Monthly Archives: September 2018

Arizona State Destroys Oregon State 52-24

Arizona State raced to a huge early lead, withstood a couple of Oregon State rallies, and pulled away to 52-24 win Saturday night, led by Eno Benjamin, who ran for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns, and caught 3 passes for 27 more yards, and another score.

Oregon State was uncompetitive until the middle of the second quarter in the 98 degree heat at kickoff in Tempe (which was still in the mid 90s at game’s end). Arizona State scored on their first 3 possessions, facing only token isolated resistance, and built a 17-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter, on Benjamin’s second score of the night, below. Meanwhile, Oregon State quarterback Conor Blount fumbled on 2 first quarter possessions, and was taking a pounding.

The Sun Devils extended the lead to 24-3 by midway in the second period, on a 47 yard Benjamin scoring run, before the Beavers finally got going.

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Arizona Dominates Outmaned Oregon State

Oregon State has returned from its 2 week venture into Big West and bottom of the Mt West territory, and the results in their Pac-12 opener were predictable. Arizona established the upper hand early, opening a 14-7 first half lead that belied how large their statistical advantage was. The Wildcats became dominant in the second half, and pulled away to a 35-14 win that was in line with an advantage in yardage of 594 to 238.

The ‘Cats served notice on the first drive of the game when JJ Taylor went 40 yards for the first of his two long touchdown runs that bookended his 284 yard afternoon to take a a 7-0 lead.

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Candy For Catching

Oregon State is back from Reno, after coming so close to breaking their now 21 game road losing streak, and about to embark on Pac-12 play. The loss was disappointing, but the passing game was encouraging.

That was particularly surprising, given that Trevon Bradford, who had a big, 2 touchdown game in the opener at Ohio State, and got off to a fast start in the home opener against Southern Utah (until he suffered a shoulder injury catching another touchdown pass), didn’t even get to go on the trip to Nevada as a result of his shoulder injury.

But it was apparent on Oregon State’s first drive of the game that the Beaver passing game was going to have a big day, on a level not seen since NFLers Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks were still on campus.

Isaiah Hodgins and Timmy Hernandez were a physical mismatch of major proportions that no one Nevada could put against them could deal with. Any success the Wolf Pack was going to have against the big Beaver receivers was going to have to come from scheme, not matchups. To their credit, they did quickly switch up their coverage schemes, and Conor Blount didn’t read that on the second drive, so the result was an interception when Blount threw into bracket coverage.

But once Jake Luton took over, the passing game really took off.

Hodgins earned The Halloween Spice Drops Award of Awesomeness for his 14 catch, 200 yard, 2 touchdown effort. The 14 catches tied the Oregon State single game reception record, previously attained only by Mike Haas and Cooks.

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Oregon State Misses Chances For Comeback Win At Nevada

Oregon State kicker Jordan Choukair twice missed field goal attempts in the 4th quarter wide left that would have won the game, including one from 34 yards as time ran out, and Nevada escaped with the 37-35 win that extended Oregon State’s road losing streak to 21 games. Both misses were directly affected by a strong wind that blew diagonally threw Mackay Stadium all afternoon and evening, and impacted the kicking game the entire time.

It matters little that there should have been a retry following a running into the kicker penalty, as that oversight was merely the last in a long series by a crew that struggled all day. Another opportunity probably would have sailed wide as well, in keeping with the theme of the game, one that the Beavers did everything necessary to win, and everything possible to lose.

Credit the Wolf Pack, who came ready to play, and built what looked like an insurmountable 30-7 lead 5 minutes into the second quarter, only to run almost out of gas, and watch the Beavers claw back into within 2 points with 11:40 to go.

But it also has to be recognized that inexperience, and not all of it the players, cost the Beavers the game. From coverage errors to disastrous turnovers to drops to questionable personnel decisions, what we saw was what you often see when freshmen and other relatively inexperienced players play, and a first time coach tries to figure it all out. This was generally to be expected, even if not specifically.

And its why a game Oregon State dominated statistically was still a loss.

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Handing Out Some Candy Before The Run To Reno

The first couple of game recaps didn’t include handing out the candy awards, which have proven to still be a popular part of Oregon State football analysis. These were always Peter’s choices, at least while he had the time to do the dispensing, but we will try to resume the tradition. The long road trips and night games that have become commonplace on the Beavers’ schedule contribute to the problem, but also make candy-worthy performances all the more note-worthy for all the same reasons.

The Halloween Spice Drops Award of Awesomeness goes to running backs in both of the first two games.

Even in a lopsided loss, Artavis Pierce earned a big bag of spice drops for his 80 & 78 yard touchdown runs on the 1st & 3rd plays Oregon State ran in the 3rd quarter against Ohio State. They were spectacular sprints as we saw them, but you only realize how notable they were when you realize the Buckeyes haven’t allowed 2 touchdown runs that long in the same season in over 20 years. Most of that time, Ohio State has been pretty good.

That’s why it disappointed and concerned Oregon State fans and team members alike as much as it did when after a good start against the Thunderbirds (another 91 yards and a touchdown),  Pierce hyperextended his left elbow when he landed out of bounds just shy of scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of Saturday’s Southern Utah game. The injury will likely sideline Pierce until the Homecoming game against California, after the bye week, after mid-October.

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Jemar Jefferson Keyes Big Beaver Win

Oregon State jumped all over Southern Utah in the first half, roaring out to a 38-0 lead, and then the Beavers overcame the loss of a pair of key offensive players to hold off the Thunderbirds for a 48-25 win that snapped an 11 game losing streak that dated to last season’s second game, which also happens to be the last game Oregon State played against a FBS Big Sky opponent.

It was also the first win as a head coach for Jonathan Smith, though it continued a long track record of success as a player, assistant coach, and opposing head coach, of Smith being very successful at Reser.

Easily the biggest concerns coming out of the win were injuries to 2 key offensive players, first running back Artavis Pierce’s elbow, and then wide receiver Trevon Bradford’s shoulder, that sidelined the Beavers’ stars in the second quarter. Both had their arms in slings, with ample ice applied, in the second half. The status of both for next week’s game at Nevada, and possibly longer, are unknown, subject to treatment and further assessment by team doctors.

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Buckeyes Obliterate Beavers

Ohio State obliterated Oregon State in the season opener. Despite playing without head coach Urban Meyer, who is serving a suspension for the debacle surrounding his former assistant coach, and several defensive breakdowns of their own, the Buckeyes rolled almost unchallenged for 721 yards, and a 77-31 win, easily covering a nearly 40 point spread despite the Beavers hitting several huge plays of their own.

Oregon State actually got off to a good start, with a good opening drive. Unfortunately, it ended with a turnover, after the first of several poor long snaps, and starting quarterback Jake Luton, who was hit hard on the game’s 1st play, left the game after the turnover with a concussion.

To beat any team remotely as good as 5th ranked Ohio State, a team has to play a clean game. Instead, Oregon State followed the turnover with a facemask penalty, and then a blown coverage, which produced a short field for Ohio State, and a Buckeye touchdown not 4 minutes into the game.

Connor Blount took over for the injured Luton, and connected with Trevon Bradford, above, for a 49 touchdown pass to tie the game. Both teams were burned early by soft safety play, not unusual for the beginning of the first game against an opponent you don’t know.

That was the extent of the game being competitive however, as the Buckeyes easily gashed the Beaver defenses for the go-ahead touchdown, the first of 3 touchdown runs Ohio State’s Mike Weber Jr. would record, on his way to being the player of the game. Weber would record a game high 3 touchdowns and a game high 186 yards, on a game high 20 carries.

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