Oregon State actually produced some offense, at least for the first half. Jake Luton threw for over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Jemar Jefferson, above, had another game of over 100 rushing yards, leading the Beavers to more than 400 yards of offense.
And they still got steamrolled by 31 points by an injury riddled Stanford team that was coming off having lost 4 of their last 5 games. Also one that called off the dogs early and played nearly everyone in the stadium that had a red shirt. Players who didn’t see action against FCS Cal-Davis saw extended minutes. It was the only reason Oregon State held Stanford under 600 yards, and was only beaten 48-17.
The offensive barrage by the Cardinal was so large, 558 yards by the end of the third quarter, the numbers surpassed anything Stanford had done offensively against Oregon State since John Elway was their quarterback, 36 years ago. And that includes several times when Oregon State fielded a completely non-competitive team against them, when it wasn’t as statistically lopsided as this one was.
Oregon State has almost no players on the defensive side of the ball capable of playing at the Power-5 level, and no one that could even hope to match up with Stanford’s massive Colby Parkinson, below, who was Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello’s go to target for 4 touchdowns.
And having allowed any number of ordinary backs to have career nights, that Bryce Love ran for 90 yards and a touchdown before taking the second half of the night off also wasn’t a surprise to anyone.
But three of Stanford’s touchdowns came off of seriously blown defensive assignments, and a fourth was set up by another one, all of the type that simply can’t be allowed to occur, because they left Oregon State in a position where no personnel of any capability could have any chance to make a play.
Worse, Oregon State continued a pattern of not coming out of the dressing room for either half prepared to play defense.
Tonight, Stanford marched 75 yards in only 5 plays on the first series of the game, the last 28 on Love’s touchdown run, above.
Luton answered 4 minutes later with a 63 yard touchdown throw to a streaking Trevon Bradford, above, to tie the game at 7 apiece.
But Costello proceeded to connect with Parkinson for 4 touchdowns to take a 34-7 lead before the middle of the second quarter.
Luton, above, and the Beavers responded with a 13 play drive capped by a 7 yard touchdown pass to Noah Togiai, and cut the deficit to 17 points by halftime when after an interception by Shemar Smith, Luton found Bradford for a 27 yard reception that set up a 40 yard Jordan Choukair field goal as time ran out on the first half.
Oregon State’s second half opening drive that could have made it a 10 point game stalled after some curious play calls, and Stanford took over on their own 28 yard line.
The Cardinal ran Love twice, the second one for 18 yards into Beaver territory, and then Cameron Scarlet twice, the second one, above, for 41 yards and a touchdown, against an Oregon State defense that seemed totally unprepared for the prospect of Stanford running the ball at and over them.
The touchdown made it 41-17, and it was garbage time not 5 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.
“Not our best effort,” Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith said. “That locker room is pretty disappointed right now.”
The same could be said of the mood of the Oregon State faithful that made the trek to the farm.
After one of their better overall defensive efforts in last week’s loss to USC, the challenge of the week for the Oregon State coaching staff was to at least continue to play respectable defense in support of an offense that has been productive at times, especially since Luton took over at quarterback midway in the Colorado game. They failed utterly.
The problems weren’t confined to the defense either, as yet another field goal was missed, at a time when it still might have had some bearing on the game. And multiple offensive possessions fizzled when Luton was left without a viable target when at least one player in the route tree (or should have been) clearly did not know the play call, or where they were supposed to go.
Stanford improved to 6-4, and 4-3 in the Pac-12, and became bowl eligible for the 10th year in a row. Oregon State fell to 2-8, and 1-6 in conference, and was already bowl ineligible for the 5th year in a row, and 7th time in 9 years.
The Cardinal have now beaten the Beavers 9 years in a row, and 10 of the last 11, and won 6 in a row in Palo Alto.
Oregon State next faces Washington in Seattle. The Huskies have beat the Beavers 6 years in a row, the last 5 all in blowouts. How Oregon State avoids another embarrassment is not at all apparent.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)