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The Undeniable Luton-to-Hodgins Connection

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Jake Luton and Isaiah Hodgins have become a lethal combination.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who’s watched Oregon State’s offense under Jonathan Smith knows just how dominant Isaiah Hodgins is. The talented wide receiver racked up 59 receptions, 876 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore and is on pace to shatter those numbers in 2019. Despite Hodgins obvious talent and hard-work the common denominator in most of his success? Jake Luton! The big armed sixth-year quarterback who’s been leading the Beaver offense. It’s apparent that the pair has developed chemistry on the field, but I decided to dig into the numbers just to see if they backed up the eye-test.

Isaiah Hodgins is in his third year with the Beavers. The highly-touted recruit has lived up to the hype and would’ve been a focal point of Oregon State’s offense regardless of who was throwing to him. His game gets elevated to another level when Jake Luton is under center though. I poured over Isaiah Hodgins 23-game career log (he weirdly didn’t play against Washington during the Gary Andersen era) and this is what I found. Take a look at Isaiah Hodgins career stats: 99 receptions, 1,321 yards & 9 TDs. How many of those catches were from Jake Luton? Well a lot it turns out. 66 receptions for 932 yards & 7 TDs. That means that over 70% of his production has come when Jake Luton is behind center.

You might be thinking that’s great and all but hasn’t Luton been named the starter ever since Hodgins was a freshman? Well yes... But due to injuries, Jake Luton has only played 13 games since the 2017 season. To give it even more context, Jake Luton has thrown 359 passes for 2,513 yards. The rest of the team? Guys like Darell Garretson, Conor Blount, Jack Colletto etc. have thrown 410 passes for 2,758 yards during that time-frame. That means that Jake Luton has been slinging passes less than half the time (about 47%) since Hodgins arrived on campus. BUT he’s still responsible for over 70% of his career production (catches/yards/TDs). Just look at how many more yards Isaiah Hodgins has with Jake Luton compared to the other QBs he’s had throwing him the ball.

The trend should continue with a healthy Jake Luton, as he appears to have finally rid himself of the injury bug. Luton has dealt with a mysterious illness, a scary thoracic spine fracture and a severe high-ankle sprain since he’s arrived in Corvallis. Jake Luton started to get healthy in the second half of the 2018 season and those good vibes continued into the offseason as he once again won the starting job; despite the presence of another talented QB in Nebraska transfer, Tristan Gebbia.

It’s no coincidence that Isaiah Hodgins’ production started to skyrocket with the return of a healthy Jake Luton. Just check out his game logs. Isaiah Hodgins has topped the 100 yard mark just five times in his career and almost all of those games happened towards the end of 2018 when Jake Luton was taking the majority of the snaps. In fact, in the last seven games Luton’s played, Hodgins has topped 100 yards in five of them (totaling 860 yards)!

The on-field chemistry is obvious. And I don’t think anyone was more excited than Isaiah Hodgins to hear that the NCAA granted Jake Luton a sixth-year of eligibility for 2019. Hodgins certainly approved of Luton’s performance last Friday against Oklahoma State.

Headed into this weekend’s game versus Hawaii a lot of the talk will be centered around Cedric Byrd II and his huge “week 0” performance (14 catches, 224 yards & 4 TDs). That attention is rightfully deserved and Hawaii has a prolific passing attack. Oregon State on the other-hand has their own lethal passing attack and the Jake Luton-to-Isaiah Hodgins duo will be ready to put on a show. Get ready for a shootout Beaver Nation.