After trailing 17-0 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Beavers responded with a 15 play 80 yd. TD drive, which included an unorthodox end around, swinging-gate, fake punt play on 4th and 6 on the Minnesota 28 yd. line. The play had Punter Nick Porebski hand off to WR Timmy Hernandez on an end around. Minnesota sniffed it out by putting pressure on Hernandez, and Hernandez out of desperation, threw to TE Tuli-Wili Matagi for 17 yds. and a first down. Matagi slipped and miraculously caught the ball as he slid on the rain soaked turf. The Beavers finished the 80 yd. drive with a 16 yd. TD fade pass from QB Jake Luton to WR Jordan Villamin. In addition to the abnormal “fake punt” play, it started raining at Reser stadium, which was not in the weather forecast. the rain seemed to help the Beavers claw back into the game. The fans weren’t anticipating rain, and most fans were not prepared, which caused some to leave the game prematurely. LB Bright Ugowoebw recovered a Minnesota fumble on the Minn. 17 yd. line. After a Minnesota Defensive Pass Interference, which brought the ball to the 2 yd. line, RB Trevorris Johnson brought the Beavers within 3, and that would be the closest the Beavers would get. The Beavers only trailed Minnesota 20-14 and then the wheels came off. Thanks to an aggressive defense, excellent 2nd half adjustments, strong running game, and capitalizing on numerous Beaver mistakes, Minnesota outscored the Beavers 28-0 in the 2nd half to win the game 48-14. Credit the Minnesota Defense for dominating the line of scrimmage in the 2nd. half, and the Gopher Offense for dominating the time of possession. Here’s what we learned from the Beavers blow out loss to Minnesota.
Currently, The Beavers are the 12th “Best” Team in the Pac-12.
There’s no sugarcoating it folks. The Beavers are the worst team in the Pac-12 at the moment. They are struggling on both sides of the ball, and the kicking and punting games are not up to par. The Defense cannot stop the run, and are constantly giving up big passing plays. The Offense is having a difficult time running the ball, despite having one of the most talented backfields in the Pac-12. It has been a mess so far in Corvallis. Although, the defense played better, Minnesota was 9-of-13 on 3rd Down Conversions.
Oregon State has Lost All Momentum Gained After Last Season’s Civil War Victory
Attendance has been dwindling at Reser Stadium. Although the attendance was announced as 35,206 at the Minnesota, it looked like there were less than 30k by kickoff, which is a poor turnout especially against a decent Big-10 opponent. Due to the rain and the Beavers performance by the 2nd half, Reser Stadium was 25 percent full, which mirrored similar numbers at the Portland State game last week. The Beaver crowds are reminiscent of the dark days of Beaver Football (1971-98 28 Consecutive Losing Seasons). The Current Losing Season Streak is 3. Unless the Beavers improve dramatically, it will be 4. Just an idea, maybe Oregon State should bring back the buy-one-get-one-free tickets of the dark ages.
Beavers had tons of momentum going into 2017. They had many players returning after a strong finish to the 2016 season. In addition, they were entering year 3 of the Gary Andersen era, year 3 is the year he turned Utah State into a winner in his third year in Logan, Utah in 2011. There were many in the local sports media projecting Oregon State as a bowl team. So far, the 2017 season is seen as a colossal disappointment. This team is no where close to the team that dominated the Oregon Ducks in the 4th qtr. of the 2016 Civil War. Gone is the team that pounded the Oregon Duck defense with the 1-2 punch of Artavis Pierce and Ryan Nall. The Defense that virtually shut down the Arizona Offense last season, and made big plays to hold the Oregon offense in crucial moments, does not exist.
Is Gary Andersen on the hot seat? Has his rebuilding project at Oregon State been a massive disappointment? Arguably, the biggest highlight of Andersen’s time at Oregon State was the 34-24 victory over Oregon in the 2016 Civil War game. So far, Andersen is 7-20 at Oregon State. Additionally, Andersen is 0-12 on the road. Andersen, like many in Beaver Nation, is shocked by his team’s disappointing performance, and his putting the blame on himself and the Beaver coaching staff. Should Athletic Director Scott Barnes fire Andersen? Andersen is under contract until 2021. He signed an extension last winter that raised his salary from 2.5 million to 2.65 million. Oregon State does not have the money to buy his contract out.
Andersen has had success everywhere he has been. He led Wisconsin to a Big-10 West Division Title. In addition, he led Utah State to the WAC (Remember the Western Athletic Conference?) Championship in 2012, his 4th year. The rebuilding plan at Oregon State is looking like it could be longer than 3 years, especially with an extremely difficult slate of games coming up for the Beavers (at Wash. St., Washington, at USC, Colorado, and Stanford). The season is still early, and Beaver Nation has witnessed seasons where their beloved Beavers started the season horribly, only to dramatically improve and end on a successful note (see 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons, for example). In each of those particular seasons, some fans were begging for Mike Riley to be fired. The best case scenario for the 2017 Beaver team would be to follow a similar script to those particular Beaver teams. If the Beavers want to make some noise this season, or dare I say, make it to a bowl game, extravagant improvement is needed by the players and the coaching staff. Andersen and the players emphasized to Beaver Nation and the media that they are going to keep battling and try to improve. If Andersen and the players are correct and the team improves, look for all the hot seat talk to quiet down.
It is a difficult scenario for Beaver Nation to be in. Andersen was a hero in Corvallis after the Civil War victory. Fast forward to 9 months later and the seat is getting warmer for Andersen and his staff. It’s real simple, losing creates problems and winning solves problems. The difficult start has put the Beavers into a gigantic hole that seems nearly impossible to get out of. It’s an extremely difficult time in Beaver Nation right now. The question is will it any get better?