An early kickoff in Berkeley, California proved fruitful for this Oregon State football team. They cruised out to an early 14-0 lead and were able to finish off the game in the 4th quarter to nab their third victory of the season. It was a hard-fought defensive slugfest type of game (Cal’s defense is no joke). Oregon State’s resolve to bounce back from a shell-lacking a week ago was impressive. Here’s how it happened:
After a couple of punts and surprisingly strong Beaver defensive showings; Oregon State strung together a 12-play, 62-yard drive for a touchdown. Artavis Pierce caught the 7-yard touchdown pass and freshman kicker Everett Hayes (not Jordan Choukair) converted the extra point attempt. Later in the half after a missed Cal field goal, the Beavers put together another nice drive (13-play/78 yards) capped off with an Isaiah Hodgins touchdown catch. Teagan Quitoriano’s 21-yard catch and run was the biggest play of the drive. A Cal made field goal kept them from getting shutout as Oregon State held a 14-3 lead at the break.
Cal’s first touchdown of the day came on their 2nd drive of the third quarter. They were helped by a few (questionable) Beaver defensive penalties. Also their biggest play of the drive, a Devon Modster 37-yard scramble was fumbled but Oregon State couldn’t quite recover it. A little later a dropped Jesiah Irish punt return backed the Beavers up against their own endzone, which they eventually had to punt out of giving Cal great field position. Cal took advantage of the opportunity and Modster threw a 33-yard TD to Jordan Duncan giving the Golden Bears their first (and only) lead of the game, 17-14 Cal.
Things looked bleak for Oregon State as Cal’s defense was relentless. Luton looked rattled as he had few open receivers to throw to all game. Artavis Pierce and BJ Baylor ran hard, but found little running room all game. Through-it-all Oregon State had one last drive in them, a 12-play 80-yarder to take the lead back. On 3rd-and-10 in Cal territory the coaches went to Artavis Pierce who burst forward for a 20-yard gain. Later BJ Baylor scored the touchdown after staying up (courtesy of a Cal tackler) to get the ball past the end line.
The score put Oregon State up 21-17 with just under five minutes remaining. Justin Wilcox had to rely on true freshman QB Spencer Brasch due to an injury to Devon Modster, who quickly completed a 17-yard pass (his first attempt of the game). I’ll admit I had flash backs of the loss against Stanford as Cal approached midfield. Thankfully Hamilcar Rashed tipped a pass and Jaydon Grant tracked it down for an interception. The Beavers offense got one more first down to essentially put the game away and the Beavs walked out of Memorial Stadium with a victory.
It definitely feels like the Oregon State defense won this game for the Beavs. Both teams had 282 yards of total offense (insanely low number for college football). The defense came up with the games only turnover at the most critical time of the game. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. was an absolute monster, living in Cal’s backfield and it’s only fitting that he got a sack on the games final play. I didn’t have a lot of faith in Oregon State against Cal because I knew how hard it was going to be to score against their defense; but major props to the Beaver defense for doing everything the team needed and more.
On the offensive end it was tough sledding for much of the game. The Beavers punted nine times! They averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. Luton was sacked a bunch and his receivers were blanketed for much of the game. Overall they came up with timely drives and didn’t settle for field goals; which would have been a killer in this defense heavy matchup. Jonathan Smith and company coached a great game. No matter what happens the rest of the season they’ve already improved upon last season’s win total. The Beavers will get an extra week’s rest before traveling to Tucson to take on Arizona.