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Arizona tops Oregon State, 27-24

The Beavs couldn’t escape Tucson with a win. Drop to 6-2 on the season.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Arizona Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

It was a frustrating night for Oregon State against Arizona. It started off well as the Beavers opened the night with a 12 play, 75-yard touchdown drive. It featured plenty of running plays and ended with this well placed toss to Jack Velling for his eighth score of the season (an OSU record for a tight end).

Arizona answered back with a field goal. Oregon State was stopped on their next possession and pinned the Wildcats deep with a nice punt. It would not matter though as Noah Fifita led his team on a quick 94-yard touchdown drive to take the lead 10-7. The Beavs lead by Aidan Chiles (3rd series of the game) answered with a field goal of their own to tie it up. Chiles hit Anthony Gould for a 52-yard catch that set up the field goal.

Later John McCartan intercepted Fifita at midfield and then all hell broke loose. The Beavers marched into the red zone, but were running out of time. At the Arizona 16 with three seconds on the clock Oregon State did a fake field goal instead of taking the points (and the lead) into the half.

The fake field goal made zero sense. Sappington scores a touchdown here maybe 1 out of every 100 tries? There was simply no time on the clock, you just have to take the points here. Truly a baffling decision from the coaching staff. The Wildcats even called a timeout before the field goal attempt and were clearly anticipating something tricky. This loss doesn’t fall entirely on this decision, but wow was it bad.

In the 2nd half the two teams took turns scoring and trading the lead back and forth. In the 4th quarter Fifita hit Michael Wiley for a 40 yard touchdown giving Arizona a 20-17 to lead. With just over 8 minutes left in the game Oregon State needed to put together their best drive of the night. Instead three straight pass attempts led to a quick three-and-out. A gassed Beaver defense couldn’t stop Arizona and the 10 play, 55-yard run oriented touchdown drive was the dagger for Oregon State’s chances of winning.

DJ Uiagalelei completed four nice passes leading to a Jimmy Valsin touchdown to make it 27-24 though. Silas Bolden could not quite recover the last gasp onside kick attempt and the Wildcats walked away with the victory.

Next week the Beavers will be back on the road, traveling to Boulder to take on Colorado. The Buffs are 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the Pac-12.

The Pros:

  • Oregon State out gained Arizona 407-363. They had more rushing and passing yards.
  • Zero turnovers.
  • Aidan Chiles, Damien Martinez and Jack Velling all looked really good tonight.
  • DJ Uiagalelei and the team still very much believe in this coaching staff despite the questionable decisions.

The Cons:

  • This loss hurts big time. The Beavers aren’t playing in the Pac-12 Championship with two losses. Wins against UCLA and Utah are nice, but they mean very little when the team is dropping games on the road to WSU and AZ.
  • The fake field goal decision was insane. There is no way to justify that decision in my opinion.
  • It could be tough for Oregon State to refocus. Is a 7 or 8-win season really different than a 9 or 10 win season? Now that the Beavers will drop in the AP Poll and not be in a good position when the college football playoff committee reveals their rankings this week. Who knows how the team will respond, just a gut-wrenching road loss all around.
  • The Beavers punted four times tonight. On each of those punts incompletions paved the wave for the stalled drives. I don’t get how Damien Martinez only gets 14 carries when he was effective (6.2 yards per carry).
  • I think it’s time for the Beavers to make the switch over to Aidan Chiles full time. I love DJ Uiagalelei and he’s been exceptional at times this season. But the goal was to win 10+ regular season games and play in the Pac-12 Championship game. With their 2nd Pac-12 loss of the season it’s time to prepare Chiles to take over the offense. I have not supported the scripted QB changes, but with Chiles already burning his redshirt it doesn’t make sense not to play him 100% of the time moving forward. But then again it didn’t make sense not to kick the field goal at the end of the half either.