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Oregon State vs. Stanford: Grades & Analysis

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In a hard to watch game, who shined and who faded?

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State was worn down by a relentless Stanford football team used physicality and force to hold off a hungry squad of Beavers last Saturday. As with every game, win or lose, we like to look deeper into how each position group performed throughout the contest. Starting this week I have instituted a grading scale to curb any of my personal bias, as well as keep a more consistent rubric to use throughout the remainder of the season. For each play, a position group will receive a numerical grade and at the end, the total number will be divided by the number of plays run by each position group and an average grade for the entire performance will be awarded.

  • 90+ = Outstanding
  • 77-89 = Good, above-average, or above expectations
  • 74-76 = OK, could have played better but could have done much worse, about as expected
  • 60-73 = Poor, needs to perform better, worse than expected
  • <60 = Awful. No additional description necessary.

QB Marcus McMaryion C (75)

At first glance, McMaryion’s numbers definitely deserve a worse grade. Had I not evaluated every play, and taken into account decision making, pressure on the quarterback, throw locations (meaning high, behind the receiver, on target, low, etc.) and various other mental attributes or intangibles, McMaryion’s grade increased. We saw some great reads in the option running game. We also saw quite a few throws that were low or behind the receiver. Another common theme throughout the matchup was McMaryion’s ability to stand in against the rush. Nearly half of his drop-backs, he was faced with pressure. Time after time, he stood in and delivered the ball (as best as he could) and typically to the right area. For a 3rd string quarterback, he is asked to manage the game. I feel we saw better decision making overall, but with poorer performance statistically. In that sense, it stands to reason he would be about as average as you can get. Aside from a bit better of a read option game, bright spot of the day for McMaryion? A perfectly thrown ball to Victor Bolden over the corner and in front of the safety, hitting him in stride, allowing Bolden to scamper 75 yards for a touchdown.

Running Backs B- (80)

The running backs continue to be a strong point for the Beavers. Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce combined to put up 113 yards on 17 carries. Nall was his usual punishing self, busting off a huge 52 yard run near the end of the third quarter, only to fall victim to the injury bug once again. Pierce came in, and was serviceable, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. There were a few missed blocks, but a few nice blitz pickups as well. Combine an average intangible performance with a good running and receiving performance, and you end up with what will be tied for the highest grade of the day for the Oregon State Beavers.

Wide Receivers D+ (68.5)

Victor Bolden had the 75 yard touchdown reception, and outside of that had 3 catches for 34 yards with a couple of drops late in the game. What lowered the grade so much? Route running and blocking. Routes were awful by just about every receiver. Rounded cuts, not sinking the hips when changing directions, and multiple receivers in the same area aren’t going to help an ailing pass offense get going. There weren’t many blocking opportunities as most runs for the Beavers were bottled up near the line. The blocking opportunities that there were didn’t end well the majority of the time. Stanford defenders routinely beat blocks on the outside to contain our perimeter rushing attack. This was one the worst performances by the receiving corps this season, and we hope can only improve from here.

Offensive Line C- (73)

The Oregon State offensive line got beat just a little more than they succeeded Saturday afternoon, which is the main reason for their Poor/Borderline Average grade. The Stanford defensive lineman were able to push their way into the backfield more often than not, and seemed to simply wear down the Beavers throughout the course of the game. There were plays the Oregon State line seemed to get a groove going, and some momentum by pushing back against a stout Cardinal front seven, but it never held. One thing’s for sure, this line won’t quit fighting until the final second ticks off the clock.

Defensive Line 75 (C)

The defensive line for the Beavers seemed to trade off plays, one play beating double teams, another play being taken out of a play by one Stanford lineman. After going back and recording the outcome of every defensive play for the defensive lineman, I came out to a grade of exactly 75.0. They literally did their job well (occupying multiple lineman, penetrating into the backfield, or closing running lanes among other things) fifty percent of the time, and got beat (blocked by a single lineman, missing assignments, etc.) the other fifty percent of the time. Stanford’s offensive line is huge, so they posed a difficult challenge for the Beavers. In the end, they did a decent job in their assignments.

Linebackers C- (70)

The linebackers had a rough day. More often than not, poor containment and missed tackles got the best of the entire group. There were obviously some positive plays throughout the contest, but it was hard to watch as a linebacker would appropriately fill a gap, only to miss what could have been a tackle for loss, or at the least holding the running back to a short gain. Too many times Christian McCaffrey or Bryce Love would get an extra 3, 4, 5 or even more yards because of poor wrapping up by linebackers. The athleticism is there, and typically, our players were in decent position, so we have optimism. It’s also important to note that one of the more active players for the Beaver defense, Bright Ugwoegbu was suspended for the first half of the game due to a targeting penalty against Washington State University in the second half the previous week.

Defensive Backs 80 (B-)

There wasn’t much of a passing offense for either team, but when Stanford did attempt to go through the air, the defensive secondary for the Beavers was there. Giving up little to nothing after the catch on nearly every completion, and keeping the struggling Cardinal quarterback from getting any sort of rhythm together throughout the game. One of the more positive observations from the game, was the ability of the defensive backs to get some containment on the outside when needed. Multiple times a safety would come up to send McCaffrey or Love back inside towards the rest of the defensive help.

Special Teams 70 (C-)

Without anything spectacular, added in with yet another missed field goal by struggling kicker Garrett Owens and a few really poor punts and Saturday can be viewed as a day the special teams unit should forget and quick. Just as a side note, this grade could have been lower, but I understand while the punts were much shorter than necessary, they accomplished the goal (keeping McCaffrey from having an opportunity to return them). That being said, you can keep a returner from having the chance to run a kick back with longer kicks than 27 and 28 yards, as seen by Nick Porebski’s 47 yard punt in the second half that didn’t allow McCaffrey a chance to return it.


Oregon State needs work, but everyone knew that would be the case entering the season. The amount of injuries that have been dealt with don’t help. With a slightly more favorable matchup next week, hopefully the young Beavers squad can continue to focus on improving, and perhaps win another Pac-12 game in the process. Go Beavs!