It was a clean performance across the board for Oregon State to kick off the 2023 season on the road at San Jose State. Not everything was flashy, but consistent execution on both sides of the ball made the game comfortable in the second half and gave the coaching staff opportunities to rotate down the depth chart in the latter parts of the game. The intent of this article is to take a look at how playing time was allocated by position group, and focus on individual performances within them. Snap counts below are from PFF.
The offense played 65 total snaps, with 57 of those going to the starting unit. The full second string offense entered the game after John McCartan and Kitan Oladapo combined for a sack and forced fumble with 6 min left in the 4th.
Quaterback: DJ Uiagalelei (57), Adian Chiles (8)
At 91.7 DJ had the highest PFF grade of any quarterback in the Pac-12 this weekend, to include Shedeur Sanders and Caleb Williams. San Jose State tried to mix in different coverage looks, but Uiagaleli took advantage of all of them, most notably spending nearly seven seconds in the pocket before hitting Jeremiah Noga on a deep cross for a 31 yard touchdown pass.
NOOOOGGGGAAAAA— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) September 3, 2023
Chiles was the QB off the bench in garbage time and led a touchdown drive in his first college action. He can play in up to 4 games and still be eligible for a red shirt year, so it will not be surprising to see him make appearances in the next couple games before giving way to Ben Gulbranson later in the year.
Running Back: Damien Martinez (39), Deshaun Fenwick (24), Isaac Hodgins (7), Isaiah Newell (2)
The Beavers were able to find good balance between Martinez and Fenwick in this game, but it was Martinez that put his stamp on the game. Seven of his 19 carries went for 10 or more yards, and he gained 77 of his 146 yards after contact. Isaac Hodgins more than doubled his career high snaps on offense, and it wasn’t just as a battering ram. He was on the field for three passing plays, the first of his career. Keep an eye out for Hodgins sneaking out of the backfield around the goal line at some point this year...
Wide Receiver: Anthony Gould (45), Silas Bolden (39), Jesiah Irish (19), Zachary Card (16), Rweha Munyagi Jr. (20), Jeremiah Noga (7), Trent Walker (4), Jamai East (3)
Bolden saw more time in the slot in this game than previously in his career and led the team in targets with 7. He feasted over the middle of the field, with all but one of those targets being between the numbers. Junior Jesiah Irish and Freshman Zachary Card split reps as the third receiver on the field for Oregon State. Noga was only on the field for 7 snaps, but he made the most of them, catching the two balls thrown his way, including the touchdown where he found room behind the defense late in the play.
Tight End: Jack Velling (38), Jermaine Terry II (27), Jake Overman (22), Riley Sharp (7), Gabe Milbourn (3), Carter Neuman (1)
An impressive seven tight ends saw action for Oregon State in this game. Velling was not technically a starter, but acted as a quasi-slot receiver for most of the game, and ended second on the team in targets with 5.
Offensive Line: Tanner Miller (65), Jake Levengood (57), Taliese Fuaga (57), Joshua Gray (57), Heneli Bloomfield (41), Grant Starck (24), Jacob Strand (8), Tyler Morano (8), Tyler Voltin (8)
Regardless whether they were running or passing, this was the most lopsided match-up of the game. DJ consistently had time to progress through his reads (which was particularly helpful in his first start in Jonathan Smith’s system), and the Beaver line moved the line of scrimmage decisively on running plays. Martinez found tremendous success running to the right, gaining 13.8 yards per carry on 5 carries behind Miller and Fuaga. The Beavers will face tougher defensive lines, but it was as good a start as you can hope for from a unit expected to be the foundation of Oregon State’s success this year.
The Oregon State defense was on the field for 68 total snaps. They played most of the game in nickle or dime to counter the spread attack of San Jose State, leading to a number of outside linebackers rotating through in pass rushing situations and two down linemen for most of the game.
Defensive Line: James Rawls (45), Isaac Hodgins (29), Semisi Saluni (16), Quincy Wright (5), Thomas Collins (5), Tavis Shippen (1)
Outside of QB Chevan Cordeireo picking up 35 yards predominantly on scrambles, the Oregon State defense held SJSU to 2.84 yards per carry from other ball carriers. That’s not the way the Spartans want to live, but by turning them into a one-dimensional team, the Beavers were able to dictate the game, particularly as time went on. Rawls and Hodgins held down the interior of the line for most of the game, and did a fantastic job holding their gaps and limiting Cordeireo’s opportunities to run.
Linebackers: Mascarenas-Arnold (53), John McCartan (38), Joe Golden (36), Makiya Tounge (35), Sione Lolohea (33), Calvin Hart Jr. (33), Cory Stover (26), Andrew Chatfield Jr. (22), John Miller (14), Easton Takari Hickle (13), Nikko Taylor (6)
As a whole, the Beavers defense racked up 16 pressures on SJSU quarterbacks, but only made contact 5 times. That reflects the discipline to not allow running lanes for Cordeireo to get through as passing plays developed. The game plan worked to perfection, and things started to break through in the 4th quarter, most notably when John McCartan picked up a sack, then teamed up with Oladapo for another sack on the very next play that forced a fumble and more or less sealed the game. McCarten and Joe Golden were the primary outside pass rushers, although Corey Stover had a great day in rotational duty, creating 4 pressures and picking up a sack.
Cornerbacks: Ryan Cooper Jr. (58), Jaden Robinson (58), Tyrice Ivy Jr. (56), Jack Kane (10), Joe Swen (6)
Perhaps the biggest question facing Oregon State going into the season was how to replace the majority of their starting secondary. Game one has to be considered a success on this front. Jaden Robinson had a strong game, he was targeted 7 times but only allowed 2 catches and had two pass breakups. On the other side, Tyrice Ivy Jr. had a tough sequence of plays guarding deep balls down the sidelines in the second half, but only allowed one catch on the day. Returning slot corner Ryan Cooper Jr. was targeted often, but limited yards after the catch on the short passes over the middle designed for such things, allowing only 17 yards on 4 catches.
Safeties: Kitan Oladapo (58), Akili Arnold (58), Alton Julian (10), Josiah Johnson (10), Jermod McCoy (10), Wynston Rusell (4)
Oladapo led the team with 6 tackles and 3 stops. He played in the box frequently and was instrumental in shutting down the middle of the field. His delayed blitz up the middle to force the 4th quarter fumble sealed the game and was emblematic of his day. Akili Arnold filled the free safety role for much of the game and allowed only 1 catch on 4 targets.