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Oregon State Football: What We Learned from the Cal Game

As the Beaver Football Program prepares for uncertainty, the Beavers are grounded in Strawberry Canyon

NCAA Football: Oregon State at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Reminiscent to the first six games of the season, Oregon State was dominated on both lines of the football as the Beavers lost their seventh game in a row, 37-23 to the California Bears.

The Beavers came out of the gates swinging as they scored a Touchdown on the game’s opening drive. TE Tuli-Wily Matagi (yes, you heard that right!) was able to complete a 26 yard pass to Ryan Nall on an perfectly executed double-pass play.

Thanks to a balanced Offensive attack and stifling Defensive play, Cal was able to take over the game. The Bears jumped out to a 17-7 lead early in the 2nd Quarter. The Beavers were able to respond with two long Field Goals by Kicker Jordan Choukair. The Bears; however, were able to add a Field Goal at the last play of the First Half to extend the lead 20-13.

Cal was able to march down the field. Beaver LB Bright Ugwoebu made a terrific play by reading a swing pass to RB Patrick Laird in the backfield, but he was controversially called for Targeting and ejected from the game. The ejection will cause him to be suspended for the First Half of the upcoming Arizona game. On the next play, LB Kee Whetzel forced Baird to fumble and DT Kalani Vakameilalo recovered for the Beavs. Beavs quickly went 3 and out and punted back to the Bears. Cal added another Field Goal to take a 23-13 lead. The Beavers were able to drive 75 yards in 9 plays, which the drive was highlighted by a 33 yard pass from Darrell Garretson to WR Trevon Bradford. In addition, Garretson drew a Roughing the Passer call. RB Thomas Tyner capped off the drive with a 5 yard TD run to cut the Cal lead to 23-20. It looked like the Beavers had seized momentum, but Cal marched 74 yards to the endzone in just 5 plays. The Cal Defense forced the Beaver Offense to punt thanks to a debatable Offensive Pass Interference call on TE Noah Togiai. The Beaver Defense could not stop Cal and their RB Patrick Laird again as Cal took the life out of the Beavers with a 53 yard TD drive in 9 plays to take a 37-20 lead, Cal’s largest of the game. The Beavers were able to add on another Choukair Field Goal with 6:10 left in the 4th Quarter, but time was running out for the Beavers. Cal was able to run out the rest of the clock, mostly by Baird’s strong running. Baird and the Cal Offensive Line had dominated the Beaver defense all afternoon.

Interestingly, Cal did not punt once on Saturday. Cal outgained the Beavers 477-299 yards, and out rushed the Beavers 216-104 yards. Cal RB Patrick Laird rushed for an impressive 214 yards on 33 carries and 1 TD. Thomas Tyner led the Beavers with 41 yards rushing on 8 carries and 1 TD. The Cal Defense held Nall to 35 yards on 12 carries. Here’s what we learned from the Cal game.

The Beavers Road Woes Continue

The Beavers played their best games of the season in the previous two contests against Colorado and Stanford, respectively. There was hope among Beaver Nation that momentum was gaining, and the momentum would carry over in the Bay Area with the realistic possibility of the Beavers notching not only their first Pac-12 victory, but their first road victory since October 4th, 2014 at Colorado. Credit Cal for holding down their home turf, but the Beavers need to learn how to play four consistent quarters on the road. Lack of execution, mental and physical mistakes, and missed assignments have been frequent in Beaver road woes. The same Oregon State Front 7 that gave Stanford (one of the best Offensive Lines in the Country) fits one week ago, was completely manhandled against Cal. An improved Oregon State Offensive Line could not open up holes for Ryan Nall and the rest of the talented Beaver RB’s. Drops plagued the Beaver receiving crew. The thin Beaver Secondary was shredded all day Saturday. If the road woes continue, the Beavers could threaten the school record of consecutive road losses, which is 21 losses (from 1979-82, losing streak was broken with 14-14 tie at Washington St. in 1982, Beavers would get next road win in 1983 with a 51-14 victory at Portland St.). The Beavers current road losing streak is at 17.

The Beavers will have two more road tests left on the 2017 schedule. It will be difficult in Tucson as Arizona and “Mr. October” Kahlil Tate look to seek out revenge against the Beavers from 2016, especially without LB Bright Ugwoebu for the First Half.

The Civil War game has been difficult for the Beavers in Eugene in the last 20 plus years. The Beavers are 1-10 in Autzen Stadium since 1995. In addition, the Ducks are also looking for revenge from last year’s 34-24 Beaver victory.

The Future is Unknown

The Future of the Beaver Football program has more questions than answers. The gigantic factor on the direction of Oregon State is heavily affected by the decision on who the next coach is going to be. When the new coach is hired, who will stay on the current staff and who is going? Chances are very likely most, if not all staff (except possibly Cory Hall?) members will be coaching at other programs. How many transfers are likely to happen? It will likely depend on who is hired. Also, what about the recruits? Do they stay with Oregon State? The Beavers may lose several, if not many recruits based on who is hired, but presumably they will gain recruits that are possibly not on their current recruiting radar based on connection with the new coach and coaching staff. There is a significant possibility that the Oregon State football program will look completely different one year from now. The bottom line is who will the new coach be and in what direction will they lead this Beaver football program?