Coming off a disappointing 35 to 7 loss to the Michigan Wolverines, the Oregon State Beavers (1-1) took on the San Jose State Spartans (1-1) in the second game of the Gary Andersen era at Reser Stadium.
The game started with San Jose State on offense and junior Kenny Potter starting at QB. The Spartans main offensive leader senior running back Tyler Ervin contributed well, catching balls out of the backfield and with strong running. All of which led to the first score of the game on a four yard Ervin touchdown run, and the opening 75-yard drive put the Spartans up 7 to 0 at the 10:13 mark of the first quarter.
Oregon State opened up their offensive attack with freshman Seth Collins behind center. The Beavs got their first break of the game with the kickoff going out of bounds, which gave Oregon State favorable starting position. The Beavs were able to drive the field behind some excellent Collins rushing and throwing plays, that included a beautiful run after the catch by Storm Barrs-Woods, that all led to the OSU scoring answer behind a Collins four yard rushing touchdown, below, to tie the game at 7 to 7.
Things did settle down as the first quarter winded down, with both teams' defenses forcing punts. The second quarter looked to be more of the same defensive back-and-forth, and also saw the Spartans' starting QB Potter going out of the game with an injury to be replaced by senior Joe Gray. Potter would return to the sideline in the second half, his left foot in a walking boot.
However, a Rahmel Dockery fumble on the punt catch, above, then set up the Spartans at the OSU six yard line, which led to a very quick six yard Ervin rushing touchdown, below, and a Spartans' 14 to 7 lead at the 14:24 mark.
Oregon State bounced back later with a strong, and quick four play drive that included a strong Seth Collins 30 yard rush, and Barrs-Woods was able to punch it through for a game tying, 14 to 14, thirteen yard touchdown run at the 10:11 mark. Although after some continuing strong defense, the Beavs offense and Collins gave the ball up to Spartans' cornerback Cleveland Wallace III on an interception deep into OSU territory.
Wallace was originally an Oregon State commit, but when then defensive backs coach Keith Heyward-Johnson took a job with the Washington Huskies, Wallace followed, and subsequently moved on to San Jose State when Heyward-Johnson and much of the rest of the Steve Sarkisian staff took off to USC.
After a gritty short fourth down conversion San Jose State's offense capitalized on the OSU turnover to take a 21 to 14 lead behind a scrambling Joe Gray pass play to Tyler Winston for a six yard touchdown.
San Jose State though almost does their own coughing up the ball after their own strong defensive stance, and what seemed a Treston Decoud interception, below, to set up the Beavers in Spartans' territory with a little less than two minutes was then overturned in review.
Can you tell for sure if Decoud caught the ball or not?
Oregon State's defense forced a quick three-and-out, and the offense was able to take their last possession of the half down the field, but in a par-for-the-course moment OSU Garrett Owens' missed a 48 yard field goal after another review showed Collins' knee was indeed down to back up the attempt. In the end San Jose State was able to take a 21 to 14 lead into the halftime break.
Oregon State went into the locker room trailing with 189 yards total offense, 92 yards passing and 97 rushing, and converted 11 first downs. Seth Collins threw for 92 yards completing 9 for 16 attempts. The leading targets for Collins were Storm Barrs-Woods with 30 yards on 3 receptions and Jarmon Hunter with 21 yards on 3 receptions. The Oregon State's rush game was led by Seth Collins rushing for 55 yards on 7 carries and Barrs-Woods chipped in 20 yards on 4 carries.
The Oregon State defense held the Spartans to 161 total yards, which broke down to 85 passing yards and 76 rushing yards. San Jose State was able to convert 9 first downs. The Spartans' Kenny Potter completed 8 for 9 passes for 72 yards and his replacement Joe Gray completed only 2 for 5 passes for 13 yards, Billy Freeman contributed 35 yards on 3 receptions, Tyler Ervin rushed for 57 yards on 15 carries.
The second half began a bit flat for both teams, but on the Beavs' second possession Barrs-Woods opened up the offensive attack with a 38 yard rush to the 50-yard line.
This led to a Jordan Villamin finally becoming part of the game with a 31 yard touchdown reception, above, to tie the game 21 to 21 at the 7:34 mark.
This strong scoring drive was followed up by a solid defensive stand by the Beavers, which then led to the first big San Jose State miscue as punter Michael Carrizosa fumbled the snap, setting up the Oregon State offense in the red zone. Seth Collins then took advantage rushing for a ten yard touchdown, above, and put the Beavs up for the first time in the game 28 to 21 at the 5:15 mark in the third quarter.
The game finally broke wide open for the Beavers with a 41 yard, jumping the route, pick-six interception by linebacker Caleb Saulo, above. This all led to the Spartans going to their third quarterback, junior Malik Watson, as San Jose State head coach Ron Caragher went from a 2 quarterback system/controversy to a 3rd string quareterback system in about an hour and a half's time.
The Beavers in the initial stages of the fourth quarter were able to control the clock and the ball, which was highlighted with strong rushing by Storm Barrs-Woods, but miscues kept the Spartans in the game. On the other side of the ball the Oregon State's defense continued to step up their pressure on the Spartans' quarterback, and were able create another turnover on a Ricky Ortiz interception, facilitated by pressure from blitzing Devin Chappell.
Oregon State's Devin Chappell (26) pressures San Jose State quareterback Malik Watson to toss the ball up for grabs, specifically a grab by Ricky Ortiz (42), who was eyeing the throw.
This allowed for Barrs-Woods to continue to rack up the yards on the ground, but more penalty issues continued to keep the Beavs from fully putting the Spartans away.
In the end though the OSU defense kept things honest and the offense was able to run out the final moments of the clock to give the Beavers their second victory of the 2015 season.
After the final gun sounded Oregon State finished the night with 438 total yards, 135 of which were through the passing game and 303 were from rushing, and the Beavs were able to convert 24 first downs. Seth Collins completed 13 for 25 passes for 135 yards. The receiving numbers were led by Jordan Villamin with 45 yards on 3 receptions and Storm Barrs-Woods had 30 yards on 3 receptions (13 yards short of becoming the second OSU player, along with Jacquizz Rodgers, to have 2,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving).
Barrs-Woods, above, shined in the rushing game with 151 yards on 17 carries and Seth Collins was not far behind with 114 yards on 16 carries.
The Oregon State defense had a solid overall game holding San Jose State to 253 total yards, 149 passing and 104 rushing, and the Spartans converted 14 first downs. Malik Watson threw for 57 yards on 8 for 14 completions, Billy Freeman led the way for the Spartans with 52 receiving yards on 5 receptions and Tyler Winston had 50 yards on 5 receptions, and Tyler Ervin had 93 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Overall the Oregon State offense showed both positive growth in their game, as well reverted at times into flat and uninspired play. Coach Andersen before the game talked about needing to get more manageable down and distances. At times the Beavs were able to get into shortish 2nd and 3rd down situations, but also at times struggled with converting these shorter down situations. On the other side of the ball the defense gave up a good amount of yards in the first half, but in the second half were excellent and were the difference in the win.
The first half was rough, but the second half showed some very promising adjustments and energy. All of which needs to be transferred to a short week of practice, which will be key in leading into a huge match up against a much improved Stanford Cardinal team.
Oregon State (2-1) opens up their Pac-12 schedule this coming Friday evening against the Stanford Cardinal (2-1) at Reser Stadium for a 7:00 pm game. Stanford will be coming off a hard fought and impressive 41 to 31 win against the #6 ranked USC Trojans. After a shaky start to their season, the Cardinal have looked in their last two games to be hitting much more of their offense stride and their defense continues to play at a high level. It will be an exciting, and for Oregon State a challenging conference opener in Corvallis, Oregon as the OSU student body will be back in full force to help cheer on their Beavs football team.
Go Beavs! (And cue the fight song!)
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)