As Mike Parker likes to say ‘It’s a great day to be a Beaver,’ as Oregon State notched its first win of the Darrell Garretson era with a convincing 37-7 victory over Idaho State Saturday afternoon. The OSU win, which puts the Beavers at 1-1 on the year, came just over an hour after Mike Riley and Nebraska handed No. 22 Oregon its first loss of the year, making Saturday particularly satisfying for Beaver Nation. Regardless of how people might feel about Riley’s abrupt departure, it’s hard not to feel vindication as OSU’s all-time winningest coach led his new team in a round of his customary ‘hip, hip, hoorays!’ at the expense of the Ducks. Back in Corvallis, meanwhile, the Beavers played to a solid, if not expected victory, of their own. But considering the win comes after a bye week and against an FCS team in Idaho State, who had to deal with Colorado last week, how well did Oregon State really perform? Let’s take a closer look.
QB – Darrell Garretson, B-
Everything starts with the quarterback, and Oregon State is no different. The offense is clearly improved from a year ago, and a lot of that can be credited to having a competent signal-caller behind center, but Saturday’s performance against Idaho State didn’t exactly blow anyone’s hair back. Garretson finished the afternoon 15-of-30 passing for 172 yards and an interception — an admittedly pedestrian stat line — but he did add 46 yards rushing and a touchdown on eight carries. Considering the opponent and how Garretson played in OSU’s week one loss to Minnesota, it would be easy to say that the junior quarterback was underwhelming, but he played within himself and escaped continued pressure all game long. At the end of the day Garretson led his team to 37 points and a victory, and considering the year Oregon State experienced in 2015, and the expectations for this season for that matter, that’s an outcome the Beavers will gladly take.
RB – Ryan Nall, C
His touches were limited largely due to a lingering foot injury he sustained against Minnesota, but it’s hard to feel good about 39 yards on 13 carries. Nall did get in the end zone once, but Saturday’s performance is a bit worrying considering how much the OSU offense will rely on the bruising sophomore this season. Nall suffered from what was an underwhelming performance on the part of the offensive line, but he’ll need to pick up his production if Oregon State wants to remain in the win column against Boise State next weekend.
WR – Victor Bolden Jr., A
Granted it was against Idaho State, and the outcome of the game was settled seemingly in the first quarter, but this was one of Bolden’s better performances as a Beaver including two electrifying touchdowns. The senior speedster has always had the talent, but untimely drops and mistakes have plagued much of his career. But neither his hands, nor his legs, betrayed him on this rainy afternoon, as Bolden secured 56 yards receiving on two catches in addition to 111 yards on the ground. He capped off his day with a 92-yard touchdown run on a fly sweep — the longest OSU touchdown in Reser Stadium since Terry Baker’s 99-yard scamper in 1962. Not too shabby.
WR – Jordan Villamin, D+
Look, it’s early in the season and Saturday’s conditions didn’t exactly lend themselves to a high-octane passing attack. But it has to be at least a little bit concerning for Oregon State that its top offensive weapon was held to just 27 yards receiving two weeks after he recorded just one catch for five yards in the season opener. Like Nall, Villamin will need to get things going if OSU hopes to win any conference games this year. It’s quite possible, and perhaps even likely, that Villamin will break out next week, but until then his current chemistry with Garretson has to be somewhat alarming for Anderson and his coaching staff.
Offensive Line, D
The offensive line was not good. Period. The unit had some moments, but there were more negatives than positives on this night. Takeaway Bolden’s 111 rushing yards and the offense churned out just 135 yards on 38 carries against what should be an inferior opponent. Garretson, meanwhile, was under constant pressure and was frequently running for his life. To make matters worse sophomore tight end Noah Togiai, who’s admittedly more valuable to the Beavers in the passing game, left the game with a knee injury and was seen walking with crutches after the game. It’s well-documented that this unit is thin as is, so any injury is concerning. All that being said, however, the OSU offense still put up 30 points on its own, so of course there are positives Anderson and the offensive line can take away. Let’s just hope for Garretson’s sake they fare better against a much better opponent next week.
Defensive Line, A
As bad as the offensive line looked at times on Saturday, the defensive line looked quite the opposite, turning in an impressive performance. The unit produced four sacks and kept constant pressure on Idaho State quarterback Tanner Gueller, including a strip sack and fumble recovery early in the first quarter. Titus Failauga stood out in particular, recording two sacks and multiple quarterback pressures, and Elu Aydon seemed to be in the Bengals’ backfield all night long. Oregon State is bigger and faster than Idaho State’s frontline, and considering OSU was coming off a bye one would expect consistent defensive pressure, but that doesn’t make Saturday’s performance any less impressive. There were some big plays — Jakori Ford’s 75-yard TD scamper stands out in particular — but when the dust settled Oregon State allowed just seven points. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Clune will take a performance like that any day of the week, regardless of the opponent.
Prior to Saturday’s matchup no Oregon State cornerback had tallied an interception in 22 games. Yikes. Much to the relief of Anderson, the secondary got that proverbial monkey off its back when cornerback Treston Decoud picked off Gueller in the first quarter. The unit piled things on as the afternoon progressed, finishing the game with four interceptions — giving OSU five total takeaways. Decoud looked like the best player on the field all day, intercepting Gueller a second time in the third quarter, taking it all the way to the house for his first career score. Boise State has always been lethal through the air, so Saturday’s performance from the secondary, and in particular Decoud, has to be particularly promising. Decoud Island, anyone?
Special Teams, B+
Oregon State had things buttoned up in terms of special teams, and kicker Garrett Owens went 3-of-4 on field goals in a solid performance. The kicking game continues to be a strength for Oregon State and will continue to be an area of the game Anderson and company can rely on going forward.
Look, at the end of the day Oregon State’s 37-7 win is what it is — a drubbing of a less-talented team coming off two full weeks of preparation thanks to OSU’s bye. I don’t like reading into matchups against FCS teams anyways, as you never know what to expect in these types of games, and this situation is no different. Yes, the offensive line was suspect and Garretson and Villamin’s chemistry continues to be at least somewhat concerning, but what’s important is that Oregon State left Reser with a win and confidence heading into what promises to be an exciting if not competitive contest against Boise State next Saturday. For today, at least, it’s a great day to be a Beaver. Who knows how many more times Beaver Nation will get to say that this season.