Oregon State football is off to an excellent start in 2022. Undefeated through two games for the first time since 2014 and they are looking to sweep the non-conference schedule by picking up a win over Montana State in Portland. But despite a beatdown over Boise State and a thrilling last second victory at Fresno State something seems a little off. There seems to be a missing ingredient of sorts holding Oregon State back from a truly special season. What’s missing? A true #1 option offensively.
Think about it since Jonathan Smith has taken over, the football team has always had one skill position player take control and become the focal point of the offense. Just take a look below:
- 2021 - B.J. Baylor (1337 yards & 13 TDs)
- 2020 - Jermar Jefferson (858 yards & 7 TDs) *Six games
- 2019 - Isaiah Hodgins (1171 yards & 13 TDs)
- 2018 - Jermar Jefferson (1380 yards & 12 TDs)
This season it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Luke Musgrave (leading receiver) and Trey Lowe (most versatile RB) are both out with injuries this week and it’s up in the air if they will be ready for the big showdown at home against USC.
Deshaun Fenwick had a big game versus Fresno State, but has struggled with ball security early this season and hasn’t shown the ability to be an effective pass-catching option out of the backfield. Damien Martinez is second on the team in carries and rush yards, but hasn’t truly gotten the chance to get into a rhythm.
Looking at the pass catchers Tre’Shaun Harrison, Tyjon Lindsey, Anthony Gould, Jesiah Irish and Silas Bolden have all flashed big play potential; but the consistency has not been there yet. Not to mention the costly drops that have plagued the wide receivers through two games.
Now it’s early in the season and it may be harsh to call out the lack of a number one option just two games in (both wins); but it feels like the Beavers are on the cusp of a truly special season. Bowl-eligibility no longer feels like the goal, it feels like the bare minimum. With the talent and depth that the Beavers have they can compete for a Pac-12 championship this year.
In order to do that Oregon State needs to compete with and beat some of the top teams in the conference. Games against the top two ranked Pac-12 teams are coming up in back-to-back weeks (USC and @Utah). Those teams have very different identities, but if the Beavers are going to compete for a Pac-12 championship they’ll need to win one of those games.
One name I haven’t mentioned yet is Jack Colletto, the hero of the Fresno State win. Colletto actually leads the team in touchdowns (3) despite having just six carries on the year. Jack Colletto is great in his role, but he’s not going to become the focal point of the offense any time soon.
Now maybe Luke Musgrave will shake off his injuries and continue to be the Beavers top pass-catcher leading to a monster season. Or perhaps Deshaun Fenwick fresh off a 102-yard rushing performance will follow in the footsteps of past Beaver running backs and become the engine of Oregon State’s offense. Or maybe it won’t be just one player and someone new will step up offensively each game? Either way the Beavers will need some offensive firepower to compete with the top teams in the Pac-12 and it would be a whole lot easier if somebody emerges as that true #1 option in the coming weeks.