The broadcast crew repeatedly hammered home that this game was a ‘low possession’ game, but the 9 drives by each team ended only 2 shy of the usual 11-12 drives per game we have seen in Oregon State games this year. The number of plays was similar, with the Beaver offense on the field for 61 (they average 65) and the defense for 64 (average 68). It was definitely a lower possession game than usual, but one that played out with the tempo Oregon State looks to play to.
The Beavers outgained the Wildcats in total yards 407-363 despite running nearly the same number of plays. They also beat Arizona in the turnover battle 1-0 and had 4.5 yards per carry to Arizona’s 2.5. Those numbers point to the difference in the game being exactly where most Beaver fans would point to: Oregon State came away with only 3 points on back-to-back drives into the red zone in the 2nd quarter, including the fake field goal with 3 seconds left from the 16.
With all that, the Beavers had a chance to ice the game with the ball leading 17-13, then to retake the lead down 17-20 in the third quarter. They ran a total of 8 plays for 13 yards and punted both times,
Quarterback: DJ Uiagalelei (53), Adien Chiles (8)
It was another game where Uiagalelei took advantage of great pass protection and was extremely patient with the ball. He is rarely throwing as soon as he gets to the back of his drop but has the time to let the play continue to develop. That works many times, but there are plays left on the table due to the lack of anticipation. A perfect example came on 3rd and 9 with the Beavers leading 17-13 late in the 3rd quarter. DJU had an open Anthony Gould on a comeback route well beyond the first down line but had already come out of his break by the time the ball was thrown, which gave the corner time to crash and break up the pass.
Chiles got a long field opportunity this week and led a successful drive down the field. A fumbled snap on 3rd and 2 from the 12 stalled the drive, and a delay of game on the 4th down field goal try gave away a fake that likely would have succeeded. It was the exact same design that they went back to at the end of the half.
Running Back: Damien Martinez (46), Deshaun Fenwick (14), Isaiah Newell (2)
After breaking the 100-yard mark in the first three games of the year, Martinez has settled into a groove of ~15 carries and 90 yards in his last three games. Saturday was right in that wheelhouse (14 carries, 87 yards), and his 6.2 yards per carry mark were the best of his Pac-12 season.
The game plan seemed to more of a role in the receiving game for running backs, but it didn't pay off. Martinez was targeted four times and dropped two of them (he caught one of the other two). Fenwick caught his only target.
Wide Receiver: Silas Bolden (49), Anthony Gould (44), Jesiah Irish (32), Jimmy Vaslin III (14), Rweha Munyagi Jr. (11), Jeremiah Noga (6), Trent Walker (2)
In the continuing competition for the third WR role, Jimmy Vaslin III put together the best game of his career. He caught all three of his targets, including back-to-back first down catches on the drive that gave the Beavers a 17-13 lead in the 3rd quarter. Jesiah Irish still has the lead in that competition (he caught 1 of 3 targets for 8 yards), but it's great to see Vaslin developing for both this season and next.
Tight End: Jack Velling (51), Jermaine Terry II (27), Riley Sharp (5), Gabe Milbourn (2)
Velling is becoming more of a force each week. He continues to lead the nation’s Tight Ends in touchdown catches and picked up his season high in targets (8) and catches (5) in this game. His touchdown catch on a seam route was one of the few where DJU threw on his first hitch, and Jonathan Smith emphasized the trust the two have in each other in the postgame press conference.
Jack + DJ picking up right where they left off— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) October 29, 2023
Offensive Line: Tanner Miller (61), Joshua Gray (61), Heneli Bloomfield (61), Taliese Fuaga (61), Grant Starck (50), Jake Levengood (11)
Jake Levengood returned from the injury that kept him out of the UCLA game but couldn't make it through the first drive, going down favoring his left leg a couple times before coming off the field. The Beavers reverted to the configuration from last game with Miller at center and Starck coming in at right guard. Outside of a couple botched snaps from Miller (one with Chiles, the other with Uiagalelei), the line allowed no sacks or QB hits, and gave the passing game plenty of time to develop.
For coming off of a bye week, the Beaver defense was remarkably shorthanded. Ryan Cooper Jr., Noble Thomas, and Issac Hodgins were all out for this game. Despite that, the defense put Oregon State in position to win, forcing a punt late in the 3rd quarter while holding a 17-13 lead. It was downhill from there, but that was as much the offense not taking advantage of opportunities as it was on the defense.
Defensive Line: James Rawls (59), Joe Golden (56), Semisi Saluni (12)
Most of Hodgins’ snaps were picked up by Golden and Rawls who played nearly the entire game. The Beavers are generally rotating four players on the D-line, but pace of the game enabled them to lean on the top of the rotation. Saluni’s snaps were actually down from the last two games despite there being one less player ahead of him on the depth chart.
Edge Rusher: Sione Lolohea (45), John McCartan (36), Andrew Chatfield Jr. (34), Cory Stover (28)
McCartan looked like a defensive back on his interception. He read QB Noah Fifita’s eyes and easily out-muscled WR Jacob Cowing to give the Beavers an opportunity to take the lead into half. It was his first interception of the year and fourth of his career.
HUGGGGGGGGE PICK BY JOHN— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) October 29, 2023
Linebacker: Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (64), Calvin Hart Jr. (64)
It's not fair to Mascarenas-Arnold, who led the team in tackles (10) and stops (5), but the enduring image of the last drive of the game was Arizona running back DJ Williams running him over on back-to-back plays to start off a 10-play drive that took 5:20 off the clock and gave the Wildcats a 2-score game with less than 3 minutes left. It was a brutal drive for a defense that had done their part for much of the game up until that point.
Cornerback: Jaden Robinson (64), Jermod McCoy (37), Andre Jordan Jr. (27)
Andre Jordan Jr. played for the first time all year. The true freshman allowed 1 catch for 11 yards on 2 targets. The matchup that Arizona wanted was WR Tetairoa McMillan against Jermod McCoy. McMillan caught all 6 passes thrown his way for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Safety: Akili Arnold (64), Kitan Oladapo (64), Jack Kane (49)
In a game where the Beavers were perilously thin in the secondary Alton Julian did not see a snap on defense. That’s a testament to Jack Kane’s emergence as a trusted piece on the back end. Kane played much of the game as the deep safety while Arnold and Oladapo played in the box and covered the slot. His tackling left something to be desired (his three missed tackles were tied for the team lead), but he was a large part of Oregon State’s pass defense being as successful as they were shorthanded.