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.
Another face mask penalty against Oregon State, and another unpressured pass to an uncovered receiver for another Ohio St td, and a 21-7 lead, followed.
Ohio State had another major miscue though, and fumbled a punt, which gave Oregon State a great opportunity in Buckeye territory, but the Beavers couldn’t move the ball, and Jordan Ckoukair missed the field goal opportunity.
An untouched 49 yard touchdown run by Weber made it 28-7 Buckeyes 2 1/2 minutes into the 2nd quarter, and another Ohio State drive mets no resistance, and it was 35-7 not half way through the 2nd quarter. The only intrigue left was whether Ohio State will cover the 38+ point spread by halftime.
Things only got worse for the Beavers when Blount was sacked and fumbled in the end zone, and Nick Bosa gots the td to put the Buckeyes up 42-7.
Oregon State, playing to manage anything positive, got a jump pass to Isaiah Hodgins, and
an impressive 31 yard run by Jermar Jefferson, which sets up a touchdown pass to Trevon Bradford that made it 42-14 19 seconds before halftime.
The halftime stats showed Ohio State already with 314 yards, 169 passing, and 145 rushing, while Oregon State had 190, 194 passing, and -4 rushing, due to -65 on sacks and bad snaps and turnovers. The Beavers actually had 61 actual rushing yards when the mistakes on pass plays were removed. Bradford has 6 catches for 104 yards and 2 tds in the first half. Blount completed 12 of 19 passes, for 169 yards and both of the 2 tds.
A bizarre, 80 minute halftime ensued, extended by a passing thunderstorm, and deluge, which forced a temporary evacuation of the stadium, no small accomplishment with 102,169 on hand.
Only the offenses initially returned, and Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin broke off a 75 yard touchdown run on the 1st play of the 2nd half, putting the Buckeyes up 49-14.
Oregon State’s Artavis Pierce, above, then went 80 yards for a touchdown on the Beavers first play.
Another Ohio State touchdown run against no resistance made it 56-21 Buckeyes, and Ohio St had over 500 yards of total offense not 4 minutes into the 2nd half.
But then Pierce broke a tackle and romped 78 yards for another Oregon State score. Pierce would finish with 168 yards on 11 carries.
About the only defensive highlight of the game for Oregon State came when Shawn Wilson intercepted a pass on the Beaver 2 yard line, and followed with a 33 yard return, at which point he fumbled, but Kaleb Hayes grabbed the ball out of the air and took it 46 yards further, for a 79 yard net combined return.
Oregpn State couldn’t punch the ball in though, and Choukair connected on a 23 yard field goal with still 5:25 to go in the 3rd quarter. But that would be the end of Oregon State’s scoring.
After a productive first half by Blount, Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith elected to play Jack Colletto at QB the entire second half, and though that added a read/run option to the Beaver offense, it also made the offense totally one dimensional. Colletto connected on only 1 of 4 passes, for just 2 yards. Blount was apparently healthy,, thought there was some uncertainty about a shoulder issue, and why Smith did this was unclear, unless he considered the game lost, and wanted to get an extended look at both of the backup quarterbacks.
After Oregon State had pulled within 25 points, Ohio State drove relentlessly, and had a first and goal as the 3rd quarter ended, and 2 plays into the 4th quarter, Mike Weber’s 3rd touchdown made it 63-31 Buckeyes.
Another Ohio State touchdown march made it 70-31, as the Buckeyes reached 650 yards of total offense with 9/12 minutes still to go.
Ohio St later went for it on 4th and 1, and Master Teague went 33 yards for the touchdown that produced the 77-31 final score before any more thunderstorms hit.
The 77 points, the most Oregon State has ever given up in a game, came followed 69 allowed in the Beavers’ last outing, in the Civil War, arguably the worst consecutive defensive efforts in program history. It was the 11th loss in a row for Oregon State, 12th consecutive loss against FBS opponents. and 20th loss in a row on the road.
Bradford finished with 104 yards, and the 2 scores, on 6 catches. Despite the first half massive yard losses in the rushing game on sacks, and no passing game in the second half, Oregon State finished with an incredibly balanced 392 yards, split exactly evenly, 196 passing and 196 rushing.
If there is any positive to take from the defensive effort, its that the defense was much sounder than at any point during the Gary Anderson era, relatively free of unsound alignments and mass confusion. The bad news is the defensive front still cannot get any penetration, and as a result, can’t disrupt the rush or put any pressure on the opponent’s passing game, and the secondary got out sized and out run.
Luton’s condition post concussion will bear monitoring, and Smith, and everyone else, should have learned that if Luton can’t go, it should be Blount at quarterback. An offense with no passing threat won’t work for any extended period.
Bradford had a good first half, and Pierce a good second half, but there was little else to highlight about Oregon State’s performance beyond the fact that they didn’t quit, despite the fact that they were clearly in way over their head.
When the Ohio State game was signed with no return consideration, it was a mistake by the Oregon State athletic administration, the $1.7m paycheck not withstanding. Not backing out of the game was a mistake as well, and the result was the program being embarrassed on national tv, storm delay and subsequent switch off of over the air carriage (thankfully) not withstanding.
Other than Luton, most of the banging up that the Beavers suffered appeared relatively minor, as Isaac Garcia, Andrzej Hughes-Murray, Shawn Wilson, and Isaiah Tufanga all returned to action after various incidents.
The Beavers return to Reser next Saturday evening, for their home opener against FCS Southern Utah, the reining Big Sky Conference champions. Even an FCS opponent will be a challenge for an offense that has to score on nearly every possession, because of a defense that currently lacks the personnel to prevent a score on hardly any possession.
(Twitpics of&by OSU at OSU)