Category Archives: The Candy Report Awards

Awards given out each week for The Candy Report

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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The Official Candy Report: Stanford

Sometimes you can watch a game and say “Wow, that is the blueprint for doing ‘x'”.  I remember hearing that when Stanford beat the ducks a few years back and many thought that the Chip Kelly offense had been deciphered by the Cardinal.  And in a way it had been.  What was the answer?

Recruiting better players at every position.

Stanford as a team is disciplined and has sound schemes, But they are not clever or unique schemes. They are schemes based on age old defensive techniques and one other really important ingredient: Winning all the one on one battles.

When OSU played ISU this fall, Idaho State made some good plays and had some bright moments.  They left the game very happy with the results because they competed well against the Beavers. The reason was, they knew they were out-manned at every single position. They knew that if they lined up and tried to take the Beavers on 11 on 11 play after play, they were going to lose and lose big. Which they did. But that game for the Beavers didn’t feel great because ISU had success against us, and the Beavers are just too talented for a team like ISU to have that kind of success.

That was this week.  Stanford was just too talented. Our line couldn’t sustain blocks and the Cardinal were getting pressure rushing 3 and 4 players.  Our receivers had a hard time getting open and our QB had a hard time standing upright.  On defense, we had no answer for their run game.  Their passing was horrendous and they really only passed a few times because most of what they wanted to do on the ground worked.  In fact, had it not been for bad snaps by Stanford’s first year starter at center, the game might never have been as close as it was.

For Beaver Nation fans, we shouldn’t leave that Stanford game thinking we blew it. We should be excited at how well we really did against a team that is finally healthy and is honestly the most talented team in the conference.  Maybe even more so than Washington. This was not a blow out and it was never going to be because Stanford has a terrible offense.  This was also a Stanford defense that has been mired in injuries and young new starters going through growing pains and is now finally healthy.  Look at this injury report for their WSU game. Not a stellar look for a team that was playing a high octane offense.

I left the Stanford game and my recent reviewing of it impressed with some of the play by the Beavers.  I also left a little concerned about some of our position groups and how we are going to respond to some of the injuries and dings from this weekend as we prepare for a road game against equally dinged up UCLA.  All I know is that this game was the litmus test of where we are at in terms of talent and the answer is not quite there.  Good things and bright spots, but we still have a lot of recruiting upgrades to make before we can turn this game around and make a boring  but talented Stanford have to work hard to stay in the game.

THE HALLOWEEN SPICE DROP AWARD OF SUPER GREAT STUFF
I tossed and turned on this one a bit.  I wanted to give this player the Jujifruit Award to be honest, because of their limited time on the team and limited reps in the field.  But Andrzej Hughes-Murray really was just a beast all game and deserves an award for excellence.  His 9 tackles were tied for the lead and his one tackle for a loss was a huge play for the Beavers.  He also was instrumental in a lot of plays that forced Stanford to go away from the goal of the play.  Andrzej is tough enough to take on blockers while being athletic enough to get around them.  He is a part of a nucleus of great players that Andersen and his staff have brought in on the defensive side of the ball. Great work Andrzej!

JUJIFRUIT AWARD OF IMPROVEMENT
This one I am going to give to Blake Brandel.  The Redshirt Freshman right tackle has been been thrown into the fire this year and for the first few weeks, it was hard to see a lot of improvement.  The last three weeks it has been very visible.  Blake has improved on finishing his blocks and his intensity from snap to whistle. As this rebuild continues to take shape, Brandel is one of the cornerstone’s of the future for the Beavers. Great work Blake!

GOOD N PLENTY AWARD OF SUPER CRAPPY THINGS
I waited until today to post this because I didn’t want to post the Candy Report on election day. Not because of ad clicks or media cycles, but because I knew what was going to get this award, no matter what the result of the election.  This award of the worst in football is actually more about the worst in society.  While I know I am setting a precedent of using this light hearted section for political or social reasons, I felt that nothing in football compared to what I was going through in the election.

We have a new president.  Our system of electing presidents resulted in a winner in Trump and a loser who conceded in Clinton.  But what happened around it was the worst.  Not because of the candidates, they are who they are and we put them there.  No, it is because of the way we were with each other.  It was because people lost respect for family because of a barrage of memes on facebook (something I hate yet begrudgingly use so I really see no need to capitalize it because I don’t respect it or my own use of it). It was because my seven year old daughter came home in tears because of what was said to her at school.  It was because I would look at a huge portion of the country that I love and think of them as idiots. Or worse, as un-American.

Today I am not happy and I was never going to be happy, because now I have to live with the feelings I have gained from the election cycle. I have to repair relationships or end them because they are beyond repair. I have to start to love again, because despite what I have seen recently, history has taught me that love always wins.  It’s just that sometimes the battles are very, very bloody.

So this week, the winner of the award for being the worst is me.  Because I let this election not be a discourse of ideas and compromise but instead a reason to hate. As I try and fix that, I hope that I can see others do the thing.  Winning and losing are both things that can be done well or poorly.  My hope and prayer for this country I love is that we do both of them well, because we are going to need each other to make sure that our ideas, dreams and goals don’t get lost in the noise, but instead enhance the message of what America really was meant to be:

A place where dreams come true.

Sorry modern election process, but you get this award because you do everything to destroy what you were meant to preserve.

The Official Candy Report: Washington State

The celebration was immediate and intense. As the Beavers’ last ditch hook and ladder play came to a thudding halt, the Washington State players erupted in joy and ran around in excitement of winning the game. On the other side, the Beavers felt the gut punch of a tough loss sink in.  While many (including Las Vegas) had the Beavers as two score losers in this game Oregon State came out punching, trying to change the narrative of their team and their season.

Up 21 – 0 in the first half off of huge plays by Ryan Nall, Victor Bolden and Marcus McMariyon and a suffocating defensive effort by the Black Curtain (or whatever we want to call this hard hitting, tenacious group of never quitters that make up the Beaver defense) the Beavers felt like they were on the verge of showing us what the process we were respecting was going to look like.

And honestly, despite the finish, I feel like I respect it more now than I did on Saturday at 7:49pm.

A lot of teams that have gone through what the Beavers have would have mailed in that game.  Tough consecutive losses, tons of injuries and a ranked team that is undefeated in conference play (who also crushed them last year) coming to town.  But the Beavers came out tough and fast and made a ton of plays.  Don’t let the slow start to the season by WSU fool you, this is a tough, violent team that has really done a great job on defense against a ton of teams and has scored points on everyone. Stopping them for two halves would have put them in rare territory (meaning the only team to do so in the last two years) so the fact that WSU came back is no slight on the Beavers.

Saturday was, in my opinion, a big indicator that the process is working. I feel like OSU has a team that can win at least 2 of their last four games and maybe could get all four.  They are not the extra bye week for opponents they showed last year, but a team you have to be ready to play and that is a tough out.  I love that.  I love that the Beavers are fighters. I love that they make no excuses and force teams to be ready.  Yes, I want to win, but I also picked this team to win 4 games and my mantra before the season was “I want them to compete.”  They are exceeding my expectations right now, and are still potentially bowl eligible this season.  They have to win out, but the fight I have seen in this team leads me to think that even if I think they are underdogs next week, I will not count them out.

Vegas will take notice too as they have been spread busters all year.

It wasn’t a win and it shouldn’t feel like a win, but that WSU team is the only team left that can challenge UW for the title in the North. They are maybe the 3rd or 4th best team in the whole conference, and they needed a huge effort in the second half to squeak by with a win. I don’t think any of the four teams we have left to play are as good as WSU. I think two of them are not even close.  So the Beavers have a shot and that is better than I thought they would.

And when you are in a rebuild, being surprised by positive play is a big deal!

THE HALLOWEEN SPICE DROP AWARD OF TRIUMPH
I don’t want this to become an offensive only award, and I don’t want to just add the same names, but honestly, this game would have been a blow out had it not been for Victor Bolden Jr. The senior wideout had one of the best catches I have seen all year and his first run for 17 yards that should have been negative 2 was amazing. Bolden has become a legit, all conference play maker. He has become one of the best and most explosive players on a very explosive team.

Well done Mr. Bolden Jr!

THE JUJIFRUIT AWARD OF GETTING BETTER
This award is also easy.  Jalen Moore getting 10 tackles and a blocked extra point put his name on the map of players to be excited about for the future of the Beavers.  Not only did he have a huge game, but he also had a pass break-up and was just all around the field for the Beavers.  When we look at where the team is going, performances by guys like Moore are what give me hope.  He is a player and is making the most of his opportunities against one of the better teams in the conference.

THE GOOD N PLENTY AWARD OF SUCK
There is no game related event that I want to talk about, but rather a life one.  Long time Beaver fans, parents and supporters Mark and Cindy Kuykendall have a grand daughter who has severe food allergies that require she purchases six Epipens twice a year (I believe).   Rather than feel bad for herself like many people could, she is taking control of this and working hard to help people with a similar allergy to herself.  Here is her website for her fundraising efforts through the organizaiton FARE that helps provide treatment and monetary support for people that cannot afford the extremely expensive Epipens and other treatments.

The Kuykendall’s are not the Good N Plenty award winners. Anyone that knows any member of Mark and Mom K’s family know that they will kick the ass of anything that comes their way.  What sucks is that Lauren and her family has to do this and raise this money because of the messed up way our whole healthcare system works.  I am not going to turn this into a political or medical discussion.  All I will say is that there is a young girl doing everything she can to help people that she can empathize with because of her situation.  She is bravely taking on something that people older and more influential should be taking care of.  So the award of suck goes to the adults that have created a scenario where a young girl has to do their work for them.

I encourage anyone of you that read this to donate to Lauren via her website.  She is very close to her goal of $7000 so anything will help.

I know this is a Beaver blog, but this is a Beaver family that I value that have given their sons to our Beaver football program and their time and money to Beaver sports.  They are also the very best type of representative of our program and some of my favorite people.  This blog would be far less grammatically correct if it wasn’t for Mark and I would have far less Lemon based humor in my life.  I felt that the least I could do for them is to help out their Granddaughter with her quest to help those in need.

Go Beavs! (PRO)

The Official Candy Report: Washington

Sometimes, when you start a trip, say to Mexico, you prepare by getting your flights, packing your bags, making sure any details like paper delivery and pet feeding are taken care of and that you have your passport.  The whole time you are prepping this, you tend to have a vision. The vision is the result of all the prep, and that is the place you are going.  Whether it is a resort in Puerto Vallarta or a Pac12 title, the process is the same.  You have a vision of where you want to be that you keep as you tweak and adjust your program to get there.

Washington is that vision.  A fast, aggressive and talented team that plays disciplined and impressive football. Oregon State is in the packing and planning phases of this trip, but they are making strides.  Whereas last year they were still booking their trip and looking at flights, now we are in the meat of the rebuild.  The part where you are taking care of the details, trying to improve your pass rush or get the right personnel on your offense to get the most of it’s nuance is what OSU is in right now.

In looking at the game, you can see a few scenarios that show the tightening needed.  In the first drive of the game for the Beavers, nothing worked.  They were adjusting to the speed and the talent of their opponent. 3 and out, with some really poor execution across the board.  Then in the second drive, while it started out shaky, Marcus McMariyon hit on a few big passes to drive down near the red-zone. Going 5-5 for 50 yards, Marcus guided the team down the field and culminated with an 8 yard Tim Clark run that left the Beavers with a 3rd down and 2 yards to go at the UW 21.  At 14-0, the Beavers could cut the lead to one score or at least get on the board.

Then, they run two plays in a row that have Seth Collins making a throw and in WildCat formation.

This is not a burn on Seth who has done great things this year but kind of a weird call by the coaches. Even if the plays were scripted, they took the ball out of the hot hand (McMariyon) and put them into someone who has thrown two passes all year (both way out of bounds) and who has a 1.9 yard average on 13 carries this year.  That was not the date you took to all the way down field to the 21, so why the switch?  Unfortunately, both plays failed and the Beavers chose to go for it on 4th down.  Rather than use Tim Cook, their monster bicep-ed power runner who had just gauged the Huskies up the middle for 8 yards, they instead called a play for Paul Lucas, the speedy running back/receiver hybrid on an outside play.  Unfortunately for the Beavers, the Husky defender was just as fast and aggressive and pushed Lucas out for no gain.

This felt like a theme on offense.  As the defense got acclimated to what the Huskies were trying to do, the Beaver offense felt like it couldn’t get out of its own way.  The very next drive, while getting 14 yards on 3 Tim Cook carries, they then passed on (on 2nd and 6, which of course we always pass on) and then ended up with a 3rd and 6 which also fell incomplete after a pass break up by the Huskies.

Of course the next two drives the Beavers went for runs on 2nd and long and got 5 yards each time, giving them much more manageable 3rd downs.  They converted one but got cute on the other and didn’t get the 2 yards needed for a first down.

My point is that I think the Beavers are close to being a good team.  Not Elite like UW, but good. Right now the issue with the Beavers is that while they have a pretty great offensive system, capable of huge plays at any time, and a decent offensive line that is working their butts off to make plays, their play calling can be head scratching.  I am not an Offensive Coordinator and I don’t know all they are doing or trying to do.  I could be way off base, and part of play calls is execution, which is out of the coaches hands.  But another part is putting them in position to win. When the Huskies knew the play, it never worked. When they could pin their ears back and run to the ball, it was really difficult for the Beavers.  So for Oregon State, they need to be able to keep teams guessing, keep them horizontal and not vertical.

I felt like that was missing in this game. I am proud of the effort and proud of the progress, but I can see huge leaps this year, with 4-5 winnable games left, every little bit will help.  Sticking with what is working is good. But maybe I am over simplifying it. Maybe, just maybe I should trust them. After all, this year is turning out exactly as I predicted so far, and they are making the gains we all wanted to see.

Maybe I should respect the process a little more.

THE HALLOWEEN SPICE DROP AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
A repeat performer, but I cannot give this award to anyone but Victor Bolden Jr.  He has been one of the MVP’s of this season for the Beavers and he has really elevated his game to be a legitimate Pac12 star.  When Victor was recruited, may called him the next Brandin Cooks. Which was unfair to him.  What we are seeing now is how his hard work has led to a closer comparison to Mr. Cooks. Victor demands attention on every play and is the name that opposing teams are conscious of when they play the Beavers.  His performance against the Huskies was one of the bright spots of the game and had the big play of the game for the Beavers.

JUJIFRUIT AWARD OF IMPROVEMENT
I don’t want to minimize the work of the defense by giving all these awards to the offense. The defense led by Caleb Saulo really did a good job against one of the best offenses in the country. That being said, Tim Cook really needs a shout out. Not only was he a 100 yard rusher against a team that averaged giving up less than 140 yards on the ground per game, but he did so in his first major action of the season.  Despite a few big plays and catches for the Beavers sprinkled throughout the year, Tim has been largely behind Ryan Nall, Art Pierce and Paul Lucas.  But Cook took advantage of his chance to play and ripped off over 5 rushes of 10 yards or more and did a great job in blocking the Huskies.

Great work Tim and this award is well deserved.

THE GOOD ‘N PLENTY AWARD OF SHAME
This award goes to everyone involved in the Friday night abomination between the ducks and Cal. First, the Pac-12 is punching their own nuts putting two weekly game extenders with their quick hit/long night offenses and almost non-existent defenses.  Watching those is like watching a home run derby and thinking that it is a real baseball game.  Bad calls and terrible decisions aside, this game had 0 chance of being under 4 hours. So when do you want to put that game? Well the Pac12 thought that putting that on a 10:30pm Eastern would be a great way to have people talking about how great the game was the next day. Because the game probably would just be getting over in time for Dan Patrick to report on the full overtime live.

For some reason, the Pac-12 is fine with picking non-football type football games with two hot seat coaches with questionable game time decisions to be played when they are the only game on Nationally.  You know, to represent the conference.   That game was the worst. Neither team deserved to win, yet one had to because one team tried losing harder.  Way to go Pac12 and Cal and the ducks.  Way to make football something that I feel I will skip the next time those teams play because I do like football and that, my friends, was not football.

The Official Candy Report: Idaho State

Sometimes the first thing you need to do after a game is sit back and take stock of what really happened.  Here is what happened:

OSU beat someone by 30 points.

Not only did they get a win, but it was their first win in a year.  We can get into a semantics argument about a few days here and there, but it has been a long 300+ days and as someone that sat through 19 of the 28 years of losing (with 5 more that happened while I was alive but too young to know much about) I know the power of a single win.

For many that read this, they may think my reference to the futility streak to be in poor taste. I mean we won 9 games and went to the Alamo bowl just three plus years ago.  But lets let that sink in.  The players we recruited following that game are now Juniors and Seniors and are on their way out of the program. That blip on the radar of a steady slide is getting farther and farther in the rear view mirror.

So am I saying this is what we have to look forward to?  Are w in year three of 25 years of suck?  No.  Hell no!  But we need to understand that it takes 3 years for your average recruiting class to really hit its stride.  Last years class had some great pieces, but by the time the High School ones hit their stride, the JC ones will be gone.  We are looking at a huge rebuild and that was obvious on Saturday. I do not say this to minimize the great effort of the players we are cheering for. I also don’t say that as some sort of “diss” on our coaching staff.  I say that so that we can frame what is going on appropriately.  The coaches and players will think what I have to say is garbage, but they have the direct impact on the program.  Fans are indirect.  We cannot block, tackle, pass, catch or call plays. We cannot recruit or run an off season wight program.  And we shouldn’t.  We are not good at those things and that would be horrendous!

The point is, as fans, we cannot see a win against a terrible team, one that had warts and worries, and think that this is all there is. We have to find a way to frame this season as it really is. The second year of a Gilligan’s Island type mission.  We as fans want 3 hours, but we might have to think more about 3 years. And if we get too critical now, we stand the chance of missing some really inspiring work being done on the field.  We might miss the huge games by Victor Bolden Jr, who has heard the whispers and jeers and yet keeps working his butt off and really showed it against the Bengals. You would miss the efforts of Brandon Arnold, Gavin Andrews, Treston Decoud, Ricky Ortiz or Manase Hungalu as they work tirelessly to leave their mark on a program they love.

We also miss the work being done by our coaches to bring the best talent in they can, to turn around the culture and vision of these players and establish a view of victory in Corvallis.  It is not easy to sell the future, and it gets harder every year.  The reality is these coaches are going to need our patience to get their players in without sacrificing the seasons of the players working their butts off for them now.

So enjoy the win, it has been a while.  Let the nit-picking and gnashing of teeth rest for a week and just be happy for the guys that worked so hard this winter, spring, summer and fall camp.  Give mental high fives to the guys that struggled through the heat of the Bend camp and for the leaders of this team that have to pick them up every week and keep them focused.

In short, be a fan that will allow the future to be made. I have my worries, I have my doubts. I think they are legitimate and time will tell if I am correct or not.  But I also used to be a player once upon a time, and sometimes it is nice, in the grind of a season, to not be told you should have done better when you scored five times as many points as your opponent  Sometimes it is nice to just enjoy a win and see if it can lead to more next week.

The Halloween Spice Drop Award of Excellence:
I feel like it is tough for a senior that has worked hard and given so much to a program to come out in their first game and have a bit of a rough go.  Victor Bolden Jr. had a few rough plays against Minnesota in the opening week loss.  I also have a lot of respect for players that take ownership of that performance and come out and play lights out ball the next week.  Victor did this.  You can say what you want about the competition, but Victor caught tough passes, made great runs and was a solid blocker and route runner all game.  He elevated his game in tangible ways and showed that he is that weapon that OSU has been looking for.  Victor has been one of my favorite players since his first days here and has worked hard to live up to his potential.  I left the ISU game thinking that Victor Bolden was a high level Pac-12 player and that was good to see.

The Jujifruit Award of Improved Play:
Some players really stand out. You could go with Treston Decoud or Ricky Ortiz (especially in his blocking) or any number of players.  But one guy that seemed to be everywhere and whose name was in so many plays was Brandon Arnold.  The Junior Safety was such a force, getting multiple pass defenses, an interception and a stack of tackles.  Arnold also is one of those guys that felt like an after thought when Mike Riley and staff left.  He had a lot of work to do and has been putting in the time in the weight room and film room to be ready to contribute this year.  Against ISU he was all over the place and really showed that he has not only bought into what OSU is trying to do but understands his role.  Great work Brandon!

Good N’ Plenty Award of Shame:
I never thought I would do this, but this weekend was just about perfect.  Beaver win?  Check. duck loss?  Check.  No real ref issues?  Check. I had the great opportunity to watch the game in my company’s (www.cbtnuggets.com) suite for the game.  The suites at Reser are easily comparable to the ones in Autzen and I love the community feel by having the meals out in the common area. I had such a good time watching the game with my wife, her cousin, his daughter and the company owners and some co-workers that it was just a great day.  I rarely have a weekend like that.  For me, and I am sure for some of you, seeing Mike Riley get a win over the ducks was also pretty fun.  Seeing the Pac-12 scare some top teams was a nice touch as well.  Thanks Colorado!

So College Football, you get a break this week. I am sure something happened somewhere that was super sucky, but in my small world, it was the perfect weekend.

 

Go Beavs! (PRO)

The Official Candy Report: Minnesota

As I dust off the ol’ keys and prepare my review of the first game of the 2016 season, i am reminded of a few things:

  1. This is year two of a multi-year rebuild.
  2. The coaches are not letting that crap slide, so we shouldn’t either.

I doubt a single coach or player is sitting there thinking “it is ok if we lose now because in two more years we will dominate!”  They are doing what they can to win and the players are training like winners and coaches trying to coach like winners.

So I am going to blog like a winner too.

I had picked the Beavers to lose this game this year.  I thought they had too far to go to catch a team that was playing pretty well towards the end of last season. I thought a long trip to a hostile place week one with so many new faces and new coaches or coaching duties would hurt the Beavers too much to pull this out.

But I also thought that the coaches and players worked so hard that they would not go silently int the Minnesota night. And I was right. While I think that Minnesota did better than the score indicated, I think the Beavers showed they are fearless and adamant about not being losers this year.  They came to Minnesota to win, and they just about did it!

I can point out the line play (not awesome) or the receivers (see offensive line) and get all negative. I can also point out the secondary (pretty dang good) and the quarterback play (much improved for sure) and get too positive.  But we are of the championship mindset in these parts so here is what I saw:

I saw a team play their butts off, never back down and get very close to winning a game no one gave them a chance to win.  They beat the spread by almost half, making money for the faithful who thought that Vegas cannot measure heart. I saw them play cleanly and take care of some major details that have plagued us in the past.

So while I don’t like the loss, and moral victories are a sham, I can respect that this team followed through with what they were taught and that was to play hard.  No one can look at a guy like Devin Chappell or Manase Hungalu and say those guys didn’t give everything and ring some bells. They looked like the players Andersen has been talking about, and that was great to see.

That effort will get us a win in two weeks. I can almost guarantee it.  Whatever happens in the future, I think that this team did one thing very well.  They were the embodiment of what we had been told. They were hard working, non-quitters. That I can get behind!

Halloween Spice Drops Award of Awesomeness
I gave this away, but honestly, Devin Chappell not only played amazing, but he also was just impressive in how he hit people and played fast and fearless. For a guy that came here from Western Oregon because he knew he was good enough to play at this level, he sure as heck showed it.

Also, his mom works at my favorite food cart in Eugene, so while she didn’t bribe me, I thought I would give a shout out to Lani Moku and their amazing food that can be found daily at The Beergarden!  (Hint, that place is rad and owned/operated by Beavers. I feel no shame in the plug)

JujiFruit Award for Improvement
I almost gave this to Hunaglu because he is amazing.  But he will win it later and I wanted to call out someone that was really, really good. Xavier Crawford was also a stud out there, breaking up a HUGE pass that would have been points for sure had he not.  He also was the hammer on a few Minnesota colored nails throughout the games.  The secondary showed the most to me in this game and they were ready and played hard and with passion.  Xavier and Devin both showed this to me and both deserved awards this week.

Good N Plenty Award of Shame:
I am going to give this award to something dumb that I have seen in college football lately.

It’s absence from February through August

This weekend has been a beautiful array of great football, huge upsets, Alabama flexing their muscles, huge questions about the football hierarchy out there and, of course, the Beavers. While I would have loved a Beaver win, and a duck loss for good measure, I take solace in the fact that football is going, the Beavers are playing hard and competing and I don’t have to hear the endless puke of prognostication that permeates our lives from about June to September.

Polls are shattered, pre-season picks dumped and new heroes arrive every week. It is the best part of the year and I cannot help but be excited about the next few weeks because as i get older, I am a fan of football, not just a team here or there, but of the whole dang game.

So thanks for coming back!  Oh and I mean College Football, not that crazy circus that they call the NFL.  That isn’t even really the same sport.

The Official Candy Report Awards: Stanford

The Halloween Spice Drop Award of Excellence
This was a weird week for me in watching the game.  A lot of players played well and I saw a large attention to detail by certain players.  It was  a tough game against a good team and I thought the Beavers looked prepared and ready to play the game. While he may not have the stats or the glory, one player stood out to me play after play on Friday.  Justin Strong was everywhere and he was definitely taking care of the details.

Early in the game, Justin tipped a pass that was intercepted by Cyril Noland-Lewis.  He had jumped the route so well, that had the ball not been thrown behind the receiver, he would probably have had the pick. Instead he tipped it up and Noland-Lewis came down with it.  Repeatedly #4 on defense was blowing up receivers trying to block and forcing the ball carrier inside by creating a pile on the edge of the play.  He also was seen filling in on blitzes, taking on the full back without a care in the world about his own safety.

If you want to know why I like Justin, look at the 7:15 point of the third quarter of the game Friday.  #94 is the defensive tackle that they put in as full back came running through and Justin sprinted up to the line and took him head on.  He stoned #94 and got in on the tackle.  Those that have seen Mr. Strong will attest that he is not huge, but his heart is and that is why he is getting this award. He plays smart, does the little thing and sacrifices his body to do his job.

Great work Justin Strong and have a great week off, you deserve it!

The Jujifruit Award of Most Improved
This one was easier.  I have not talked about him much this year, but I thought Seth Collins looked better this week against solid competition than he did against Michigan.  He is young and it will take time for him, but plays like his scramble and toss to Storm Barrs-Woods and his long run that unfortunately got called back at the end of the game are the reasons he is in there.  While he has a long way to go, those plays are big time plays that OSU needs to be able to make and Seth is doing a good job of playing within himself.  I think the coaches are also doing a good job making sure he is doing the things he can do well

It is a long season and we are only 1/3 through it, but if Seth can continue to improve, especially on 3rd down, there is a lot of upside to this team and a lot of opportunities.  Remember, he only has two defenses left this season of the same caliber of Stanford and Michigan.  When he gets to WSU, Arizona, Cal and the ducks, there are going to be more opportunities on the ground and through the air.

Good work Seth!

Good N’ Plenty Award of Shame
There are a lot of people that could get this award, which is common. For me, for the first time, I am giving this award to one play. There were lots of shameful plays around college football this weekend.  The fake punt and punt return against the ducks, the fumbled punt by Texas, the final TD by TCU, the delay of game after two time outs in the Jets vs Philadelphia game.

But the worst to me was the official’s spot after Sumner Houston’s 3rd down stop in the Stanford game Friday night.  It was the end of the second quarter and the game was tied at 14.  Stanford had just crossed the 50 yard line and was driving a bit when Sumner Houston single handedly tossed the offensive lineman blocking him, wrapped up the running back and drove him to the ground where he stood.  Not only did said running back not get the required yard of progress they needed for a first down, he didn’t even make it to the line of scrimmage.

The stadium erupted and the defense high fived, only to notice that the ref from the west side of the field was standing a full yard and a half in front of where the runner was actually tackled, while the official from the east side (the one with the clear view) had accurately marked the spot of the ball. In true Pac-12 officiating style, they took the view of the guy with a poor angle who also happened to be wrong and gave the Cardinal a first down.

Luckily for me in mid melt down, the refs blew their whistles before Stanford could take the next snap and wanted to review.  “Thank goodness!” I thought, “now they can get this obvious mistake corrected!” I lied to myself. Imagine my surprise when the decision was upheld. A decision that was literally the worst ever.

But don’t just take my word for it, here is a clip you may like. I pause it when the two officials are out there for effect:

http://theofficialcandyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/worstcall-2015-09-25_web.mov

So boo.  Boo bad refs, boo cowards not wanting to overturn a bad call and boo the Pac-12 for not caring.  In 2007 after another terrible  call, then head of the Pac-10 replay officials Verle Sorgen was quoted as saying “wasn’t that egregious unless you are an Oregon State
fan.” Apparently it is OK to screw the Beavers because no one but us cares.  It does the Pac-12 no good to have us knocking off their sacred golden calves.  I know this is tinfoil hat territory, but for me, the above video and above quote show me that it may not be a conscious decision by the Pac-12 to screw Oregon State, but they definitely don’t care.  Especially when we are playing highly ranked teams like Arizona in 2010 and they have an Arizona alumnus working as replay official.  It is almost as if they are working an Intramural flag football game and just start letting things go (except for bad holding calls) because they want to go home before the parties start.

No offense, but that sucks, so thanks to this play for reminding me that most of the time, Beaver Nation is the only ones who care when we get screwed. Tom Hanson apologized to Oklahoma and suspended the officiating crew when they got jobbed, but we just get told no one cares but us.

Well, I care.  Screw you refs.

Go Beavs – (PRO)

 

 

The Official Candy Report Awards: San Jose State

A day late but a dollar stronger!  My awards are pretty straight forward this week, so here we go:

Halloween Spice Drop Award of Excellence:
Storm Barrs-Woods. There is no way anyone else gets it.  He had a monster game, some huge runs but also a lot of great blocks to spring Collins.  The biggest difference as many in Beaver Nation have mentioned, was his aggressive running style and Roger Craig-esque high knees on contact.  He did a good job protecting the ball and himself, while also delivering blows. The other item I noticed was how well he used his blockers this week. The big run at the start of the second half was not just well blocked, but just a back using his blocks the best he can. One cut and then hit the hole fast and hard before the defense can adjust.

150+ yards on 17 carries is a great day of work for the man!

That is the kind of running we need this week and nothing would make me happier than to be giving this award to Storm next week as well. Great work man!

JujiFruit Award of Improved Performance:
I am going to go a little out of the box here and offer up Manase Hungalu.  Before this week, I would have been hard pressed to remember how to spell his last name. Now, I want to get it tatooed on my arm or face. He was an animal, flying all over the field and showing that awesome mix of speed, size and aggression.  With him and Mageo out there, it is not safe for opposing ball carriers to be out on the field.  11 tackles for Hungalu and one for a loss as the 230 pound missile ran around crushing San Jose State players left and right. It felt a lot more like great Beaver defenses of the past to have a couple of players step up at linebacker, and that is all right with me!

Welcome on board the award train Manase!

Good ‘N Plenty Award of Shame:
I think I am going to go with USC.  Sure, we all know Sark is good for one or two ridiculous losses a year.  We know that he had a rough off season that culminated in a series of unfortunate personal decisions.  We also know that USC as a staff has some issues.  A team that talented, like fellow Week 3 losers Alabama, should never rarely lose at home to anyone.  Especially a team with the flaws that Stanford has.

USC has a ton of talent, but they were unable to get any pressure on Stanford’s inconsistent quarterback Kevin Hogan.  Sloppy penalties took kick return points and big plays off the board, leaving them handicapped.  A boring defense was shredded by Stanford while the abandonment of a successful run game led to them being too far behind to pull it out in the end.  This was USC’s best chance to play in the playoffs since the Pete Carroll days not just because they are talented, but because there are no real other dominant teams out there. They still may be a playoff team when all is said and done, but USC blew a huge opportunity this weekend and it could effect the whole conference come November.

The Official Candy Report Awards: Weber State

Now that the first week is over, here are some much deserved awards in The Official Candy Report style:

The Halloween Spice Drops Award for Excellence:
This is a tough one this week.  I want to give it to Seth Collins for doing such a great job as a true freshman starting his first game ever as a Beaver.  He would be a slam dunk any other week, but to be honest, I have to give this award to Rommel Mageo.  We can talk about the offense, but Mageo, the elder statesman of the linebackers, played with such passion and fire, that I cannot give this to anyone else.  While there were a lot of defensive stand-outs like Justin Strong, Bright Ugwoegbu and Kyle Peko, Rommel was just too good in too many ways.  Whether he was rushing the passer, filling a lane on a run play or knocking down passes, Mageo was a force all game long.

His 11 tackles don’t lie, nor does holding any opponent to under 200 yards (178).  The defense didn’t allow a single point and Rommel was everywhere all game long.  Congratulations Rommel on your first Halloween Spice Drop Award!

The Jujifruit Award of Most Improved Player:
This is an award that is always difficult to give week one.  I can say someone has improved since last year, but that is should be everyone.   Fortunately for me, there was one player that I saw improve in a way that is hard to ignore.  Isaac Seumalo was in a boot all of last year, and was unable to get past it. He had to have a second surgery to fix the first one and was forced to use his redshirt year.  There is no saying what difference having Isaac last year would have made, but there is a quantifiable difference in having him this year.  Isaac graded out as the best offensive lineman in The Candy Report Made Up Lineman Grades, and was the one player that consistently was able to root out his defenders. The world gets a heck of a lot harder this week with Michigan, but Isaac should have some more confidence in his foot and have gotten a lot of the rust kicked off his game this last week.  Of course, if there was rust, it wasn’t super visible.

Great work Isaac, this will probably be your last Jujifruit award as you are on your way up to something special.

Good N’ Plenty Award of Shame and Misery to the game of Football:
Sometimes it is fun to be right.  While it was just week one, Raju and I were saying that there were some suspect teams in the north and that it would be down.  We also thought Cal would be improved on defense and offense.  Looks like we were right, but didn’t realize how right.

There is no reason that two Pac-12 teams, each with more than two top 25 recruiting classes should score exactly 0 offensive touchdowns. Yet Stanford and UW did just that.  Now I know that UW has issues, and honestly, so does Boise State.  Stanford is inexcusable.  All fall long we have listed to the media lie about their explosive offense and all their play makers that an improved Kevin Hogan would be getting the ball too. Instead, what we saw was the same old Hogans’ Heroes, with him making crucial mistakes at terrible times and a pedestrian offense that is so conservative and boring, it cannot even take advantage of four future NFL players on their offensive line.  Defensively, Stanford wasn’t able to dominate with their front four, demanding multiple double teams like in years past.  They had to bring a lot of pressure and that pressure felt easily blocked.

While Stanford’s inability to do anything was a little surprising, what wasn’t surprising was the total pile of garbage that WSU has become.  The Portland State loss is one that we all know can ruin a fan base and ruin a season.   Throw on top of that an injury to their starter, and you have a whole heap of trouble in the Palouse. While I think Oregon State has a ways to go, like the ducks, it is a good year to be down because there are at least three teams that are even farther down than you.  I am not predicting a Stanford win yet, I need to see what happens in Michigan first, but they are susceptible. There is no reason that OSU cannot sweep Washington though.

Thanks Evergreen State and the Tree, for making us right in week one, while also making the north more competitive for the Beavers in year one of the Gary Andersen era. You have won the most shameful award in all of sports for the Pac-12 North.