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Oregon State vs. Arizona: Grades and Analysis

The Beavers largely dominated in a game they were expected to win.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Oregon State Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State was picked to win from the start, but did so in a more convincing fashion than even the odds makers had expected. Marcus McMaryion with only three incompletions, Ryan Nall back in the starting lineup and the reemergence of Jordan Villamin headline the Beavers’ second Pac-12 win of the season. On a night full of positives, what did the performances truly look like?

QB Marcus McMaryion (83) B

On paper, with only three incompletions, five touchdowns and not a single pick, you’d think a quarterback with that stat line would receive a grade in the 90s! While one could argue that, if you look at his decision making, pocket awareness and passing accuracy, the grade levels out to what ends up being an above average performance in all. McMaryion got a big plus for being able to take care of the ball, ending the game without a single turnover. The biggest negative marks for the sophomore quarterback were his passing accuracy, and a few questionable decisions. Multiple passes, even when complete were low or behind the receiver. Keep in mind, his passing is become more accurate than it was previously in the season, but with a little more accuracy some of the plays could have lead his receivers into a lot bigger of a gain. McMaryion did what was asked of him, and did it pretty well for the most part. Here’s hoping this trend of improving quarterback play continues.

Running Backs (82) B-

A “B-” from the running backs!? Here’s the deal, Oregon State running backs should have completely torn apart this weak Arizona defense. It’s not like they didn’t do a decent job, they did. A lot of the lack of “big plays” could in truth be attributed to the offensive lineman, and will be. After my first time through watching the game, I had the running back unit at a solid B (85). Watching for a second time, there were probably 7-8 plays where whoever was at running back either clearly missed the hole, or was poor in pass protection. Now these errors weren’t so egregious that they were dropped down into the C range, because in no way did they deserve a grade that low. However, when adding these negatives into the formula, out popped an 82. Still more positives than negatives, and man, doesn’t Beaver Nation just love it when Ryan Nall gets to play, this kid is exciting! Between Nall and Artavis Pierce, expect to continue to see a formidable rushing attack from Oregon State for the foreseeable future.

Wide Receivers (84) B

There was a point earlier in this season where I would have sat here and proclaimed two statements: “Oregon State’s wide receivers won’t out-grade the running backs in a single game.” and “Jordan Villamin is all but done as a receiver for the Beavers this season”. Well they showed me. Down field blocking on running plays still needs some serious work, as does route running for a select couple of receivers. That being said, this receiving group as a whole ran quality routes, caught balls that were catchable and just outplayed the Arizona Wildcats’ defensive backs. Boy was it a sight for sore eyes to see Jordan Villamin suddenly reappear from his hibernation. Every Beaver fan knows the kid can play, and we finally saw a glimpse of what we had been expecting at the start of the season. Hopefully this gets Villamin out of his season long rut and he can take some momentum into the Civil War and next season. On a side note, our hearts and prayers go out to Seth Collins, and we wish him a speedy and full recovery!

Offensive Line (80) B-

In another case of, almost all good but still needs work, the Beaver offensive line was a bit of a let down against a weaker Arizona front seven. The push from the offensive line just wasn’t the same as it has been all season, and there were several plays where some whiffs were made allowing Wildcat defenders to make a play. Honestly, I am just going to chalk this up to a combination of Arizona out-fighting the Beavers o-line on a few plays, and the change of the starting five on the o-line. I know it was back to the same group of guys that started for the majority of the season, however changing the starting five two weeks in a row changes how you think. The good thing for Oregon State, is there were definitely more positive plays for the o-line. I look forward to seeing this group dominate a whole paddling of ducks.

Defensive Line (85) B

This group of guys dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game. 100 of the 162 rushing yards for Arizona came from their quarterbacks. On true running plays, the defensive linemen consistently got penetration, or occupied two Wildcat offensive lineman allowing linebackers to go untouched into the Arizona backfield. This was a heck of a performance that helped in limited the opponent’s running backs to a mere 62 yards on 18 carries. Well done.

Linebackers (83) B

Missing Bright Ugwoegbu, and numerous other linebackers, this position group could have easily laid an egg for the rest of the season and no one really would have been surprised. Instead, two true freshman in Andrzej Hughes-Murray and Omar Hicks-Onu have teamed up with Manase Hungalu and Caleb Saulo to form quite the group of linebackers. Hungalu and Saulo were their usual chaotic self, disrupting plays left and right, while Hughes--Murray and Hicks-Onu controlled the edge well throughout the majority of the game. There were a couple plays where a linebacker lost contain here and there, but that is to be expected when you are working with kids that were supposed to redshirt the year, and instead were forced into starting roles.

Defensive Backs (85) B

Once again, a strength for this Beaver football team was the defensive backfield. Dwayne Williams could not have gotten healthy at a more perfect time, with the loss of Jalen Moore for the season. With Williams returning Devin Chappell was able to return to his natural safety position, and the team was back to just about full strength for defensive backs. Throughout the entirety of the contest, the Oregon State defensive backs simply looked better than the receivers they were covering. Sure Trey Griffey (how can you not root for him if you are from the PNW) caught a few quick curl routes in the beginning, and there were two passes that got away from the secondary, but thats why they aren’t in the 90s. Aside from a few plays in the entire game, the Beaver defensive backs were in a spot to make a play. Would I have loved to see more passes broken up or intercepted? Of course! But I have to look at what is there, and that was some quality play by the Beaver defensive backs.

Special Teams (76) C

What is there to say about the special teams unit? No field goals were kicked by Oregon State, and there was only one punt for 42 yards which had good coverage by the Beavs. Arizona had a chance to return only three of the seven kickoffs, and did so for an average of about 16 yards per return. Oregon State’s return game was poor, with two returns for an average of 12.5 yards per return. It rounds out to be an exceptionally average special teams performance. They did however end up with one point above average and I attribute that largely to the good kick coverage by the Beavs.

In the end, Oregon State performed much better than anyone (outside of Beaver Nation) had predicted. The Beavers now have two more conference wins than all of last year, and look to gain a third during the upcoming Civil War. A win would also mean the Beavers will double their total wins from a year ago. Things are looking up in Corvallis, and of course, Go Beavs!