The Beavers (0-1, 0-0 in Pac 12) had their last two drives end by not converting on 4th down in their 30-23 season opening loss in Minneapolis, Minnesota against the host school Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-0, 0-0 in Big 10) at TCF Bank Stadium. Oregon State had numerous opportunities to get their first road win against a Big 10 conference member since they defeated Minnesota in 1978.
Minnesota’s Jalen Myrick returned the opening kickoff 56 yards to the Beavers 44 yard line. Beavers forced the Gophers to Punt after a huge 3rd and 1 stop by Devin Chappell on the Oregon State 38. and Minnesota downed it at the one. Beavers were forced to punt on their first possession after a 3 and out. Minnesota began their second drive on the Beaver 45. After great pressure, the Beavers forced another punt. Beavers began their second possession on their own 11. After missing a potential big play where Beaver quarterback Darrell Garretson overthrew Wide Receiver Victor Bolden, Beavers got their first first down after Gopher Linebacker Cody Poock got a personal foul targeting on a third and 10 keeping their drive alive. Poock was ejected from the game. Beaver Running Back Ryan Nall made two big plays on the drive, with a 31 yard reception on a slip screen, and a 40 yard Nall run to the Minnesota 11. On third and goal from the 6 Garretson threw a 6 yard bullet to Noah Togoai for the Beavers first touchdown of the season. The touchdown and a Garrett Owens extra point gave the Beavers a 7-0 lead with 5:52 left in the first quarter.
On the first play in the second quarter, Garretson was sacked on 3rd and 15 and fumbled the football, which was recovered by Minnesota on the OSU 28 yard line. Minnesota was able to tie the game at 7 after a 6 yard QB keeper by Mitch Leidner and an Emmitt Carpenter extra point. On the next Beaver possession, Garretson completed a 25 yard pass to Seth Collins to the Minnesota 34 yard line. On the very next play, Garretson was sacked by Tai’yon Devers, and fumbled the football. Kamal Martin recovered the football for Minnesota on their own 41 yard line with 12:05 left in the half. Minnesota completes a 60 yard touchdown drive on a 4 yard touchdown run by Running Back Rodney Smith. After a Beaver punt, the Beavers caught a break on a bad snap by Minnesota that the Gophers fell on their own 4 yard line and the Beavers forced a punt. The Beavers began their drive on the 50 that ended with a 30 yd passing strike from Garretson to Bolden with 1:04 left in the half. Carpenter makes a 45 yard field goal that hit the inside of the upright as time expired that gave the Gophers a 17-14 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Minnesota Linebacker Jonathan Celestin got ejected on a late helmet to helmet hit on a 7 yard run by Garretson. Celestin lead with his helmet as Garretson was sliding for the first down with 10:17 left in the 3rd. Four plays later, the Beavers were forced to punt, and Nick Porebski’s 34 yard punt landed on the Minnesota 5 yard line. Minnesota’s center Tyler Moore had his second errant snap of the game, which led to a Safety for the Beavers as Leidner landed on the ball in the back of the endzone with 5:37 left in the 3rd. Trailing 17-16, the Beavers were able to recover a muffed punt by returner Drew Wolitarsky. Ryan Navarro was able to land on the ball on the Gopher 25. Four plays later, Garretson was able to connect with an open Tim Cook on a 12 yard touchdown swingpass giving the Beavs a 23 to 17 lead with 2:17 left in the 3rd.
Minnesota was able to get the lead back after a 12 play, 80 yard drive that was capped off by a 2 yard touchdown run by Rodney Smith where he broke a tackle by OSU Linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu, which would have been a tackle for loss. The Beavs were forced to punt in their next drive with 13:11 remaining in the game. After forcing the Gophers to punt, the Beavers were able to move the ball to the Minnesota 43 yard line ,highlighted by a 22 yard screen pass from Garretson to Nall. In addition, Tai’yon Devers was the third Gopher ejected this game for targeting with a helmet on a roughing the passer penalty on Darrell Garretson. The Beavs however, turned the ball over on downs when Tim Cook was stuffed for no gain on 4th and 1 with 8:57 left.
Minnesota was able to cap of a 8 play 57 yard drive with a 1 yard Leidner touchdown run to extend their lead to 30 to 23 with 1:27 left. However, in an unorthodox decision by Minnesota Head Coach Tracy Claeys, Minnesota decided to go for two rather than taking an 8 point lead. Treston DeCoud deflected Leidner’s pass, and the Beavers had one last shot. After a dropped pass by Victor Bolden on 3rd and 5 on the OSU 32, Garretson, under pressure, threw to Ryan Nall well short of the first down chains. Afterwards, Minnesota was able to run out the clock, which was aided by a personal foul by OSU freshman defensive tackle Elu Aldon.
Ryan Nall led the Beavers in rushing, receptions, and receiving yards. He had 71 yards on 13 carries. Nall also had 8 catches for 80 yards. Garretson, in his Oregon State debut, was 25 of 40 with 228 yards and 3 touchdown passes. The Beavers outgained Minnesota in total yards 317 to 280.