After a promising first half, the Beavers defense simply could not keep up with Stanford's potent rushing attack in their 42-24 loss tonight at Reser Stadium. QB Kevin Hogan, who started tonight's game despite being designated questionable to play, did not end up having to really play at all. Although he threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns, he mostly gave way to the beastly Cardinal rushing attack.
Christian McCaffrey, above, led the way with 206 rushing yards, and Barry Sanders Jr. and Remound Wright both pitched in with two touchdowns apiece. The running backs had a field day running behind the vaunted Cardinal offensive line, and the Beavers defense could do nothing to slow them down. While they showed fight on a few series (and even had a red zone stop,) the Cardinal offense ended up prevailing. Besides getting blown up off the line, missed tackles and special teams gaffs marred the Beavers.
Despite the end result, the Beavers showed well to start the game. Stanford scored early, but Hogan threw an interception on the very next series to set up Oregon State for their first score. Seth Collins hit pay dirt after a Victor Bolden catch, above, was ruled down at the one-yard line.
Collins, above, looked sharp all night, and ended up with a career-high 275 passing yards.
It was back and forth from there, as Stanford got an easy score on a 42-yard touchdown pass to junior WR Austin Hooper, above, to close out the first quarter, and then the Beavers answered with a Ryan Nall touchdown, below.
Nall looked good in his first extended play of the season, seizing his opportunity with backup RB Chris Brown sitting out tonight. In his first series, the Beavers ran the ball to him three straight times, which he converted into 23 yards and a touchdown. He ended the night with only six more yards on two more carries.
Stanford scored once more on the Beaver goal line, on Remound Wright's second scoring run of the night, above, but OSU put itself in good position with a field goal before halftime to make the score 21-17. Freshman Datrin Guyton, below, came up big on this series, getting his first catch of the year and giving Collins a big target to hit on third down.
The Beavers got the ball back to start the half, but unfortunately couldn't capitalize. The Beavers initially looked doomed, as Collins lost a botched snap on the Beavers' 20 yard line. Fortunately, OSU hit a big break when Stanford went three-and-out and missed the subsequent field goal, giving the ball back to the Beavers for another chance.
However, this was a night full of missed opportunities. The Beavers could not get anything going on offense, so they punted. That turned into two more Stanford scores, giving them a comfortable 35-17 lead. The first score was thanks to a botched double coverage by the Beavers' secondary, below, where Cyril Noland-Lewis mistimed what looked like an interception leap and Larry Scott got turned around, which allowed Michael Rector to snag the scoring toss, and the second score was set up after the Beavers received their second safe-catch interference on the punt. Both interferences were committed by the long snapper Ryan Navarro. They will be working a lot of special teams in practice this next week.
The Beavers seemed out of luck, but that was not the end of them. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Collins and the Beaver offense came roaring back. In the next series, a clutch Guyton catch to get a first down kept their drive alive, and Collins connected with Jordan Villamin on a 40-yard touchdown, below, to set the score to 35-24. Villamin had a stellar night, catching seven passes for 138 yards and a touchdown.
The Beavers ABSOLUTELY needed to stop Stanford on their next drive to have a shot at closing the gap. Stanford responded by ramming Barry Sanders Jr. down OSU's throat, or more specifically, down the left side on a stretch play, for a 65-yard touchdown on the very first play of the series, below. It was all but over at that point. OSU had run out of juice on the offensive end and Stanford bled out the clock until the game was over.
It was a somewhat-predictable finish, as Stanford composed themselves at halftime and rode their running game until OSU was completely out of it.
One late development of note came on a Collins completion to Storm Barrs-Woods, above. With the catch, Woods became only the second player in Oregon State history with over 2,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving, joining Jacquizz Rodgers in that exclusive club.
The Beavers looked out of their league in the second half, getting outscored 21-7 and missing tackles all over the place. It was extremely reminiscent of the Michigan thrashing, where they too turned to their running game to stamp OSU out of the game.
Luckily, DC Kilani Sitake will get a chance to help his young Beaver defense regroup during the bye next week. They can also take solace in the fact that Stanford is currently one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12. The Cardinal improved to 3-1, and took early command of the Pac-12 North, moving to 2-0 in conference.
Oregon State dropped back to 2-2, and 0-1 in conference.
However, it's not getting any easier from here. OSU will head down to Flagstaff to take on the Arizona Wildcats after the bye, and then they will have to take on the rest of the Pac-12. If the Beavers can clean up some of their dumb mistakes and missed tackles (which we were all saying after the loss to Michigan,) they will be in much better shape going forward. Perhaps a week of rest will do some good, too.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)