The Beavers lost in frustrating fashion Saturday night against the Washington State Cougars 35-31, after blowing a 24-6 halftime lead. There are many reasons why they lost this game in the second half, but perhaps one of the biggest is lack of discipline.
Oregon State finished the game with 13 penalties for 110 yards. Every single time it looked like the Beavers were going to make a drive downfield there seemed to be multiple holding or false start penalties. On the defensive end, multiple offsides penalties. These are the penalties that drive coaches insane.
What’s even more frustrating is the timing of these penalties. Oregon State was in no man’s land on a 4th and 1 and got a false start penalty pushing them back and forcing them to punt late in the game, Washington State had a 3rd and long that changed to a 3rd and short because of an offsides penalty which lead to an easy first down pickup, the Beavers get back to back false starts and push themselves out of field goal range, the list goes on with the penalties in the second half. They were all capped off by a targeting penalty by Bright Ugwoegbu that is going to cost us one of our better players on defense for the first half of next week’s game. Washington State took advantage of these mistakes time after time and it led to them pulling out the win.
By no means am I saying that these penalties were the sole reason for this loss, there were many others, but they certainly did not help. Oregon State averages 61.7 yards per game on penalties, which is 40th most in FBS. It may not seem like much, but in close games it happens in the worst possible times. When they faced off against Cal they had 10 penalties for 81 yards, but luckily it didn’t stop them from winning, against Utah 9 for 65 yards, most of which coming in the 4th quarter.
The penalties in crunch time have to cut down or else what we saw against Utah and Washington State is going to continue to happen to the Beavers in close games. If Oregon State can continue to keep themselves in games and cut down on those errors, they might be able to squeak a couple more close victories out this season.