Early in the 2nd quarter it looked like the game was shaping up to be a comfortable Oregon State win. Then a questionable onside kick up 14-3 backfired, setting up Cal for a 19 yard touchdown drive and a fumble on the next OSU offensive play turned the game into a shootout that allowed DJ Uiagalelei to shine in his best performance as a Beaver.
The Oregon State offense put their second highest point total (highest against an FBS opponent), and highest yardage total with 499 yards. They did this while averaging 7 yards per play (the 4th highest number in the 6 games so far). Their 72 offensive snaps trail only the Washington State game for the total for the year, but we saw far better production on those snaps this week.
Quarterbacks: DJ Uiagalelei (68), Aiden Chiles (4)
Uiagalelei had arguably the best statistical day of his college career on Saturday. His 5 touchdowns tied a career high, his completion percentage of 76% is his third highest (his highest being the 80% of passes he completed against San Jose St earlier this year), and his PFF passing grade of 93.5 is the highest of his career. For that effort he was named to the PFF Team of the Week and was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.
Chiles received another series as QB in this game, which is about playing the long game. With DJ likely gone after this year, snaps from Chiles now mean he is not learning on the fly if he is the one to take over the reins in 2024.
Running Backs: Damien Martinez (38), Deshaun Fenwick (31), Isaac Hodgins (11), Isaiah Newell (8)
After highlighting Martinez’s lack of an explosive run in this weeks matchups to watch, he did indeed pick up a 26 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry on the day.
Despite tying his season high in snaps on defense due to James Rawls 1st half suspension, Hodgins did not lose time on the offensive side of the ball, and caught a TD for his troubles. More research is necessary to determine if the combined weight of Gray and Hodgins sets some sort of record for heaviest teammate touchdowns in a season.
Wide Receivers: Anthony Gould (53), Silas Bolden (45), Rweha Munyagi Jr. (24), Jesiah Irish (18), Jeremiah Noga (9), Jimmy Valsin III (8), Trent Walker (2)
Gould was the statistical headliner of this group, pulling in 7 catches for 117 yards, but Boulden and Irish both contributed fantastic catches and touchdown receptions. Irish in particular had two catches on only 18 snaps, one for a first down and another for his TD. He has been losing ground to Noga & Munyagi Jr. in snap counts as the weeks have gone, and at least some of that has been due to injury. It was good to see him make the most of his opportunities in this game.
Tight Ends: Jack Velling (53), Jermaine Terry II (49), Riley Sharp (11)
It was a breakout game for the DJ-Velling connection. Each of Velling’s TDs looked like a combination of good play calling, good route running, good pass protection, and good patience by DJ to let the route develop. Hard to ask for much more.
Offensive Line: Tanner Miller (72), Heneli Bloomfield (72), Joshua Gray (70), Jake Levengood (68), Grant Starck (44), Taliese Fuaga (28), Tyler Voltin (4), Flavio Gonzalez (2)
Gray earned Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for his performance in this game. He did not allow a pressure on 28 pass blocking snaps and the Beavers averaged 4.8 yards per carry when running to the left side.
Fuaga left the game with an injury in the first half and was replaced by Starck. The Nevada transfer has been the first O-linemen off the bench this year but played mostly at guard so far (he played left tackle at for the Wolfpack before transferring to Corvallis). Smith indicated there is a chance Fuaga is back for the UCLA game next week and although Starck did a fine job filling in, a full strength offensive line is key to the Beavers playing thier best football.
The 68 snaps played by the defense turned out to be right around their average for the year. The defense was not helped out by three first half scoring drives that started at the Cal 43 (due to a punt from deep in OSU’s own territory), OSU 19 (failed onside kick) and OSU 49 (Bolden fumble) respectively. Those 17 points combined with some poor tackling turned the game into far more of a shootout than it needed to be.
Defensive Line: Joe Golden (55), Isaac Hodgins (35), James Rawls (29), Semisi Saluni (14), Quincy Wright (3)
For the good news, Hodgins was graded as the fourth best defensive tackle on the weekend with an 83.9 PFF grade. For the bad news, Cal averaged 7.6 yards per carry on 31 attempts, with 3.8 of those yards coming before contact. The fault lies with more than the interior defensive line for that, but the combination of Golden, Rawls, and Saluni have had better days at the point of attack. Another dangerous rushing attack awaits next week with Chip Kelly and his spread option, and the Beavs will have plenty to learn from.
Edge Rushers: Sione Lolohea (48), John McCartan (36), Cory Stover (32), Andrew Chatfield Jr. (22)
In a day where the defense struggled to stop the run Lolohea was a positive difference maker. He racked up 5 tackles, including 4 stops and a forced fumble, and was rewarded with a career high-tying snap count. The other three outside linebackers combined for 2 stops between them.
Linebackers: Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (68), Calvin Hart Jr. (32), Melvin Jordan IV (31)
The Beaver defense missed 19 tackles on their way to allowing Cal 117 yards after contact on the ground. Mascarenas-Arnold had 4 of those missed tackles and did not play at the level he has established over the prior weeks. As expected, Jordan IV received the snaps while Hart Jr. served his 1st half suspension.
Cornerbacks: Noble Thomas (68), Jermod McCoy (67), Josiah Johnson (63), Tyrice Ivy Jr. (4)
Despite missing their two best cornerbacks in Jaden Robinson and Ryan Cooper Jr. due to injury, the Oregon State unit had a solid game, limiting the Bears to 207 yards through the air. McCoy was the star of the show, allowing no catches the four times he was targeted and perfectly timing an interception to shut down a Cal drive in the 4th quarter.
Safeties: Akili Arnold (66), Kitan Oladapo (62), Jack Kane (8), Alton Julian (5)
Oladapo leading the team in tackles with 11 is another demonstration of the struggles the Beaver defense had with the run game. Oladapo himself played a solid game, allowing 2 yards total the three times he was targeted in the passing game. Arnold was similarly effective when targeted in the passing game, but exemplified the Beavers struggles to take down the ball carrier and led the team with 5 missed tackles.