Tag Archives: jalen moore

Beavers Win A November Game To Remember

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.

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USC Was Just Better Than Oregon State

USC came to Corvallis for the first time in 5 years, and Saturday night, they were just the better team, from the better program, than Oregon State. The result was a 38-21 Trojan win that was closer for much of the game than that.

The game was determined by 4 key sequences, all of which worked out in USC’s favor.

Two of them were memorable. They culminated in long touchdown runs by Aca’Cedric Ware, one for 57 yards on the first play of the second quarter, and another that covered 62 yards early in the fourth quarter, when it had been a 1 score game. Those, and the fact that USC kicker Michael Brown made a long field goal and Oregon State kicker Jordan Choukair missed one that was long enough, but wide, provided the difference in the score.

Both came immediately after Oregon State had lost focus, while USC coach Clay Helton had taken advantage of an extended break to make a shrewd play call. Helton, notably, took over play calling duties from Trojan Offensive Coordinator Tee Martin this week, along with terminating offensive line coach Neil Callaway.

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Final Thoughts On Another Trip To The Farm

Trips to “The Farm”, which is what the Stanford campus is called, the University having been built on founder Leland Stanford’s farm, have been painful to the point of brutal for Beaver fans for nearly a decade, since the beginning of the Jim Harbaugh/David Shaw era.

It really shouldn’t be, as the rebuilt Stanford Stadium is one of the nicer stadiums in the conference (or would be if they would replace their bog of a field with a modern turf), on one of the most picturesque campuses in the country.

The weather today is going to be beautiful, in the 70’s and sunny, as is often the case. And it’s a day game, so the fact that they only put up about half the lights they should have during the rebuild is not an issue today.

Access and egress is a breeze, in total contrast to the berserk mess across the bay in Berkeley (which will probably discourage a fair number of OSU fans from doing the double, and catching the evening game between Washington and California.

But recent trips to Palo Alto have either been painful losses, including what turned out to be blowing a Rose Bowl trip in August, and giving away the game on an unforced fumble in 2012.

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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)

2015 Position Review: Defensive Backs

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share my thoughts on each position’s performance last season, as well  take a look at what next year could look like. With a season like 2015, there will be a lot of changes beyond the usual attrition and reloading.

Defensive Backs:
2015 was a renaissance in some ways of the teams of Beaver past.  While many have whispered about the similarities to the Pettibone era for the offense, the defense was definitely something we as Beaver fans thought would look like those tough Rocky Long defenses of the 90’s at Oregon State.  The secondary was going to be a key factor in the season as the Beavers replaced two NFL draft picks as well as losing four starters to graduation.  In addition, the star of the 2013 recruiting class, Dashon Hunt, was forced to retire due to health concerns.

Who would step up across from senior Larry Scott at defensive back?  How well would freshman standout Justin Strong do in his sophomore year?  Who would step up to take over the other safety position?  What about Nickle looks?  Those were the questions coming into 2015 that much of Beaver Nation were asking.

Unfortunately, because of injuries, attrition and changes in defensive coordinators, those questions will still be on the table for 2016.  That doesn’t mean there were not bright spots for the men in black’s 2016 campaign. Early success in the secondary through the first 4 games had one prominent media personality (me) touting secondary coach Derrick Odum as an assistant coach of the year candidate. Through 4 games, OSU had given up only 4 passes of over 20 yards to a wide receiver. Most teams were finding their success on the ground if they found any at all early in the season.

Then came injuries and attrition that would be the theme of 2015 football campaign.  All four players starting at the beginning of the season missed multiple games and by the time we watched an exciting Civil War in Eugene, our starters comprised two former wide receivers and two walk-ons (one was both!). What started as a strength just couldn’t hold up over a grueling season, as injuries to their own and in other positions made covering receivers a long and arduous process.

Fortunately, the season was not without bright spots.  Treston Decoud and Kendall Hill both showed signs of being great players for the Beavers. While Treston lived up to his billing as a lock down and tough minded corner, Kendall showed tenacity and intelligence, improving as the year went on and learning from mistakes.  In fact, I would not be shocked if Kendall, who also has platooned between defense and offense, is not one of our bright spots in 2016.

In addition, you had Charles Okonkwo and Dwayne Williams make their presence known in 2015, each getting starts and each showing a lot of positive moments among some growing pains.  In a year where injuries and suspensions led to a 57 man roster for their last game, all of these players, as well as Candy Report Award winner Devin Chappell all showed signs that they can be a solid group of corners for the Beavers if they can stay healthy and improve.

At safety, there was a lot more of the same. Injuries, inexperience and players that struggled to find their groove.  Yet players like Brandon Arnold, Gabe Ovgard and Adam Soesman (all sophomores, with Ovgard being a walk-on) were asked to rise to the occasion at safety and all had some bright moments this season.  With sophomore Justin Strong and junior Cyril Noland-Lewis taking over for four year starters and NFL players Tyrequek Zimmerman and Ryan Murphy there was a lot of fear of a big drop off. At times there was to be honest, but for me, much of the issues on defense were found closer to the line of scrimmage.  The secondary is being asked to cover, but no one can do that indefinitely and as the season wore on and more and more new names were being seen out there, it became apparent that the defense was going to just struggle in 2015.

Next Year:
So what can we expect in 2016?  Will the secondary be better?  Will there be a reason for hope that the next season of Beaver football will be more exciting and less of a practice of patience?

In this group, I believe so. While amazing people and players like Naji Patrick and Larry Scott will be moving on, most of the names I have mentioned will be back.  This means that all of that experience over the previous year will provide these players with a blueprint on what they need to improve on.  It is not often that you return 10 players with starting experience in your secondary, but Oregon State does.  You also will have the inclusion of highly touted redshirt freshmen Xavier Crawford and Jay Irvine at corner.  In addition there is the speedster Omar Hicks-Onu and highly coveted recruit Jalen Moore ready to fight for some playing time at safety this year.

Ultimately Oregon State needs to be able to rotate in a lot of players. Teams that can handle up tempo offenses like the ducks, Bears and Cougars need to be able to play fast, efficient and fresh.  There may not be a ton of help again up front this year, but if there is, I expect this group to be impressive. With the addition of Coach Hall, i think our secondary will show the most improvement from year one of the Gary Andersen regime and year two on the defense. And with potentially three more members of the secondary coming in (two of which are four star recruits) there could be more talent in the defensive backfield than we have seen in a long time. Which means good things for the Beavers.

Go Beavs (PRO)