Weber State came out first on offense with sneak double pass that was covered perfectly by cornerback Treston Decoud, below, which would be an indicator of good things to come for the Oregon State defense.
The Wildcats looked ready to open up their attack on the ground before the Oregon State defense was able to settle down with some aggressive 3-down front-line pass rush, which helped force the first punt of the game and was a harbinger of the solid defensive play seen the rest of the game.
Coach Andersen's two QB attack saw both true freshman Seth Collins and redshirt freshman Marcus McMaryion getting snaps in the first half. Collins got the start, and as another harbinger of the game, was able on his first play to bust into open field for 17-yard run. The Beavs were not able to capitalize on this new look at QB and a Weber State personal foul penalty, and as such the first OSU possession of 2015 ended with Nick Porebski's first punt of the season.
The two teams settled down into solid defense by both sides, which was highlighted by a huge Weber State stop on 4th and inches. Near to the end of the first quarter Rahmel Dockery's punt return, above, set up the Beavers in good field position for McMaryion's first snaps at QB, but the Beavs went three and out, and all of which led to a mostly uneventful, and scoreless first quarter.
Oregon State continued to play some fast and aggressive sideline-to-sideline defense to keep the Wildcats in check. The Beavs' offense finally got a little more going with the pass game, including forcing an important Weber State pass interference penalty, which led to the first Oregon State score of the season with a Garrett Owens 28-yard field goal at the 10:22 mark of the second quarter.
Collins showed off more of his running, and hurdling skills with a stunning rush and hurdle of the Wildcats defender that was called back on a holding call. The athleticism of this play still helped open up the offense for the Beavers who were able to start driving the field behind some strong rushing. All of which though saw the old Oregon State penalty bug biting the Beavs yet again with another key holding call that led to a long 3rd down that then led to a huge Weber State blindside corner sack.
Sophomore kicker Garrett Owens was the lone offensive punch for either team as Owens contributed the only scoring of the first half and with another solid field goal, this time a 40-yard strike at the 3:46 mark that put the Beavs up 6 to 0.
The Beavers, and an unhappy Coach Andersen, went into the locker room with only 139 yards on offense, 33 yards passing and 106 rushing, and 11 first downs. Marcus McMaryion led the throwing stats going 2 for 3 and 18 yards, but was followed closely by Seth Collins who went 4 for 6 and 15 yards. The leading receivers were Jordan Villamin with 26 yards on 3 receptions and Storm Barrs-Woods with 11 yards on 1 reception, and Oregon State's rush game was led by QB Collins with 58 yards on 9 carries and Barrs-Woods with 33 yards on 8 carries.
The Oregon State defense held the Wildcats to 81 total yards, 23 passing yards, 58 rushing yards, and Weber State had only 3 first downs. Weber State's Jadrian Clark went 5 for 11 with 23 yards, Tui Satuala had 15 yards on 1 reception and Braden Corpus had 9 yards on 1 reception, and Eric Wilkes had 36 rushing yards on 6 carries.
Oregon State came out with Seth Collins again at QB in the second half and behind some solid running by Barrs-Woods, above, Collins, and Chris Brown the Beavs were able to drive the field for a controlled first touchdown of the season. The touchdown was scored on a wide open 4 yard pass play to Victor Bolden Jr., below, at the 8:13 mark.
On the other side of the ball Weber State demonstrated it made some adjustments too and looked posed to create some scoring damage of its own, but a bend-but-don't-break defensive stand by Oregon State led to a blocked field goal attempt. The Wildcats defense though answered this by forcing the Beavs into a quick three and out.
Weber State was able to hang around and finally took advantage of stagnant and inexperienced play in the passing game with a 8-yard pick-six off of Marcus McMaryion by Josh Burton, below, to close the Oregon State lead to 13 to 7 at the 3:24 mark of the third quarter.
This led Coach Andersen to go back to Seth Collins on the next Beavers possession, and the rest of the game, but this next possession again resulted in a punt after another huge offensive holding call.
A big Manase Hungalu interception energized the crowd and Oregon State offense, but yet another holding penalty kept the Beavs from finding a much needed touchdown. The Beavers yet again have to rely on Garrett Owens' leg as Owens was able put through a 39-yard field goal to up the Oregon State lead 16 to 7 at the 13:21 mark in the fourth quarter.
Oregon State and Seth Collins finally found some spark with a beautiful 44-yard touchdown bomb to Jordan Villamin at the 9:55 mark. It was also key in putting the much too close game out of reach for a fairly feisty Weber State team, who were then at the mercy of the Oregon State defense who could pin their ears back and attack the Wildcats' catch-up passing game. Place kicker Owens added the last score with his fourth field goal of the game, this time from 45 yards at the 3:11 mark.
The final stats for the game broke down with Oregon State finishing the game with 391 total yards, 110 yards passing and 281 yards rushing. The two-QB system for this game ended with Seth Collins throwing 10 for 18 with 92 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Marcus McMaryion went 2 for 4 and 18 yards. The Beavs were led in receiving by Jordan Villamin with 70 yards on 4 receptions. Storm Barrs-Woods rushed for 63 yards on 15 carries, Chris Brown had 54 yards on 14 carries, and Seth Collins led the way with a whooping 152 yards on 17 carries.
Weber State's offense finished with 178 yards, 120 yards passing and 58 yards rushing. The Wildcats were led by Jadrian Clark who threw for 120 yards on 19 for 35 attempts, Eric Wilkes rushed for 37 yards on 7 carries, and Drew Batchelor had 6 receptions for 51 receiving yards.
The Andersen era thus begins with a win, a hard fought win, but a win. There will be a lot to improve upon, but at the same time the defense played very well and freshman Seth Collins showed both a dynamic athleticism and also dig deep step-it-up attitude as the game was only at a six point advantage for the favored Beavers. Indeed Collins' looked very much to have earned a solid starting position behind center next week at "The Big House," and Coach Andersen said as much postgame. Collins' rushing game was the first 100-yard performance by a Beavers QB since 1986. In the end it was against a team that has not mustered more than two wins in their last three years, but it does, especially the second half, at least give some momentum going into a much more intriguing match up of new eras next week.
Next week Oregon State finds itself again matched up against Jim Harbaugh, but this time it is Harbaugh at Michigan and Oregon State under the direction of Gary Andersen. Michigan dropped a tough on the road opener against Utah, 24 to 17, and one would have to think the Wolverines will be fairly pumped up to prove something to their home crowd. The Utes played solid defense and Oregon State will do well to replicate that same level of shutdown of the Wolverines' rush and pass game. But what will be key will be the Oregon State offense stepping up its game for the Michigan defense may be not firing on all cylinders yet, but for sure will be a couple steps up from Weber State. Additionally it will be of interest to see how both new coaches adjust during the practice week, and especially for Beaver Nation to see how the new schemes and this young Oregon Sate football team will hold up against better competition.
The Oregon State (1-0) versus Michigan (0-1) game is scheduled for an around 9:00am PST kickoff time and will be aired nationally on ABC.
(And que the OSU Alumni band for the fight song.)
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)