Oregon State won a November game to remember Saturday night. Also one that mattered to all concerned. That hasn’t happened in almost exactly 5 years, coming 1 night after the freezer bowl win over the same Arizona State team that left Reser Stadium after a series of unexpected game events then as well.
When Jake Luton knelled down to end the game, the Beavers led the Darkness Devils 35-34. Shortly thereafter, an assortment of students and family members spilled onto the field, and the band played on.
It came after over 3 hours of offensive fireworks and fizzles, both of which have been repeated story lines for both Oregon State and Arizona State all season. It came after some brilliant defense by both teams, but also numerous breakdowns. Also a recurring theme in both Corvallis and Tempe. It came after some questionable officiating. A standard across the conference for years.
It also came after some bold and aggressive decisions by both head coaches late in the game, one of which worked, albeit aided by both a defensive mistake and the last of a long line of officiating surprises. It was another success story by a second year coach who has been right more often than not when rolling the dice.
And one which didn’t work, something of a surprise from an experienced coach who has had a considerable amount of success late in games in his current 2 year stint by making good calls, not one that was highly likely to lead to losing, when an alternative that likely would have led to overtime, and more, maybe much more, 50-50 football, was available.
“But its football.”
So said senior Oregon State safety Jalen Moore in analysis of both Arizona State Coach Herm Edwards’ decision to go for 2 points, and the lead, after the Devils had pulled within 1 point on Brandon Aiyuk’s 2nd touchdown catch of the game with 1:40 to go, and Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith’s decision to pull punter Daniel Rodriguez off the field, and have Luton try to pick up a win sealing first down with a 4th down pass.