Oregon State did what they wanted and needed to do Saturday; overwhelm Idaho 42-0. The Beavers scored touchdowns on their first 4 drives, and 6 of 7, the only exception coming when the first half ran out, and defensively, not only shut out the Vandals, they held them to under 200 total yards, and only gave up 4 plays of 10 yards or more. Oregon State also snagged 2 interceptions, and turned over Idaho on 4th down 4 times.
Idaho isn’t a bad team, as evidenced by the fact that they made Oregon State work for the lopsided win. But the FCS division Vandals from the Big Sky Conference were outmanned, and gradually overwhelmed time and again.
Oregon State only had one play for more than 25 yards, Champ Flemmings’ 30 yard touchdown reception, above, early in the third quarter that opened the lead to open the lead to 35-0. And the Beavers only had 4 plays of more than 20 yards.
But the efficient Beavers mounted 4 8 play scoring drives, and another that took 9 plays, and finished off the game with another 9 play drive that ate up nearly 6 minutes, and preserved Oregon State’s first shutout win in nearly 13 years, since the win in the 2008 Sun Bowl.
Defensively, the Beavers also recorded a pair of sacks, and 11 tackles for a loss.
Chance Nolan, above, turned in another strong, if relatively brief, performance, completing 14 of 19 passes, 74%, for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns, and added a 25 yard run, before turning the reins over to first Sam Noyer, and then Sam Vidlak, both of whom played productively.
BJ Baylor, lead photo, led the Beavers in rushing, with a game high 69 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 carries. But Trey Lowe was right behind, with 68 yards on 9 carries, and Deshaun Fenwick, below, added 59 yards more, and scored his first touchdown as a Beaver.
“B.J. was solid again,” Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith said. “I do like the idea that we can get multiple guys in the game. Moving forward you’re going to need more than one back and I think we’ve got more than one.”
In all, Oregon State got positive yards from 8 rushers, totaling 248 yards. This without getting anything from Jack Colletto, who was banged up and held out of action.
Distribution was the order of the day in the passing game as well, as was a deliberate focus by Coach Smith on getting more production out of the tight ends, who combined for 7 of the 17 catches of passes from Nolan, Noyer, and Vidlak.
Luke Musgrave, above, had 3 catches, for a game high 40 yards, and Tegan Quitoriano also had 3 catches, including one for the touchdown 1:16 before halftime that made it 28-0 for the Orange guys at the break.
The 3 Beaver quarterbacks combined to find 11 different receivers, though none of them could connect with Anthony Gould, the breakout star of last week’s OSU win over Hawaii. In part because Tyjon Lindsey, who missed last week with an injury, returned to the lineup, and got into the touchdown action with an 18 yard scoring catch, below, to cap the Beavers’ first drive of the game.
“If we keep working we can build some depth, which we’ve done over the last three games,” Smith said.
Depth also was a deal defensively for Oregon State, as 23 players recorded a defensive statistic of some sort. And they did it against an alternating pair of Idaho quarterbacks in Mike Beaudry, who completed 2/3 of his passes, and CJ Jordan, a running threat that was Idaho’s leading rusher, with 55 yards.
“They kept on swinging. They were physical,” Smith said. “It wasn’t an easy offense to defend, with rotating quarterbacks with different skill sets. I thought we covered well and tackled well. Played better on third down, which was a huge help.”
Overall, Oregon State got 78 players into the game.
The win improved Oregon State to 2-1, the first time the Beavers have been above .500 in 6 years, since they started the 2015 season 2-1. Idaho dropped to 1-2 for the season, their only win in their opener against D II Simon Fraser.
What the win means, and whether Oregon State can do better than in 2015, when they proceeded to lose their next 10 in a row, we will find out soon enough, as the Beavers venture to the LA Coliseum, where they haven’t won since 1960, next Saturday night, to take on USC.
The Trojans, in their first game under interim Coach Donte Williams, who replaced Clay Helton who was fired this week, also improved to 2-1 on the season, running off 45 unanswered points after spotting Washington State a 14-0 lead in Pullman.
After that, its Husky week, as Washington comes to Reser for Oregon State’s next home game. The Dawgs downed Arkansas St. 52-3 today.
But for now, it was a great day to be a Beaver (lots of them), even if both the announced ticket distribution, 26.797, and the actual attendance, again easily 10K under that, were both smaller than last week for Hawaii. The forecast for heavy showers during the second half, which proved accurate, and an FCS opponent, more than offset any gains that playing a day game, the only one the Beavers will be involved with in at least the first third of the season.
Cue the Fight Song!
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)