Well that game turned out to be more exciting than the first half initially indicated. Unfortunately Oregon State’s ferocious comeback from down 21 came up short as Stanford hit a game-winning field goal. The Beavers gained more yards (501 to 353), had more first downs (28 to 18), completed more passes and didn’t turn the ball over; but it wasn’t enough on the final scoreboard. Here’s how Oregon State opened up Pac-12 play with a tough home loss.
The first half was really really terrible for Oregon State. The offense moved the ball at times, but stumbled when it counted most. The Beavers were lucky to be down only two scores at the break.
The Beavers really started firing on all cylinders in the last 20 minutes of this game. All 28 of their points were scored at the end of the third/fourth quarter as they tried furiously to comeback. It’s extremely puzzling how this offense can be so hot-then-cold (Hawaii game) or vice-versa like they were tonight. Artavis Pierce and Isaiah Hodgins had phenomenal performances. Jake Luton looked great at the end of the game, but the team in general just missed way too many opportunities. There was a long field-goal miss (understandable), a short field-goal that was blocked (just can’t happen), a wide-open Kolby Taylor in the endzone that Luton just barely overthrew, a punt that Tyjon Lindsey did not fair catch resulting in poor field position, the consecutive penalties that turned a Stanford field-goal into a touchdown and poor kick-return coverage that set Stanford up for the game winning field goal (I’m sure there’s more mistakes that I didn’t list).
Overall I thought the defense played well enough to get a win tonight. Despite giving up way too many third-down conversions (Stanford was 7-for-14) they limited a power-running Stanford team to 100 yards on the ground (3.2 YPC) and made life difficult for back-up QB Davis Mills. Oregon State’s inconsistent offense let the defense down at times.
As crushing as these close losses are and if just one or two of those mistakes go the Beavers way maybe there’s a different outcome. The biggest takeaway for me is that this game was a step in the right direction. Playing competitive football games into the Pac-12 portion of the schedule is good for this team and this fanbase. The next step is obviously limiting the mistakes and finishing the job for a sweet sweet Pac-12 victory. Oregon State will get another prime opportunity against UCLA next week.