Oregon State put up a great fight in a rainy, windy game against the 21st ranked Utah Utes. Yet, they ultimately fell short in a 19-14 loss. The Defense was impressive and were able to hold Utah to 317 total yards. The weather played a major role in the lack of offense from both teams. Here are some things we learned in the 5 point loss.
These Beavers have Heart
Weather was a major factor in the game. The heavy rain and strong winds played a role in limiting both offenses. Both teams had a difficult time passing. Most importantly, the weather aided in causing mistakes for both teams. The Beavers had two turnovers, a bad snap on a punt resulting in a safety, two missed field goals, key dropped passes, and multiple missed opportunities. In fact, Beavers lost RB Ryan Nall for the game after Nall fired up the Reser Crowd with a 32 yard run. According to an OSU Spokesman, Ryan Nall re-aggravated his foot injury. In addition, the Beavers had 1 passing yard entering the fourth quarter, yet were only trailing 12-7! Also, the Beavers lost their starting quarterback and backup quarterback due to injury. Despite all the things that went wrong for the Beavers, they were still in the game to the very end. The team didn’t quit after Utah capitalized on a Connor Blount fumble by taking the lead 19-7 thanks to the 8 yd. touchdown run by QB Troy Williams with 3:18 remaining. Williams’s touchdown run looked to be the final blow to the Beavers. Instead, 3rd string quarterback Marcus McMaryion led a Beaver touchdown drive to bring them within 5. The Beaver Defense stopped Utah on a 4th and 1, and had a shot at the end. Coach Andersen raved about his team’s effort vs Utah. Andersen mentioned how proud he is to be this team’s coach. The team’s lack of depth and recent injures are obstacles this team needs to overcome. However, for Beaver Nation, it should be encouraging that their team is not throwing in the towel.
Gary Andersen’s Team is Much Improved in Year 2 than Year 1
Last season, the Beavers were mostly unwatchable. Beaver players and coaches talked about how certain players weren’t buying into Gary Anderson’s style of play. The Beavers were not competitive and were blown out in most games. Fast forward to this season. Last week, the Beavers earned their first conference win under Gary Andersen. This week, they gave a nationally ranked Utah team a run for their money. Despite the Colorado game, they have been competitive in PAC 12 play so far this season. It could be argued that the Beavs are a few plays away from being 4-2. Beavers are beginning to find their identity under Gary Andersen as a hard nosed running team that plays aggressive defense. It will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses. Can the Beavers continue to grow and make lots of noise in the PAC 12 the rest of the season? Or, will injuries and a difficult stretch of games coming up in the second half of the season take its toll on this young team?
The Beavers Need to Improve Their Passing Game
One yard passing is a red flag, despite the miserable weather conditions. Andersen mentioned in the post game interview, "Our passing game as a whole is a real struggle right now. We can't sugarcoat it, fake it, hide it, pretend it's not there. It's not good."
Credit the Beavers improvement in the passing game in the 4th quarter. However, the passing game in the first three quarters was disastrous. Garretson was 1-16 at the end of the first half with one yard passing. The blame was not just with the quarterbacks, but with the receivers as well. The receivers dropped some key passes that would have helped the passing game. In addition, it looked like there were several plays that both the QB and WR were not on the same page. However, the Beavers called way too many passing plays in the first half when the weather conditions made it very difficult to throw for both teams. The Beavers hope the improved production in the passing game during the 4th quarter will carry over to future games.
The Mentality to Win in Close Games Needs to Improve
Although, the Beavers broke through in the PAC 12 win column vs Cal, they had several opportunities to defeat a very good Utah team, but they failed to capitalize on several opportunities. The Beavers had seized momentum, when they had 1st and goal on the 10 yard line under 6 minutes left in the game, and they failed to capitalize. The Conor Blount incomplete pass to Seth Collins on 3rd and 8 was an example of not capitalizing on an opportunity. Blount and Collins had a miscommunication on a pass that could have given the Beavers the lead late in the game. Instead, Garrett Owens shanked a field goal that Gary Andersen blamed on the bad snap. Although it was Blount’s first play after Garretson was injured, there should not have been a miscommunication on such an important play. Especially, since the Offense had time to discuss the play during the injury time out. Credit the Utah Defense for making the Beaver Offense’s afternoon difficult. However, kudos to the Defense for making enough plays to keep the game close.
The Beaver Special Teams have been successful all season. However, they made some key mistakes today. There was a snap over Nick Porebski’s head that went into the back of the end zone for a safety. Garrett Owens missed two field goals, which Anderson blamed his 25 yd. missed field goal on a bad snap. Also, Porebski shanked a punt in the first quarter. In addition, the return team had several blocking penalties, and a late onside kick by Owens did not go 10 yds. Great Special Teams play can make a difference, however bad Special Teams play can be costly.