“That was fun!”
Those were the words spoke throughout Reser Stadium on Saturday. They were spoken in the stands, in the student section, in the club seats, in the suites, on the field and by the coaches. Winning is fun, and it is about time OSU got in on said festivities. While idiots like me predicted more doom and gloom for Saturday, the players and coaches prepared as if they were assured a win. They crated a game plan they were confident in, they practiced that plan and then went out and executed like a team that was 4-0 going for another win, not a team that hadn’t scored an offensive TD in 5 quarters.
The Beavers came out and did what we all hoped. They showed progress, showed resolve and never quit. Cal is not an amazing team, but they are not terrible. They do a lot of great things on offense and have one of the best passing attacks in the country. Oregon State set about stopping that passing attack while also committing to testing the weak rush defense of the Bears. The plan was perfect, mostly because the matchups were in the Beavers’ favor. There are very few, if any, corners playing at a higher level then Treston Decoud right now in the Pac-12. Cal had passed for 2,100 yards leading into the game, averaging over 400 yards per game through the air. Their number one receiver, Chad Hanson, had over 740 yards receiving.
Decoud was like a fantastic orange backpack on Hanson all game long, knocking down passes, attacking him with his hands and staying step for step with the future Biletnikoff watch list receiver. Held to just 12 yards on 4 receptions, Hanson struggled to get free from the blanket coverage of Decoud. The rest of the Beaver pass defense was pretty dang good too, holding Cal to just 124 yards for the game.
Not to be outdone, the offense came to play, especially Ryan Nall and the offensive line. Cal’s defensive line and linebackers were on ‘skates’ all day long as OSU just manhandled them up front, allow Nall to forced smaller corners and safeties to try and bring him down. Two huge runs and a bunch of broken hearts along the way excited Beaver fans and demoralized the Cal defense. Nall was a force, putting up gaudy numbers with 14 carries for 221 yards. While he as the showcase, Darrell Garretson made a huge impact with his feet as well, with the game winning TD in overtime to go with over 100 yards rushing.
Ultimately it was a long overdue win for the Beavers, a conference win to boot and something that should give them confidence and hope for the next few weeks. As Beaver fans we should be more than used to slow starts that turn into strong finishes. I am not saying that OSU is going to win seven games this year, but I am saying that they can be confident that the work and prep they are doing is going to put them in position to win if they can execute.
Mostly though, for a few days at least (though hopefully many more) they are winners. That has not been something they have always been able to say. Heck, not everyone in their own state can say the same thing today.
The Halloween Spice Drop Award of Amazingness
I cannot just give this to Nall, though he certainly deserves it. I have to throw in Decoud as well because the two of them showed up so huge for OSU that we need co-winners. Nall showed that he can be a big time back in this conference and Decoud showed that you better throw to the other side of the field because you are not going to like the results to his side.
I am so proud of the whole team, but those two really stood out both in stats and in the way they influenced the game. Well deserved for both of you!
The Jujifruit Award of Improvement
This goes to the offensive line. In my weekly report for Scout, they have never graded above a D. They will this week. They took it to Cal’s defense and while Cal had some head scratching defensive decisions, the Beavers dominated them at every point. There were great plays by all of them, whether it was Andrews turning a defender on his side to create a huge hole, or Lavaka and Stanton driving their defenders wherever they wanted, the Beavers dominated the line of scrimmage. Brandel and Harlow gave the Beavs their best tackle performance all year. The biggest thing to me was they looked like a unit. Not just a few good plays with a few breakdowns, but like a 5 headed hydra attacking as one.
The Good N Plenty Award of Crappiness
What the heck Pac-12 Network? The B1G Network has games available for streaming the moment they are done. So does the SEC network. Same for the Longhorn. But for some reason, the Pac-12 not only is forcing regional coverage for its viewers (I assume because local advertising has to pick up the slack for their lack of national interest) but the fact that they are so lazy in providing their content. Your whole purpose as a network is to allow fans the ability to watch games. That is it. Being gatekeepers of content and metering it out slowly just lessens your impact.
Not only that, if you are going to truncate games to fit them in your time slots (not your 60min format, which is amazing and you deserve kudos for), DON’T GET RID OF FOOTBALL PLAYS! Get rid of the extra fluff, get rid of reviews except for the result. Get rid of time outs, of stupid network talk and graphics. And most importantly, GET RID OF YOUR OWN COMMERCIALS! I don’t need 10 ads per break about Pac12 content I already know is there. I am actually on your app or your website. It is all there for me to see. If you want to add breaks, just remind people they are on the P12 network and have a graphic of upcoming games.
Many already feel that the Pac12 has weak leadership, but the managing of the Network has been the worst. Just provide steaming games at will and throw national advertising like State Farm and whoever else advertises with you as forced watching for a few second. But having a few replays hearkens to a model of TV Viewership that existed before streaming. You have the games, just keep them up there, all the time, to view. Forcing people to watch games at specific times is counter intuitive to the concept of streaming.
Boo P12 Network.