Monthly Archives: November 2015

5 Stats I Liked & 5 I didn’t Like: Oregon

What a game! A stop here or there, and that might have been a Civil War for the ages. Though the Beavers came up just short, their performance provided a much-needed glimmer of hope for next season. And as for now, it was a nice end to a tough season. So without further ado, here’s the my final “5 Stats I Liked…” post of the year.

5 Stats I Liked:
42… If you had told me going into the game, that the Beavers would score their most points of the season, I would’ve called you an idiot. But I am the one who is left awestruck. I loved the creativity of the play calling; it led to some big plays, something that was lacking all season.

174… Yards rushing for Ryan Nall. Welp, I think it’s settled. Nall should be in the running back discussion in 2016. We knew he was a bruiser, but he showed off some serious speed during his 66-yard TD run. Could he and Paul Lucas be our Reggie Bush/LenDale White combo?

3… Touchdowns by Seth Collins. The oft-maligned freshman returned to the lineup and proved why he has to be on the field, even if it’s not as the Beavers’ primary QB. He’s so damn athletic and explosive, he’s a big play waiting to happen every snap.

78… Yard punt return for TD. Victor Bolden’s huge run back with 10 minutes left ¬†helped the Beavers get within striking distance. It was Bolden’s first punt return of the season and OSU’s first PR for TD since 2011. It was great to see from a player who was up and down this season.

7… Tackles for loss. The Ducks scored 52 points, which is never great, but that shouldn’t completely diminish the fact OSU’s defense played very well at times. Kyle Peko, in particular, helped lead the surge with 2 TFL, a sack, and a blocked field goal in his final game.

5 Stats I Didn’t Like:
52… Points allowed. Like I mentioned before, not good. But what hurt most was that the Ducks were able to score when they needed to, especially down the stretch. The Beavers just couldn’t get the stop they needed.

336… Yards through the air by Vernon Adams. Different uniform, same result. Two years after torching the Beavers, Adams had his way again, completing 73 percent of his passes, three of which were for scores. He had too much time to throw most of the game.

3… TDs for Bralon Addison. He made the Beavers look downright silly at times, seemingly able to get open at will. He’s been overlooked because of the Ducks’ powerful run game, but he’s a great athlete, and so I hope he leaves for the draft ūüôā

308… Yards rushing for the Ducks. Yes, they were going to get yards no matter what. But what frustrated me the most was how easy their backs got around the edge. It highlighted the Beavers’ need to get faster. Taj Griffin is going to be a nightmare the next three years.

62… That was UO’s conversion rate on third down, and some were third and long situations, which made OSU’s inability to get some stops even more heartbreaking. But it’s worth noting that one of the few stops result in a punt return for TD.

So there you have it, quite a few positives to take from a loss, which I hadn’t been able to do well the past few weeks. It could be a long offseason for the Beavers, as there’s sure to be some turnover and recruiting surprises. But at least, they surprised everyone during the 119th Civil War and made it a fun adventure. Their effort and performance deserves huge kudos and a loud “Go Beavers!” (RW)

Thank you seniors.

Imagine if you will,. that you went to work one day, and there was a big company meeting.

“As of today, our CEO has stepped down to take the same position at another company.¬† We are not sure how much of the upper management will be going with them, but we will keep you up to date. As of now, you all have your jobs and business is as usual.¬† We will keep you posted as changes and a replacement is hired.”

“Oh, and will the 13 senior staff members please stay after.¬† We need to chat with you.”

As one of the baker’s dozen of senior staff members you stay behind to hear what they have to say.

“We have no idea who the new CEO will be, or what changes they will make.¬† We are asking you 13 to step up and be leaders and keep morale up.¬† We need you to reach out to each of the other members of the company and gauge their feelings and motivate them to see this through. Since each of you have already said you are retiring after this year, we cannot guarantee a bonus or any extra benefits if the transition doesn’t go smoothly.”

What would you do?

What if that new CEO is blessed with a great vision and long term goals of culture change, hard work and excellence in both practice and in profits.  Everyone is excited and fired up to go.

I bet many of us would be excited!

Then, as the year went on, you had to say goodbye to some friends who took other jobs. Say goodbye to some people that get let go for various reasons.  You saw profits drop, you saw the company go in a tail spin. While the board of directors, management and most of the company  still believed that the direction would be the best for the company in the long run, the interim time was incredibly stressful and disheartening.

You see upper management interviewing some really great people, a huge talent upgrade is coming.¬† Unfortunately they cannot start until after you are gone.¬† More of your friends and teammates are pushed out either by finding something new or losing their jobs or getting reorganized to places they are not a good fit.¬† Some other friends have their resume’s out looking for a new, more stable place to work where they feel they fit more.

Finally, you get to your last month at the company. You can see the future and it looks brighter and brighter with each new hire and each change in process.¬† You are excited for that, but your heart breaks a bit because you will not get to be a part of it.¬† They are demolishing your old offices and putting in new state of the art ones. The company is moving forward and it will without you.¬† You did your best in ridiculously hard times the last year, but now you must move on from a place you love because your time is done. You won’t celebrate in big sales in the new offices and you won’t get the big bonuses that come late in the year because everyone worked hard and got it done.

On Friday, 13 Beaver players will run onto the field one last time, after a year of the above scenario has played out in their lives.  They will walk by their old home being destroyed to make way for the new home for the palyers to come every day until they graduate.  They will see a new class singed full of promise and talent that they will never get to take the field with. Mostly, they go home earlier than they hoped, no chance at a bowl game or just one more practice.  They will leave with their last home memory being a bad loss in front of a few thousand cold fans surrounded by a mostly empty stadium.

No banner will hang for them and no trophy will be on display to honor their last year.  Yet they may very well be the most important people on the whole team for the Beavers future. They are the ones that gave their all through injury (Josh Mitchell, Storm Barrs-Woods, Larry Scott and Jalen Grimble) who overcame crazy adversity to get just one shot to fulfill their dreams of playing D1 football (Kyle Peko).  They worked through the depth chart to make an impact even though they physically were not as dominant as some of their peers because no one was going to keep them off it (Lavonte Barnett, Jashwa James and Kellen Clute).

For me, there are also three people that will hold an even more special place in my heart, and that is Naji Patrick, Shane Wallen and Ali’i Robbins.¬† Patrick worked in the background as¬† a walk-on for years before finally getting a scholarship this last year.¬† Imagine doing all the same work, work outs and film study, yet no training table and also having to pay for your own schooling?¬† Or Ali’i Robins who came in on scholarship and had to give it up and pay his own way.¬† He could have easily transferred away, but he stayed, honored his team with hard √•√ß despite what had to be horribly disappointing. Or Shane Wallen, a transfer who just wanted to fulfill his dream of playing D1 football and worked his butt off to stay on the team and do it.

All of these players are warriors. Some we will see on Sundays, some are going to go on to do great things in other fields.  Regardless, Beaver Nation and Oregon State asked them to do the hardest thing ever.  They had to lead a hopeless mission to benefit a great future that they will not be an active part of.  They had to lay the foundation during one of the roughest years we have had, for a future that they can only watch from a distance.

So thank you. Thank you for being amazing, thank you for being leaders and thank you for being a part of a difficult chapter in Beaver history.

For what it is worth, I am proud of each and every one of you.

Go Beavs (PRO)

5 Stats I Liked & 5 I Didn’t Like: Cal

For about quarter and a half, the Beavers hung with Cal, and it seemed like they might have a fighting chance with a break here or there. But that never came and eventually Jared Goff and Co. got hot and never looked back as the Golden Bears cruised to an easy win. But amidst another blowout loss, there were some positives for the Beavs. Here goes nothing…

5 Stats I Liked:
204… Yards rushing for the Beavers who averaged six yards per carry! It’s great that they attacked Cal’s weakness and found success. But when you fall behind big, you usually have to resort to throwing the ball a lot to try to come back.

70… Yards rushing for Paul Lucas. The true freshman, who had played receiver up until Saturday’s game, rushed for a team-high 70 yards, highlighted by a 33-yard scamper in which he displayed his elite speed. Will he stay at RB?

3… Touchdowns by Nick Mitchell. The redshirt freshman rebounded from a rough performance against UCLA by accounting for three scores against Cal, two through the air and one on the ground. His 29-yard TD strike to Jordan Villamin was PRETTY…

8… Tackles for Gabe Ovgard. The walk-on safety from Klamath Fall shined during his first extended stint for the Beavers. He displayed the toughness so desperately craved by Andersen and Co., so it will be interesting to see if he continues to play more snaps.

0… Turnovers for the Beavers. Usually, this would be at the top of any list, but the Beavers still lost despite taking care of the ball. It’s another frustrating part of a very frustrating season. Usually, when a team wins the turnover battle, it wins, or least keeps the game close.

5 Stats I Didn’t Like:
760… Total yards of offense for Cal. I know it was facing one of, if not the best, passers in the nation in Jared Goff, but the Beavers defense got shredded. Adding to insult was that 307 of those yards came on the ground… WTH?

9.2… Yards per offensive play by the Golden Bears. Once they got rolling, they didn’t mess around. And as a result, it was tough for the OSU defense to even try to build momentum. When it’s nearly 2-and-1 most of the game, it’s hard to stop an offense.

4… Passing plays over 40 yards for Cal’s WRs. Yes, the Beavers’ secondary has suffered a ton of injuries this season. But man, what a difference nine weeks makes. At the beginning of the season, I thought this unit would be the Beavers’ strength. But Cal made them pay, BIG…

307… Rushing yards for the Golden Bears. Like I exclaimed earlier, “What the heck?” Tre Watson, Vic Enwere, and Khaif Muhammad rand wild against the Beavers. Each of them averaged more than seven yards per carry. And you thought Cal was just a passing team.

20… Scored in the third quarter for Cal. One thing the Beavers have been good at this season, most of it at least, was holding teams in the third quarter. But Cal broke the game open in that quarter and never looked back. Let’s face it, it was a rough night for the defense.

Just so I don’t end this post on a boo bird note, it was great to see Lucas’ performance. He looked comfortable at running back and could develop into a real weapon there if given the opportunity. I also liked what I saw from Mitchell; it just reaffirmed what I thought all along, he should’ve been give more snaps earlier in the season. Go Beavs! (RW)

5 Things to Watch: Cal

Oregon State (2-7, 0-6) at California (5-4, 2-4)
 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/Beaver Sports Network
Series: California leads 35-32. Last season, the Golden Bears defeated OSU, 45-31, at Reser Stadium. Daniel Lasco rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns to lead Cal, while Jordan Villamin caught nine passes for 140 yards and a TD to pace the Beavers.  
California’s¬†last¬†game:¬†Lost 44-28 to Oregon.
Notable: Saturday’s game will mark the fourth time Gary Andersen has coached against Cal coach Sonny Dykes. He has a 1-2 record against Dyke, when he coached at Utah State and Dykes coached Louisiana Tech.

5 Things to Watch:
How will they respond: 
The Beavers are coming off being shut out at home for the first time since 1997. They also are in the midst of the six-game losing street. While Coach Andersen stresses that morale is fine, actions speak louder than words. How will the players come out?

Who steps up at running back: Bruiser Ryan Nall is out for the season, leaving the Beavers’ already-thin group of backs even more depleted. Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin has hinted at a surprise. Will it be Paul Lucas?

Can they pressure Goff: Cal is struggling right now, having lost four straight games. But that doesn’t make quarterback Jared Goff any less dangerous. So the Beavers need to get pressure on him, otherwise OSU could be just what the doctor ordered for Goff and Co.

Keep the Cal receivers in check: OSU’s secondary has been hit hard by injuries this season, and the unit has went through a lot of different starters and lineups. Can they hang in there and at least slow the Golden Bears’ deep and talented group of wideouts.

Big plays needed: There’s no question about it, the Beavers are in desperate need of a spark and nothing gets things rolling like a big play or three. It would be nice to see the receivers have a good game, but at this point a couple pick-6s would be awesome, too!

Call me crazy. Or maybe this losing streak is making me delirious. But you have two teams who are in a funk, so just maybe, if the Beavers come out swinging, they can upset Cal. They need to be aggressive and gain momentum early on. Go Beavs! (RW)



Progress Report

There are a lot of things in life that make me sad.  Throwing out food, unwanted pets, political unrest in the world, disco and Beaver losses.  This week was a particularly tough outing for the Beavers because of two very distinct reasons:

  1. It started out promising.  At the point of the first interception, OSU was dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and UCLA was struggling to find a rhythm.  Even their first scoring drive was a solid defensive stop after a fumble, holding the Bruins to just 33 yards.
  2. After a second consecutive home game where an ambulance entered the stadium to take one of our corners to the hospital, it was a game filled with strangers

What do I mean by strangers?  Well, at the beginning of the year, our starting teams looked like this:

LT 77 Harlow, Sean
LG 64 Lauina, Fred
C 50 Mitchell, Josh
RG 56 Seumalo, Isaac
RT 74 Stanton, Dustin
TE 83 Clute, Kellen
WR 13 Villamin, J.
WR 6 Bolden,Victor
WR 2 Jarmon, Hunter
QB 0D Collins, Seth
TB 24 Woods,Storm

LE 59 Barnett, L.
NT 99 Peko, Kyle
RE 93 Failauga, Titus
STUD 48 James, Jaswha
MIKE 8 Mageo, Rommel
WILL 35 Saulo, Caleb
FLSH 47 Ugwoegbu, B.
LCB 14 Decoud, Treston
SS 17 Noland-Lewis, C
FS 4 Strong, Justin
RCB 15 Scott, Larry

You will notice the names in bold None of those players started this last weekend.  While some played, they have all either been injured or been beat out by other players.  By the end of the game, the following people are going to miss next week as well:

Ryan Nall (Concussion)
Datrin Guyton (Off the team)
Dwayne Williams (Neck injury)

Additional players that have missed at least one game this year:
Storm Barrs-Woods
Damien Haskins
Hunter Jarmon
Kellen Clute
Chris Brown
Deltron Sands
Brent VanderVeen
Justin Strong
Larry Scott
Jalen Grimble
Caleb Smith
David Henry Retired)
Gavin Andrews (Redshirting due to injury)
Dashon Hunt (Retired)
Tim Cook (Redshirting due to injury)
Darryl Songy (off the team)

I may be missing someone else, because the list is long, but basically when you want to talk progress you have to look at what that means for this team.  Think about the following:

  1. The Beavers have only used one QB in 3 games all season.¬† Those three games are spread over two different QB’s
  2. The Beavers have not started the same set of Corners in any of the last four games.
  3. The Beavers have played 5 different running backs, 3 different quarterbacks, 7 different offensive linemen, 4 different tight ends, 10 different linebackers and 6 different defensive ends.

It is good to have a healthy rotation on defense, but in many cases, players were played because of necessity.  In a trip to Arizona, the Beavers took only 2 defensive tackles with them. They were forced to use a 3-4 defense be cause, well, they only had 2 defensive tackles available.

So what should the progress report be?  Were we OK against Utah?  Heck yeah! Were we great? No, because greatness is reserved for games you win.

Were we terrible against UCLA?  Heck yeah. That was a bad game!  Does that game define the progress of our team?  No, because there were still players that were working through their first or second start ever.  This team has taken its lumps, but progress as a team is the umbrella that covers it.  This team is not playing better than it was against Stanford.  This team is not playing much worse than it did against Michigan. This team is about the same as it has been all season, so if you want progress on the field, you may need to look elsewhere.

But this team has also played upwards of 60 players this year.¬† 60 different players have seen the field and played meaningful minutes.¬† 60 different players are going to go into the off-season with a keen understanding of what they need to learn and do. That is progress.¬† Not the “we are playing our best ball in November” type of progress, but the “We have 60 players that know what it takes to succeed at this level and know what they need to do¬† to make it happen.”¬† 60 players next year are not going to be intimidated by stadiums, opponents, start times, family attendance, NFL prospects or whatever else is thrown at them because they have battled it all already.

Right now, the team is showing little progress on the field.¬† I would give it a D in terms of playing better ball now than when they took the field against Weber State.¬† But with so many new names, new faces and new numbers out there for the Beavers, they shouldn’t be. In terms of giving players a sense of what is expected, what is acceptable, what is not acceptable and what the standards of the new coaches are, I give them a B.¬† We will see if they can move that D up a bit these last three weeks.¬† Regardless, there are a lot of players in orange and black that know what they need to do to ensure that they never feel like this again.¬† That is progress!

Go Beavs (PRO)

5 Stats I Liked & 5 I Didn’t Like: UCLA

OK, let’s call this what it is: ¬†A lost season for the Beavers. That “playing for the future” bit is hard to believe in wake of another drubbing, this time 41-0 at the hands of the Bruins. It was awful. With that said, here’s my by-the-numbers look at the game…

5 Stats I Liked:
0… Points allowed by the Beavers in the first quarter. It was a great start for the defense¬†and gave OSU a fighting chance, even if it was fleeting. They repeated the feat in the final quarter, as well ‚ÄĒ unfortunately the game was well out of hand at that point.

6.2… Yards per carry for Storm Barrs-Woods. The senior running back has battled injuries this season and a roller-coaster rotation at running back. However, he ran well against the Bruins, gaining 87 yards on 14 carries.

11… Tackles for Devin Chappell. The junior defensive back, a former walk-on from Western Oregon, turned in his best performance as a Beaver, tying for the team lead in tackles. It’s another chapter in his feel-good story.

38,074… People attended Saturday’s game ‚ÄĒ a season high. Yes, it helped that it was Dad’s Weekend, but it was still impressive considering OSU’s dismal season and the less than ideal weather. Sadly, the stadium was pretty empty after halftime.

66… Yards is punter Nathan Porebski’s new career long punt. He uncorked the monster punt (helped by a few OSU bounces) in the second quarter to pin the Bruins deep. He’s quietly put together a few solid games in a row.

5 Stats I Didn’t Like:
0… Points scored. I get that this is a transition season, and there was bound to be some up and downs, but never in my wildest nightmares could’ve I imagined the Beavers’ would struggle to move the ball. UGH.

41… Percent¬†was the combined completion percentage for Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion, which highlighted the offensive struggles against OSU. To be fair though, the wide receivers didn’t do them any favors at times.

5.5… Yards per carry for the Bruins. That ultimately put too much pressure on the Beavers’ defense, and eventually UCLA was able to score at will. If they hadn’t move all the way down to their third-string offense, who knows what the score could’ve been.

12… Yards receiving for Jordan Villamin. The sophomore receiver is too explosive not to be targeted more. So it’s been disappointing to watch him struggle to get involved consistently this season and get in a rhythm. Sadly, you could say that about all the receivers.

6, 116, 2… That’s the Rec/Yards/TDs line for UCLA receiver Thomas Duarte, who sparked the Bruins to an early lead that they never relinquished, or for that matter even had to peek back to see if OSU would come charging back.

And to add to insult, I’m coming clean. Saturday’s game marked the first time as a Beavers fan that I didn’t go back for the second half. I kinda feel bad about that, but at the same time, the game left me completely deflated and bummed. I still am.

This is why it’s tough being a fan. While our brains think one thing, our hearts want to think another thing. I knew this season would be rough, but I wanted to believe that this coaching staff was elite enough to squeeze out a little magic… Go Beavs! (RW)

Hopkins Makes the Most of His Chance

At the beginning of the year, I mentioned a name to look out for was Will Hopkins.¬† The transfer TE from Texas was making a lot of strides at offensive tackle.¬† His technique was great and his tenacity and strength are what Coach Woods is looking for in linemen.¬† It also doesn’t hurt that he is 6’7″ tall. The problem was that the career defensive end and tight end has difficulty keeping up the weight required for offensive tackle.¬† Will was exceedingly disciplined in his diet and workouts and was getting north of 285 pounds before getting sick and losing a lot of weight.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, life doesn’t wait for you to be totally ready before asking you to step up and with the injury to Sean Harlow against Colorado, honor role student-athlete Will Hopkins was asked to take the field. Fortunately for Beaver nation, even with the remnants of his illness still lingering, Will was ready.

When I reviewed the offensive line for the Colorado game, I paid special attention to number 60 on the field.  His first play, against a decent defensive end, he stoned him on the line in a pass play and covered the speed rusher up with his feet while dominating him with his hands.  It was a good start to say the least. In his fifth snap, the still slightly undersized Hopkins used his quickness to work up to the second level and seal off the defender allowing Ryan Nall to get a few extra yards on the run. In his sixth play, he showed his tenacity, strength and technique to drive his defender four yards downfield on another solid run play.

Against future NFL players in the Utah game, Hopkins held his own, making plays on the edge that helped quarterback Nick Mitchell rush for 40 yards on runs to the outside.¬† He also was part of an offensive line unit that gave up one sack all game.¬† Hopkins is still young, and a bit undersized, but his effort, his attention to detail and understanding of what OSU is going to do, as well as a nasty streak that belies his otherwise happy demeanor, will make Will Hopkins a fixture on our offensive line for the rest of his career at OSU.¬† Another year with Coach Simon and I would not be shocked if we end up seeing ’60’ get some serious consideration when all conference awards are dolled out next year.

This week, against UCLA, be sure to take the time to watch 60 for a few plays.¬† You won’t be disappointed!

Go Beavs (PRO)

Bit by Bit

(NOTE: Because a scheduling error, this was supposed to go out on Monday)

Another week and another similar result ‚ÄĒ at least in terms of losing.¬† What was different this week was quite palatable:


In blowout losses to Arizona and WSU, the Beavers appeared hopeless. In a close loss to Colorado, there were signs that the Beavers might be building toward something in the future, but still the realization that they are the basement king of the conference.

This past week, what we saw for the first time in a long time was a large, noticeable step forward. Performances by players such as Willis, Mitchell, Peko and Hill didn’t go unnoticed.¬† With injuries piling up, and many players playing through sickness, the team put together an effort that showed promise. A quarterback that added 20 percent to its completion percentage, a defense that shut the door on a solid offense after the first two drives, and a team that looked like they could rebound. A catch here, a block there, better communication on a play or two ‚ÄĒ and this game could have been much different.

And they took this step on the road in a place that is EXTREMELY hard to win.

That is where hope comes from. I am not saying we are going to win out or even win again, but all the sudden I think we can. I think this team can start righting the ship. If the Beavers find a way to get two more wins, all the sudden we are looking at a different  beast. Match this performance with a recruiting week that saw us close the gap on our competition with four highly regarded recruits committing to OSU and the future looks more than just a smidgen brighter.

Our coaching staff and players don’t want to see moral victories and are not going to parade around like they did¬†¬†something impressive on Saturday. And good for them, that is how it should be. But I am a fan, and I can be happy about whatever I want. This weekend the Beavers gave me hope. I saw more of the offense than we have seen all year and I liked the potential.¬† This weekend I saw where we want to go and I am all in. We need some more pieces for sure, but we are closer now than at any point this season.

And that is AWESOME!

Go Beavs (PRO)

Where is the Candy?

It may seem odd that a website called “The Official Candy Report” has been shy on actual Candy Reports lately.¬† Maybe it is that common pattern the last few seasons of me losing steam when the team isn’t successful.¬† Ironically, that is not the case. I have been purposely holding them back to reflect one simple truth:

There are no awards in losses.

Or at least that is the message of this coaching staff, and I agree with it.¬† Now that is not to mean there are no lessons, or great performances or even down right awesome feats of football acumen. What it means is that there is no BCS Bowl Game for the two teams earning the most ‘Moral Victories’.

I recognize that players like Mitchell and Willis are making huge strides and putting this team in position to potentially get a win. And I think that is awesome. I think it also should be applauded because they worked hard and are making the most of their opportunities.¬† But I would also be willing to bet that neither of them would pause for even a moment to trade their personal achievements to turn that “L” against Utah into a “W”.¬† In fact, if the offense never scored a point all season or conversely if the defense averaged giving up 50 points a game and the offense was able to just put up 51 leading to an undefeated record, Every Beaver player would feel a lot better.

The reality is that no one will remember a QB starting their first game ever (after only playing two quarters of football the previous two years of his time at OSU) had a good game.¬† No one will ever look at this game and say “Remember when Will Hopkins started and did so well in that loss to Utah?”

We may remember this like i remember the Penn State game in 2008, as the turning point in these next few weeks of Beaver Football, but only if Saturday they take an even bigger step and beat UCLA. Or even better close out the season with a few wins including the Civil War. Then I will remember this game with a little more fondness and detail.

But for now there are no awards because we still only have two wins.¬† In honor of the attitude set forth by the coaching staff, an attitude that losing is not acceptable, it seems inconsistent for me to offer awards in a loss.¬† So I will talk about improvements and steps and hope, but I will not give out weekly Heisman’s because. honestly, I don’t think the players would even want them.

Go Beavs (PRO)

5 Stats I Liked & 5 I Didn’t Like: Utah

Disclaimer: I only caught the second half of the Utah game. So this is a true by-the-numbers look at this matchup.

After a shaky start against Utah, the Beavers rebounded, held strong, and kept it game until late in the fourth quarter. While the offense made strides, it wasn’t enough to support a pretty stellar effort by the defense. Some within Beaver Nation have suggested that Saturday’s game was a moral victory. Hate to “bah humbug” here, but I don’t subscribe to that; there’s wins or losses. But I will say this, the Beavers took several steps forward that could serve as strong building blocks to brighter 2016 season…

5 Stats I Liked:
0… Turnovers for the Beavers against a Utah defensive that entered the game with 19 takeaways, at the time, the second most in the nation. It’s another sign that Nick Mitchell understands the offense and knows what needs to be done.

19…¬†Pass completions for Mitchell ‚ÄĒ which is the most by an OSU quarterback in a game this season. Mitchell also threw for 204 yards, the second highest total in a game for the Beavers this season.

6… Tackles for loss for the Beavers. Hats off to the defense which responded well after allowing 14 points in the first quarter. They held the Utes scoreless in the middle two quarters, and an impressive 4-of-11 on third down.

11… Tackles for Jonathan WIllis. Speaking of the defense, leading the way was the sophomore linebacker from Oklahoma, who was making his first career start. And he displayed the talent that made him a big recruit for the Beavers several years ago.

74…¬†That’s how many yards Jordan Villamin rumbled and stumbled toward the end zone about midway through the fourth quarter. The big catch set up a 2-yard touchdown by Victor Bolden several plays later, pulling the Beavers within 24-12.

5 Stats I Didn’t¬†Like:
Scoring only one touchdown in four red zone trips is never ideal, especially against a defense as strong as Utah’s. Even if OSU one more of those opportunities, it could’ve been an entirely different game.

33… percent conversion rates on third down never cut it, and unfortunately, the Beavers struggled in that area against the Utes. Third down has been an enigma all season long and it showed Saturday.

82… percent was Travis Wilson’s completion percentage against OSU. While he only threw for 198 yards and one TD, he was able to make most of the throws he needed to, and clearly was in a rhythm.

0… Carries for running backs not named Storm Barr-Woods. Coach Andersen explained why Ryan Nall didn’t carry the ball, and I get where he’s coming from. But it’s still weird not to give the ball to a guy coming off a career game, at the very least to keep some momentum going.

10… First downs in the opening quarter for Utah. That’s a pretty remarkable number and explains why the Utes got off to such a fast start. And while the Beaver defense responded in the big way over the 30 minutes, that 14-0 hole was just enough for the Utes…

One last thing, I want to give a huge shout out to the Beavers’ offensive line. They’ve been much maligned by fans and the message boards, but to limit Utah to one sack is damn impressive ‚ÄĒ and a reflection of the solid job they’ve done this¬†season.

Remember, this season is about making progress and building toward what Andersen and Co. want, and the Utah game had plenty of promising moments that provide hope among the rough goings… Go Beavs! (RW)