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Oregon State Football: What We Learned Versus California

Beavers learn to win from behind against a stingy defense

NCAA Football: Oregon State at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to week seven of What We Learned where after each game we take a look back and highlight some takeaways. Yesterday, the Oregon State Beavers got out to a 14 point lead before needing a fourth quarter comeback against a stingy California team. Let’s see what we learned.

Oregon State Beavers, a road team?

Not really, but maybe? The Beavers’ last three conference wins came on the road. Their last home conference win was the 2016 finale against the Oregon Ducks in the Civil War. Since then, Oregon State has gone 0-11 at home against conference foes versus 3-8 on the road. While it’s cool that this team is no gimme as a visitor, I’d like to be able to attend a conference game where we win again.

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Oregon at Oregon State
This was the last time we won a game at home. SAD!
Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defense continues to improve

For the first time in two years, the Oregon State defense held an opponent without a touchdown in the first half. Fortunately, this game did not turn out like the one against Stanford in 2017 where the Beavers coughed up the ball late in the game, allowing the Cardinal to win late (and me demolishing my hat).

Oregon State v California
The defense’s ability to rack up tackles behind the line of scrimmage has been a nice surprise this season.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This 2019 edition of Defensive Coordinator Tim Tibesar’s defense continues to rack up tackles for a loss, adding 14, including a whopping nine sacks. With their season total up to 60, Oregon State already has more than they did in 2018. If they keep this up, they may even have a shot at doubling last year’s 53 tackles for a loss.

Rashed Jr., a star in the making

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Oregon State at Cal Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hamilcar Rashed Jr. is sure making a case as the conference’s best pass rusher. He added to his league leading sack total with three to bring his total to nine. He also has a conference high 14.5 tackles for a loss. It would be a robbery if the redshirt junior keeps up this pace and is left off the first team defense, especially if you consider how collectively this defense stacks up against others in the conference.

State of Oregon rules the North, for now

After Saturday’s games, the Pac-12 North standings looked like this:

Oregon 4-0

Oregon State 2-2

Stanford 2-3

Washington 2-3

California 1-3

Washington State 1-3

Just imagine, if (and that’s a BIG if) Oregon happens to slip in one of their next four games and Oregon State wins their next four, we could see a Civil War game that determines who goes to the Pac-12 title game. I’m not saying that it’s going to happen or that it’s even a possibility, but it’s kind of amazing that we’re nearly halfway through the conference slate and the Beavers are not mathematically eliminated yet.