Welcome to week three of What We Learned. Oregon State nearly ended their road game losing streak that stretches back to 2014. Unfortunately, a missed field goal at the end of regulation stretches the streak to 21 games. Let’s look at some takeaways from this game.
This team doesn’t have quit in it
Down 23 points just 20 minutes into the game, the Beavers with able to rally to take this game down to the wire. The last few years we have become accustomed to seeing our Beavers fizzling out in a scenario like this (heck, a strong first half wasn’t immune to a second half letdown). I do worry how a loss in this heartbreaking fashion may affect the psyche of the team after getting so close to ending the longest active FBS road game losing streak.
The Beavers resiliency will be tested next week as Khalil Tate and the Wildcats come to town after they seemed to have found their offense in the second half of their game against Southern Utah.
They can make adjustments defensively
After giving up 30 points in the first half, the Beavers were able to tighten up and just allow seven points after halftime. The 30 first half points were not all on the defense though as Nevada did score a defensive touchdown and had two touchdowns that were a result of drives that started within the Beavers’ 30 yard line.
Nevada was quite efficient in the first 17 and a half minutes of the game, gaining 196 yards. Once the adjustments were made by the Oregon State defense, Nevada was held to 161 the rest of the way and had seven three-and-outs.
We might not be settled on a quarterback still
Conor Blount started the game and kicked off the Beavers’ first possession with a perfectly executed 10 play drive where he was 5-of-6 with a touchdown. After failing to get any production on the next three drives (the third ending a sack-fumble-touchdown), Jake Luton came into the game and provided a much needed spark and get the Beavers within striking distance at halftime. But then the offense stalled again and an injury to Luton required Blount to be reinserted where he brought the Beavers to within a field goal of winning the game.
For what it’s worth, I still think Blount is the guy. His poise in that final drive was impressive as he and the Beaver offense converted TWO fourth-and-longs.
The kicking game is weak sauce right now
A 34 yard field goal at the end of regulation would have won the game. At the end of the day, this was the right call, but of course we all wish that Coach Smith had either taken a couple shots at the endzone or run it up the gut with the timeouts remaining. When you’re that close and in full control of leaving no time left on the clock, it’s better to go for the close range field goal. Through three games, we are now 3-of-7 on field goals with the longest made coming from 32 yards. You got to wonder if this affects a similar end of game scenario if we see it again this year.
The “turnover chainsaw” is the next best defensive prop
It seems that every school has a turnover (insert gimmicky item). I really like the Beavers’ new one as it’s a good play on words since the “turnover chain” at Miami kicked off the hoopla a year ago. The Twitter account for Miami football even recognized Oregon State’s game:
Respect this, tbh— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) September 16, 2018
Now if only the Beaver defense could give us a reason to see it more often!