The fact that Oregon State, as a Power 5 program, was reduced to being Facebook video fodder for coverage of their game at Hawaii was a harbinger of things to come Saturday night.
But even that didn’t begin to tell the tale of a game in which the Beavers, after scoring first, and putting up 28 points in the first half, and had twice taken 2 touchdown leads in the 2nd quarter, went scoreless in the second half, and ultimately self-destructed.
An inexplicable decision to try a fake punt deep in their own territory with just over 4 minutes left to go in a tied game resulted in setting the table for Hawaii’s game winning field goal. An inexcusable personal foul to follow sealed the deal, putting the Rainbow Warriors in close enough range that kicker Ryan Meskell, who had already missed 3 field goals, couldn’t hardly miss the 24 yarder that produced the 31-28 win.
That didn’t end the game though, and Oregon State drove into position for a game tieing 52 yard field goal attempt. Which Jordan Choukair hooked wide left, evoking memories of the last time he was put in position to make an important kick against a Mt. West opponent with the game on the line.
The Oregon State offense rolled almost at will in first half, but didn’t react well to Hawaii halftime adjustments, especially to the passing game.
Beaver quarterback Jake Luton threw for 169 yards, 103 in the first half. Isaiah Hodgins had 7 catches for 96 yards. 5 of them, for 82 yards, and the only Oregon State passing score of the game, came before the break.
The Beavers were even better on the ground, as Jemar Jefferson rolled for 183 yards, and a touchdown, on 31 carries. Artavis Pierce added 79, and 2 touchdowns, on 7 carries.
104 of Jefferson’s yards came in the first half, on just 14 of his carries. Pierce only had 1 carry, for 3 yards, in the second half.
Oregon State was severely out coached and out played in the second half.
The Beleagured Beaver defense actually came up with some solid coverages, both in quarters and man-press coverage at times.
And they held Hawaii to only 67 yards on the ground, on 25 carries, a solid effort of only 2.7 yards per carry, with no run for more than 12 yards.
But Rainbow Warrior quarterback Cole McDonald threw for 421 yards, and 4 touchdowns, all to JoJo Ward, who had 10 of the catches, for 189 yards.
McDonald only completed 30 of his 52 throws, but the average yards per catch was 14 yards. 2 of the touchdowns were 29 yarders, and another from 35 yards out. Big plays in the passing game were abundant for Hawaii.
It was Oregon State’s first loss to Hawaii, after 4 straight wins, since the 1999 Oahu Bowl, when head coach Jonathan Smith was the Beavers’ quarterback.
The frustration level of the team boiled over multiple times late in what was something of a chippy affair, with punches thrown, both at the opponents, and even at each other.
Oregon State will have to regroup quickly after their 0-2 start, before their best, and possibly only, chance for a win this season, against FCS Cal-Poly Saturday afternoon.
Hawaii improved to 2-0, and is (sort of) in first place in the Pac-12, even though they aren’t a member of the conference. It’s the first time in 25 years the Rainbow Warriors, who also beat Arizona in their season opener, have beaten 2 Pac-10/12 teams in the same season.