The Beavers wasted no time righting the ship from last week’s tough loss. The defense kept the ball in front of them throughout the game, and a methodical opening drive opened up a 7-0 lead that OSU would not relinquish.
The offense was on the field for 64 total snaps, and was able to keep a run heavy game plan in place from the first possession of the game. The Beavers struggled in the middle of the first half, punting on three consecutive drives, but started moving the ball again in the 2 minute drill before half. They did not score points there, but picked up the production in the second half to close out the win.
Quarterback: DJ Uiagalelei (59), Aiden Chiles (5)
The game started with a DJ designed run that went for 17 yards and a first down. By spreading out the receivers and backs, there was plenty of room for DJ to pick up space in the middle of the field. DJ’s one interception came while up 21-0 and the team was looking to ‘milk the clock’. It makes sense that the coaching staff wouldn't be looking to more designed QB runs at that point in the game, and keeping your QB healthy is a priority. That being said, DJ was facing pressure on the play anyways, and with the lack of yards on designed runs back the tailbacks, keeping the clock moving is the priority in that situation.
Aiden Chiles got the 3rd drive in what was reported to be a predetermined approach. He hit a good throw down the right side on hist first play, but was then faced with the best defense he has seen so far this year. He hesitated on his reads on the next two plays, taking sacks on both and DJ re-entered for the Beavers 4th drive. It was good experience for the freshman, but its likely the sporadic calls to make a change at QB that came after WSU can subside after this game.
Running Back: Damien Martinez (41), Deshaun Fenwick (20), Isaiah Newell (5), Isaac Hodgins (5)
Utah run defense was very impressive. Beaver runners averaged only 1.88 yards after contact in this game, compared to a 3.27 average for the season. The Utes defenders routinely wrapped up and seemed to be on top of running backs right at the line of scrimmage. Martinez grinded out yards and still managed 4.1 yards per carry on his 16 attempts, continuing his campaign as one of the best backs in the Pac-12. All three tailbacks struggled to pick up yards on the 4th quarter drives to end the game, as the Beavers finished with two three-and-out punts before getting the ball back to kneel out the clock.
Wide Receiver: Silas Bolden (56), Anthony Gould (52), Jesiah Irish (32), Rweha Munyagi Jr. (10), Trent Walker (1)
Bolden was the offensive player of the game for the Beavers. He converted a 3rd down on 1st TD drive to get the Beavers deep into Utah territory. When Oregon State got the ball for their first possession of the second half, Bolden showed up his footwork and acceleration to take a 10 yard out route in for a 27 yard touchdown.
The junior wideout then put an exclamation point on his day taking a pitch on 4th and 1 from the Utah 45 yard line and taking it to the house. The Beavers coaching staff set that play up perfectly by using the same ‘tush push’ formation to pick up a first down on a QB sneak earlier in the game. Bolden’s touchdown will force future opponents to respect the toss play, which will make the push up front that much more effective.
Tight End: Jack Velling (55), Jermaine Terry II (33), Riley Sharp (10)
Velling is getting targets (10 total in the last 2 games), but the success has not been there (only 4 catches). He was the intended target on DJ’s interception, which was an under thrown ball on a deep crossing route that Velling could do nothing to break up. Velling’s luck will turn at some point in the games ahead, and the Beavers do need production from the tight end spot for the offense to reach its potential.
Offensive Line: Taliese Fuaga (64), Tanner Miller (64), Joshua Gray (64), Heneli Bloomfield (64), Jake Levengood (64)
As discussed with the running backs, the Utah run defense was as effective as the Beavers will see all year. Oregon State still managed to put up 153 yards rushing without many yards after contact, which is a testament to the O-line. The Beavers gave up three sacks on the day, but only one of those they were truly beat (Utah’s Jonah Elliss beat Joshua Gray with a spin move to get to DJ quickly). The other two sacks were on Chiles, who held the ball for more than 4 seconds before the pressure got to him.
There were numerous changes to the cornerback rotation in this game, both by choice and by need. While they were helped out by a struggling Utah QB rotation, Oregon State forced Utah receivers to make contested catches (which they struggled to do) and limited yards after the catch.
Defensive Line: Joe Golden (43), Isaac Hodgins (35), James Rawls (28), Semisi Saluni (8), Takari Hickle (2)
James Rawls was hurt and ejected for targeting on the same play in the second half, lowering his helmet into Utah QB Bryson Barnes. He will be suspended for 1st half of next game regardless of whether his injury keeps him out, which will test the rotation on the defensive line. That may result in a few less snaps for Hodgins on the offensive side of the ball.
Edge Rusher: Sione Lolohea (48), John McCartan (46), Andrew Chatfield Jr. (44), Cory Stover (31)
John McCarten was a menace in this game. He nearly had an interception on the first drive, with the near pick on the 1st drive, made a big run stop on the drive after that, and another on Utah’s last attempt to score in the first half. McCarten only finished with three tackles and two pressures on the stat sheet, but was a big reason for the Beavers success in the first half before QB issues caught up to the Utes.
Chatfield’s 44 snaps were the second most of his college career (he had 46 snaps against Fresno State early last year). He missed some tackles when over-pursuing the QB, but led the team with 7 pressures and was constantly in the backfield.
Linebacker: Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (67), Calvin Hart Jr. (47), Melvin Jordan IV (20)
In a turning point of the game, Utah had the ball on the Oregon State 5 yard line with a change to get the game back within a touchdown, a sack and a tackle for loss by the Beavers forced the Utes back to the 23 on 3rd down, where the Beavers were once again able to get pressure on Barnes and Mascarenas-Arnold closed down the passing lane with an interception.
EAZZZZZZZZZZZZY pic.twitter.com/XykCUuWfu7— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) September 30, 2023
Hart Jr. was ejected for targeting on a play that injured Barnes and forced Utah to bring back 2nd string QB Nate Johnson to close out the game. He will join Rawles on the bench for the first half of the next game, and Melvin Jordan IV seems the most likely to take over his snaps with Makiya Tounge out for the year.
Cornerback: Ryan Cooper Jr. (67), Noble Thomas (61), Josiah Johnson (36), Jaden Robinson (20)
The Beavers started the game with Cooper Jr. joining Robinson on the outside, and inserting Noble Thomas as the primary slot corner for the first start of his college career. When Robinson was hurt towards the end of the first half, it was Josiah Johnson, not Tyrice Ivy Jr. or Jermod McCoy that came in to replace him.
The injury to Robinson is something to watch closely in the next couple weeks. The Beaver secondary has not been deep this year, and missing their best outside corner for an extended period of time will be a huge setback.
Safety: Kitan Oladapo (67), Akili Arnold (67)
Both safeties had solid games. Oladapo and Arnold combined for 5 pressures on 12 combined blitzes. Each allowed 2 catches, but together only allowed 6 yards after the catch.