Oregon State held a 24-6 lead over the double-digit favored Washington State Cougars at halftime. The Cougars, however, were able to outscore the Beavers 29-7 in the 2nd half to complete the 35-31 Washington State comeback victory. The Beavers had multiple opportunities to pull the upset, but they ultimately fell short. Here is what we learned from the Beavers 4 point loss.
The Tale of Two Halves of Football
During the first half, the Beavers played phenomenal. The Beavers were balanced on Offense and making key stops on Defense. In fact, Washington State was held scoreless until they scored with 4:39 minutes left in the 1st half. The Beavers out-gained the Cougars 384-198 yds. in the 1st half. The Passing Game was solid, and the Offense was able to move the ball successfully. The Offense was highlighted by big explosive plays including RB Ryan Nall’s 89 yard TD run, Marcus McMaryion’s 46 yd. TD pass to Seth Collins, and Victor Bolden’s amazing 38 yard catch, which led to Nall’s 19 yard TD reception. Cougars Head Coach Mike Leach mentioned the Beavers out-played and out-coached his Cougar team in the 1st half. Overall, the Beavers played remarkable in the first half.
The 2nd half was difficult to swallow for Beaver Fans. Credit the Washington State Cougars for making the proper adjustments and making life difficult for this young Oregon State team. The Cougars play in the 2nd half demonstrated why they are tied for first place in the PAC 12 North. Coach Andersen and his staff hope the Beavers can get to the same success level that Mike Leach’s program is currently at. The Cougs were able to make plays in the air in the 2nd half. In addition, the Cougar Defensive Line created chaos for the Beaver Offense.
The Beavers had 13 penalties for 110 yards. In addition to the penalties the Beavers also had crucial false starts, including a false start on an important 4th and 1 late in the game. Additionally, the Cougs were aided by a targeting penalty by Beaver LB Bright Ugwoegbu. Coach Andersen mentioned that these critical mistakes made the Beavs look like the young, inexperienced team that they are.
The bottom line was the Beavers needed to make crucial plays down the stretch, and they didn’t make enough of them. They had a big opportunity at the end, but unfortunately they couldn’t convert on a 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 in Cougar territory. The Beavers are improving, but they need to make plays when they matter just as they did in the Cal victory three weeks ago.
Despite What Their Record is, The Beavers Are Getting Better
It could be argued the Beavers are a few plays away from a 4-4 or 5-3 record. Yet, they sit at 2-6. Besides the 1st half of the Boise Game, Colorado, and Washington games, the Beavers have been competitive this season. Fans have been staying through the entire games at Reser Stadium, rather than leaving early from blowout losses. In 2015, the Beavers were blown own in nearly every loss. Although, their record won’t show it, progress is being made in Corvallis. This team is short handed. They have had to burn Redshirts of promising Freshmen in order to fill positions on the field. The Offensive Line has battled through adversity on and off the field. The Beavers have dealt through numerous injuries. They are playing with their 3rd string Quarterback. Yet, this team constantly displays heart and toughness that is a reflection of this coaching staff. Beaver Nation has to be proud of this team’s fight.
For Beaver Nation, the close losses can be frustrating. Their current record at 2-6 is not what this team was hoping for. However, Coach Andersen promised his team is not not throwing in the towel. There are still 4 games left to make progress with the opportunity to win some of them. Looking at the big picture, this Beaver team is young. They have a good group of talented Freshmen on the roster, and they are getting solid commits for the 2017 class. Brighter days are ahead in Corvallis. Beaver Nation is hoping for one of those brighter days this weekend against Stanford. The question is, when will it all come together?