Welcome to week 5 of What We Learned where after each game we take a look back and highlight some takeaways. Yesterday, the Oregon State Beavers took control early over the UCLA Bruins and ended with a 48-31 victory. The win is just the Beavers’ second conference victory the last three seasons.
Beavers finally learn how to win
Oregon State got up big with a 21 point lead just 6 minutes into the game, but UCLA worked its way back into the game. Three times the Bruins worked the deficit down to just 10 points in the second half, but the Beaver offense kept their foot on the gas pedal and was able to score in every quarter of the game for the first time since the Oklahoma State game.
I have to admit I got a little nervous in the third quarter after UCLA put together an 11 play 75 yard drive right out of halftime, bringing the score to 27-17, then Oregon State went three and out on the following drive. It went through my mind that the game might follow the “tale of two halves” narrative again with the Beavers floundering the second half. Fortunately it would not go that way as the offense scored on three straight possessions to keep the Bruins from playing catch up. You’ve got to hand it to the progress of this team as that could have been a different outcome that we’ve been accustomed to over the last few years.
I’m a parrot: we are witnessing Hodgin’s final year as a Beaver
In last week’s rendition of What We Learned, I made the same statement. UCLA’s secondary had no answer to the Isaiah Hodgins riddle. We will see how the rest of the conference handles the situation as we get into the meat of conference play.
Hodgins is now ranks second in the country for receiving touchdowns (9) and receptions per game (8.6). He is also fifth for receiving yards (632) and total receptions (43).
Taylor and Lindsey finally break through to make big plays
While Hodgins continues to rack up the receiving statistics for the Beavers, there were a couple of big contributions from other wide receivers that have been over-shadowed. Both Tyjon Lindsey and Kolby Taylor had career long receptions that paid big dividends. First it was Taylor on the game’s first drive where he took a short pass and turned it into a 45 yard gain to set up the the first touchdown. Then in the third quarter, Lindsey sprung past coverage on a third down play-action play for a 53 yard catch and run.
Oregon State will need further contributions from the likes of Taylor, Lyndsey, and Champ Flemings to take the pressure off of Hodgins.
The defense keeps racking up the TFLs
While the defense is still not great as evident with the 492 yards of offense given up to UCLA, you have to admit this defense is so vastly improved. The Beavers added 8 more tackles-for-loss to bring their total to 39 on the season. Their 7.8 TFLs per game ranks 21st in the country, tying them with the Wisconsin Badgers.
Redshirt junior linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. added to his league leading sack and TFL total this game, tallying one and two respectively. He now has six sacks on the season (good for sixth in the nation) and 9.5 TFLs (10th).
Luton nearly puts the nail in the coffin on the quarterback discussion
During this short season, there has been rumblings on social medial to bench sixth-year senior Jake Luton and build for the future by playing redshirt sophomore Tristan Gebbia. Obviously Luton doesn’t pay attention to that as he went 18-of-26 for 285 yards and five touchdowns (plus one 19 yard rushing score) against lowly UCLA. That brings his season passing total to 100-of-161 (62.1% completion percentage), 1,297 yards, 14 passing touchdowns (9th in the country), and zero interceptions. I’d like to believe that Luton’s career day would put the quarterback controversy to rest, but there’s always somebody who’s got to be angry.
The running game is in good hands with Pierce
With Jermar Jefferson dinged up ever since the Hawaii game, Oregon State has had to rely on the senior Artavis Pierce as the primary back. Pierce has been rewarded for his patience and has tallied double digit carries in each of the last three games en route to 350 yards. On the season, his totals are 64 carries for 482 yards and five touchdowns. His 7.5 yards per carry is good for sixth in the country. Jefferson can take his time to get back to 100 percent.
Oregon State finally beats Chip Kelly
UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly was 4-0 against Oregon State when he was leading the rivals down south. In those four games, the Ducks outscored the Beavers 171-98. Kelly then took a break from the college game to experiment with the NFL (it didn’t work out), before returning to the college game last year. Due to scheduling, we had to wait until 2019 before the Beavers had another shot at Kelly. While the Bruins under Chip Kelly are nothing like the Ducks were under his tutelage, it’s still a monkey off the back of these Beavers.