Welcome to week 4 of What We Learned where after each game we take a look back and highlight some takeaways. Over the weekend, the Oregon State Beavers came back from a 21 point deficit, but lost on a last second field goal to the Stanford Cardinal, 31-28.
Beavers still learning how to win
I really hate the saying, “learning how to win”, but it sure does describe something like the outcome of this game. The Beavers chewed their way back to a tie game only to make a crucial mistake on the ensuing kickoff, letting Stanford’s Connor Wedington return the ball all the way to the 50 yard line. This set up the Cardinal perfectly for their game winning field goal.
Whittley’s gonna keep eating
Speaking of that final drive, Jordan Whittley again flashed how he can be a game changer. A few weeks back, I highlighted the big man in week 2 of What We Learned after he blew up a Hawaii play on their final drive to force a punt. This time it was Stanford marching down the field. After a 16 yard run by quarterback David Mills brought the Cardinal into the red zone, Whittley nearly single handedly pushed them back out after swallowing up running back Cameron Scarlett for a five yard loss. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Stanford’s Jet Toner converted on the 39 yard field goal.
We might be seeing Hodgin’s last year as a Beaver
As of now, Isaiah Hodgins is averaging 127 receiving yards a game, good for fourth in the country according to the the NCAA website. His six receiving touchdowns also tie him for sixth in the country. He demonstrates a knack as well for making spectacular grabs such as his touchdown reception in the third quarter. If he keeps this pace up, we may have to accept that Hodgin’s best choice is to move onto greener pastures.
I’m not sure I can take another Stanford home game
This game hurt. It reminded me of several other games against Stanford I’ve been in attendance for. Most recently it was 2017 where coach Cory Hall nearly hyped the Beavers to a win. They had the ball and the lead and just needed to chew up clock, but a Ryan Nall fumble in their own territory set up the Cardinal perfectly for the go ahead score. I was so torn that game that I destroyed my hat at the end. I remind my wife how dumb I was that game for that, but she always replies with, “Well, that game hurt more than any game I’ve been to, so I kind of understand”. She’s the smart one as she hasn’t attended a game since up until the Cal Poly blowout a couple weeks ago.
The other games that flashed through my mind were 2013 and 2005, both where Oregon State had a chance to tie late. In 2013 the Beavers were riding a six game winning streak before they hosted the sixth ranked Cardinal. They came up short after failing to convert a 4th and goal to tie the game. Then in 2005, a 52 yard field goal attempt by Alexis Serna that would have forced overtime fell short. Sorry for the memories.
Play like it’s 1933
During Stanford’s last touchdown drive, they originally settled for a 46 yard field goal, but a foul on an Oregon State player gave the Cardinal a fresh set of downs that set up their fourth touchdown. The flag was for a leverage penalty, which reminded be of a story about the 1933 Oregon State football team. In the book Tales From Oregon State Sports by Jeff Welsch and George P. Edmonston Jr. (a good gift for the depressed Beaver fan in your life), it describes how in 1933 the Beavers used the “Pyramid Play” where they would hoist the team’s tallest player in attempt to block an opponents’ field goal attempt. The NCAA quickly caught wind of this after a photo went viral (by 1933 standards) from the Civil War game that year and banned the play.