Oregon State had a very rough first half where they were out-gained by the Boise State Broncos 435-67 in total yards. At the half, the Beavers trailed the Broncos 31-7. The Beavers turned to Freshmen Conor Blount to help the Beavers cut the lead to 31-17 in the 3rd quarter. The Beaver Defense did a great job containing the Bronco Offense in the second half by limiting the Boise offense to 77 yards and no touchdowns (the only touchdown Boise scored in the second half was on a 19 yard fumble return for touchdown by Darren Lee). After scoring 10 unanswered points, the Beaver offense couldn’t capitalize on the Beaver Defense shutting down the Bronco offense. The Beavers comeback bid fell short to a very good Boise State team 38-24. Here’s what we learned from Saturday’s loss.
Beaver Special Teams are Special
The Beavers play on Special Teams Saturday was quite impressive. The kickoff return unit scored points on Victor Bolden’s 99 yard touchdown return. which was well executed by the return team. In addition, Bolden had a 59 yard kickoff return to help setup the offense’s first touchdown of the game. How about the onside kick by Freshman Adley Rutschman that he was able to recover himself! The kickoff and punt coverage was superb. Punter Nick Porebski did a solid job. Despite missing a 45 yard field goal early in the game, Garret Owens was able to knock in a 41 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter. It is an encouraging sign for the Beavers that the Special Teams are solid especially against a good Boise State Opponent. Beaver Nation should feel better about the future of this team since there are many underclassmen that are on this Special Teams Unit.
This Team Doesn’t Quit
Lets not sugarcoat it, folks. The Beavs were flat out dominated by Boise 31-7 in the first half, and it could have been worse. Many Beaver fans left at Halftime thinking that this game was completely over and Boise was going to pummel the Beavers into a 2015 type blowout. Those that stayed (and some fans that left came back) witnessed Freshman Conor Blount and the rest of the Beavs quickly cut into the lead and get back into the game. Credit the Defense for slowing down the Boise run game and putting great pressure on Boise QB Brett Rypien. The intensity of this Beaver team was much better in the second half. During the first half, the body language of the Beaver players didn’t look good. Many Beaver players looked defeated and emotionless late in the first half, which made it look like to many at Reser Stadium that the second half was going to be much worse. It was difficult to comeback from a beating that Boise gave the Beavs in the first half, especially for a program that is 9-23 since the Beavs defeated the Cal Bears 49-17 on Oct. 19, 2013. Credit the Beavs and the Beaver Coaching Staff for not giving up when things looked bleak. Now, if the Beavers can play like they did in the second half for the rest of the year...........
Offensive Line Woes
The topic of the Beaver Offensive line woes has been widely discussed on Building the Dam, the media, and Beaver Nation. The running game picked up in the second half for the Beavs, but the Beaver offense was unable to convert on a key fourth and 1 run up the middle for the third game in a row. Boise was able to sack the QB 6 times. It seemed on most of the Beaver passing plays the Beaver QB was running for their life in the backfield. There was an article on espn.com that was well done about all the obstacles, tragedies, and adversities this group has faced on and off the field. Here’s the link. http://www.espn.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/103961/through-injury-illness-and-tragedy-oregon-states-o-line-perseveres
The Bottom line is this group has dealt with a lot, they have a ways to go to help this offense improve.
Freshman walk-on Quarterback Conor Blount started the second half and did a solid job leading the offense (11 completions on 18 attempts for 134 yards). It was a shock to many since Blount was not listed as the backup. Blount demonstrated a quick release, great mobility, and kept great composure in his first college game. Coach Anderson mentioned in the post game interview that starting QB Darrell Garretson wasn’t 100 percent at the time the decision was made. Coach Anderson also mentioned that QB Darrel Garretson will remain the starter as long as he’s 100 percent healthy. It looks as if Blount has moved up the depth chart to the no. 2 QB spot. This is good to know that the Beavers have more depth, which makes it more likely that they don’t have to burn Mason Moran’s redshirt year. Garretson’s health is something to keep an eye on as the Beavers prepare for Colorado this week.
It’s All Part of the Process
Remember, when Gary Andersen began his tenure at Oregon State in 2015? He had to start his tenure from scratch. Many players Coach Andersen inherited from Mike Riley’s tenure transferred, medically retired, or quit football in general. His coaching experience at Oregon State has been very similar to that of an NFL expansion team’s experience. Expansion teams are more likely to struggle in their first few years. Same goes for teams that do a complete rebuild with a new coaching staff. There are 12 seniors on this current Oregon State team, and many players on this current roster are just beginning their college careers, or getting their first meaningful minutes. Games against good teams such as Boise State are good for this young Oregon State team. These type of games push the Beavers to step up and work harder in order to have success. The positive is that this team has a ton of heart and will not quit. The second half of the Boise game proved that. I always believe that a team that has heart will continue to get better throughout the year. Conference play begins this week as the Beavs travel to Colorado. This season could turn out to be an adventure. Strap yourselves in Beaver fans, and enjoy the ride!