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Oregon State Football: What We Learned From Oregon State’s Upset Win vs Cal

Takeaways from Oregon State’s 47-44 overtime victory against Cal


Oregon State was able to pull off a major upset against a solid Cal Bears team with a 47-44 overtime victory Saturday night at Reser Stadium in front of 34,066 fans. The Beavers were led by RB Ryan Nall who rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns. The Beavs were able to limit the Bear Raid passing attack to 124 yards passing and no touchdowns. Cal, however, was able to have major success on the ground rushing for 317 yards. Cal was able to comeback from a 17 point deficit in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. The Beavs were able to overcome Cal’s momentum as the defense was able to hold Cal to a field goal and the Beavs capitalized on their possession thanks to Darrell Garretson’s 16 yard touchdown run. The fans and players celebrated vigorously as the Beavers ended their 12 game PAC 12 losing streak, which dated back to November of 2014. Here’s what we learned from Oregon State’s upset victory.

Wow! What a Great Job by the Offensive Line

After struggling for most of the season, the Offensive Line bounced back in a gigantic way against Cal. The front 5 lead the way for the Beavs to rush for 474 yards, the most yards Oregon State has ever rushed in conference play. The addition of Sean Harlow has helped this group tremendously. Dustin Stanton had an impressive game. In the post game conference, Coach Andersen, Darrell Garretson, and Ryan Nall heavily praised the performance of the Offensive Line. Also, Garretson was not sacked all game, which is a huge improvement for this group. This group deserves the game ball.

Did the Offense Find Its Identity?

The Beaver Offense had their best performance of the season, and arguably their most impressive performance during the Gary Andersen Era. The Beavers racked up 559 yards in total offense and they scored 47 points. They were able to out score and out gain an explosive Cal Offense, which is currently ranked 7th in the nation in total yards per game. The Beavers executed their game plan successfully, as they were able to control the clock most of the game. In addition, they were able to limit the time on the field for the Cal Offense. As mentioned above, the Beavers were able to rush for 474 yards. Ryan Nall led all rushers with a phenomenal game which included 221 yards on 14 carries, and 3 touchdowns. Nall finally looked healthy, and he punished the Cal Defense with his size and speed. Nall ended up winning a helmet sticker award from ESPN Analyst Joey Galloway. Fortunately for Beaver fans, Nall’s injury is not serious. QB Darrell Garretson rushed for 105 yards on 10 carries, with 3 touchdowns. The Beavs also benefited from solid games from Artavis Pierce, Paul Lucas, and lets not forget some solid runs from Victor Bolden. The Beaver runners ran hard and fought for every yard.

The Beavers may have found their identity as a strong running team. In previous games, the Beavs have found sprinkles of success in the run game. In addition, the Beavs had success on short, quick passes, and bubble screens to the Receivers. 85 yards is not a lot of passing yards in a game, but the Beavers made completions when they needed to. Timmy Hernandez’s 9 yard reception in overtime was huge because it setup Garretson’s 16 yard game winning touchdown run. The deep ball and vertical passing game still needs improvement, but if the Beavs can consistently move the ball on the ground with a variety of runners and keep the secondary honest with quick passes to the receivers, the Offense will immensely help this team this season.

The Beaver Pass Defense Strikes Back

After giving up, 316 yards passing to Colorado (10.8 yards per completion) and 3 touchdowns, the Beavers pass defense was able to limit the Cal QB Davis Webb to 113 passing yards and no touchdown passes. This is quite a feat knowing that Webb leads the nation in passing yards! Treston DeCoud did a great job limiting Cal WR Chad Hansen to 4 catches for 16 yards. In addition, the Beavers were able to force a Davis Webb turnover when Safety Devin Chappell was able to intercept Webb. Although Cal was able to have major success in the running game, the Beavers limited Cal’s Bear Raid passing attack. Credit the defense for coming up huge in overtime by holding Cal to a field goal. It was expected that Cal was going to score many points, especially when the Beaver Defense was wearing down in the fourth quarter. The defense did their job by hanging on and making enough plays to win the game.

QB Situation is Solved For Now

In the week leading up to the Cal game, Coach Andersen and Co-Offensive Coordinator expressed their support for starter Darrell Garretson, and Garretson responded with a solid performance helping his team upset Cal in Reser Stadium. Although, Garretson’s passing stats were pedestrian (13-24, 85 yards, 0 tds., 2 ints.), he was able to run the ball tremendously. Garretson rushed for 105 yards on 10 carries with 2 rushing touchdowns. Garretson scored the game winning touchdown in overtime where he was able to corral a snap that was slightly off target, and he made a great cutback to score the Beavers winning points. Garretsons passing game wasn’t pretty but he made throws that mattered. Coach Andersen praised Garretson for his game management by snapping the ball when the play clock was going to expire. This helped limit the time Cal’s offense was on the field. Garretson displayed tons of heart and toughness by fighting for every tough yard. Although it won’t show up on paper, credit Conor Blount for filling in for Garretson for one play that Garretson was dinged up on. Blount may be expected to fill in at certain points, and it’s great that he has the confidence to run the offense if needed.

Confidence Is Building

Oregon State was able to get their first PAC 12 win in the Coach Gary Andersen era. It was the first PAC 12 win for the Beavs since November 16, 2014 when they upset eighth ranked Arizona State. It was a huge step in rebuilding this program. Now that the Beavs got that particular monkey off their backs, they can move forward. Although, it looked like the Beavers blew a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter, credit the team for continuing to fight and finding a way to win. Overtime wins go a long way in building a team’s character. In addition, the overtime win created a special memory for Beaver Nation. Many Beaver fans will not delete the recording of this game on their DVR’s. The Beaver players and Coaching Staff should be very proud of themselves as their hard work has finally paid off. Hopefully for Oregon State, this win was not an anomaly and a sign of great things to come.