavers have to show more than they did today going forward, because it will be impossible to develop the young players if the team is blown out every week. OSU will travel down to Berkeley next week to take on a struggling Cal team.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)