Tag Archives: Ryan Nall

The Jonathan Smith Era After A Month

The Jonathan Smith era at Oregon State is already a month long. We have seen some progress on staff hiring, though not as much as hoped or expected, and we have not only had the first ever December signing period for recruits, but also some time to digest it.

So far, its been a rather underwhelming experience.

Smith was a popular hire, and given his track record at Washington, Boise State, and really, Montana too, there’s reason to believe he might just pull the Beavers out of their current tailspin / head long dive into the ditch, the likes of which have not been seen since the Jerry Pettibone debacle.

But the events of Smith’s first month back in Corvallis haven’t done anything to warrant optimism that the climb will come quickly, or even in sizable steps.

Easily the most notable event was the hiring of twice former head coach Mike Riley as an assistant head coach, though one without an assignment, as Smith and Riley both are taking the approach that Riley will be in part a mentor, and will pick up whatever assignments Smith’s other assistant coach hires don’t cover, assuming those ever get completed.

The hiring came at Riley’s suggestion, as he contemplated offers to join Chip Kelley at UCLA, and a B1G Ten team.

It could prove to be a good move, given that so far, there is no one else in the program that has any head coaching experience, anywhere, at any level, Smith included.

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Oregon ReWrites Record Book At Oregon State’s Expense

Oregon rewrote the record book in the 121st Civil War in the process of obliterating Oregon State 69-10.

When Royce Freeman ran for his second touchdown of the day to make the score 31-7 not 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter, he passed Oregon State’s Ken Simonton to set a new conference record for rushing touchdowns with 60.

It was part of a Civil War record 35 points scored by a team in a quarter that was part of the a 52 point first half that was a new team record for Oregon and a new Civil War record for most points scored in a half.

That was also the most points scored this year in any half by any CFB team against a CFB opponent.

That set the stage for a game in which Oregon posted the most points ever scored in the Civil War and the largest margin of victory, 59 points, ever in a Civil War.

Oregon executed well on both offense and defense, against an Oregon State defense that routinely was in unsound alignments, regularly failed to address primary coverage responsibilities, repeatedly failed at gap cancellation, and often abandoned back side coverage responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the Beaver offense was again plagued by poor passing, struggled to establish the run, floundered aimlessly with personnel and play calling, and compounded the problem with a foolish special teams call that gave the Ducks the ball at the Beavers’ 19 yard line, which resulted in another Oregon touchdown on the next play. Oregon State also missed a 38 yard field goal, committed numerous turnovers, and drew multiple major penalties, including personal fouls on the opening kickoff of both halves.

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Thoughts On The Civil War And Bigger Issues

The idea that there are bigger issues involving football in the state of Oregn than the Civil War, at least during Civil War week, is an indication of how much the landscape has changed, and how important some of those bigger issues actually are.

Oregon could be concerned with keeping first year head coach Willie Taggart now that the coaching carousel is starting to spin at considerable velocity, and Oregon State is preoccupied with landing their new coach before someone else beats them to their favored recruits. And once the moves start to be made, even ones that won’t involve Oregon State’s preferred candidates will impact them, as each move begets more movement.

The uncertainty around the future leadership of the Oregon State program means there is also uncertainty about the direction and style of the program, and all of that has to be sorted out before the remaining players can make decisions about their future, not to mention potential recruits.

That and the fact that the Ducks are enough better with quarterback Justin Herbert back to go along with Royce Freeman’s drive to start a record book burning party that Oregon is more than a 24 point favorite has essentially killed most of the buzz about the 121st Civil War, at least around Beaver fans.

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Arizona State Explodes Early To Overwhelm Oregon State

Arizona State tends to be an inconsistent team at best, and can be downright mediocre when they can’t control the game. But the Sun Devils are very hard to beat when they score early, and even moreso under Coach Todd Graham when they take a substantial halftime lead. Yet they struggle mightily in the state of Oregon in general, and at Reser in particular, especially late in the season.

Oregon State knew all that, but was unable to do anything about it. The last thing the hapless Beavers could afford to have happen was for the Sun Devils to get off to a good start.

Yet that’s exactly what happened Saturday.

Arizona State took the opening kickoff and marched the length of the field in 4 plays, the last of which was a 23 yard touchdown pass from Manny Wilkins to Kyle Williams.

Oregon State went 3 and punt, and Arizona State again marched the field, going 71 yards in 8 plays, the last one on another touchdown toss by Wilkins, this time to Curtis Hodges.

Just like that, the Sun Devils were up 14-0 not 6 minutes into the game, and before the Beavers were able to run their 4th play of the day.

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Thoughts On The Final Home Game

Oregon State plays their final home game of the season at noon Saturday, against Arizona State. It will be Dad’s Day, Senior Day, Family Weekend, and Armed Forces Appreciation weekend as well. All good things to reflect on and bring the family that is Beaver Nation together.

And there’s even a chance it will end on a happy note, as the Sun Devils have lost the last 5 times they have ventured to Reser, and haven’t won in the state of Oregon in 12 years, since a 42-24 win over Oregon State in September of 2005. After all, the northwest, especially when the trip comes in November, is a relatively inhospitable place when you are used to the endless summer that in the Arizona desert. And generally, Arizona State isn’t a very good road team, having only 1 road win in each of the last 3 seasons. That’s only slightly better than Oregon State!

Hopefully that will result in more filled seats than empty ones in the stadium, though it will be impressive if the place is more than half full.

The last visit was the last big upset win of the Mike Riley era, all the way back in 2014, when the Beavers upset the then 6th ranked Sun Devils 35-27 on a frigid night, with temperatures in the teens at kickoff and falling like a broken icicle.

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Arizona Runs Over Oregon State

Last November, Oregon State beat a beat up Arizona team 42-17 in Corvallis. Going into tonight’s rematch in Tucson, most folks were expecting a similar score, except with the teams reversed.

And that was about what happened, as the ‘Cats literally ran over the Beavers for a 49-28 win, though that did represent the smallest of victories for Oregon State under interim coach Cory Hall, as the line was 22 points, so the Beavers did cover.

That’s about it though, and it was effectively over by halftime. Arizona, led by Heisman hopeful Khalil Tate, set the tone for the evening early, which was one of the ‘Cats literally shredding the Beaver defense.

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Thoughts On The Khalil Tate Phenomena And Oregon State In The Desert

Oregon State takes on Arizona tonight in Tucson. Its a rare (for the Beavers) actually nationally televised game on ESPN2, but the buzz won’t be about the visitors; the relatively large scale attention is entirely about the ‘Cats phenomenal phenome quarterback Khalil Tate.

Tate only took over as Arizona’s QB after Brandon Dawkins was rode into the bench in the ‘Cats first drive of their 5th game of the year at Colorado, and he’s already become a candidate to at least get an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

Tate became the first person ever to be named the PCC/Pac-8/10/12 conference offensive Player of the Week 4 weeks in a row, in a magical October winning streak.

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California Answers All Oregon State Challenges

Oregon State used a mix of creative play-calling early and an afternoon of energetic effort to repeatedly challenge California on a beautiful afternoon in Strawberry Canyon Saturday afternoon. But the Bears promptly and effectively answered every one of the Beavers’ challenges to pull away for a 37-23 win to celebrate Senior Day.

If there was a silver lining from Oregon State’s point of view, California Offensive Coordinator and former Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin’s audition for the Beavers’ head coaching job went very well.


The afternoon started with the surprisingly good turnout of Beaver Nation in Berkeley getting buoyed by a pregame pep rally reminiscent of some of the best of the road trips, and not seen since the early days of the decade, and it immediately translated to the team. Oregon State drove the field with the first possession of the game, and capped the 75 yard march with a double pass, as quarterback Darell Garretson threw backwards to tight end Tuli Wily-Matagi on the right flank, and Wily-Matgi, below, promptly threw all the way back across the field to Ryan Nall, who the Bears had inexplicably turned loose totally.

Nall stopped and waited for the ball, and then turned and trotted in for the touchdown, and a 7-0 Oregon State lead not 4 minutes into the game.

California immediately answered with a 4 minute, 75 yard drive of their own, capped by Patrick Laird’s 12 yard touchdown run to even the score at 7 apiece.

The Bears took the lead for good as it would turnout late in the first quarter, on a 14 yard pass from Ross Bowers to Vic Wharton, above, and extended their advantage to 17-7 on a Matt Anderson 47 yard field goal early in the second quarter. Wharton would finish with a game high 8 catches for a game high 121 yards.

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Punchless Stanford Gut Punches Oregon State

Playing without former Heisman Trophy frontrunner Bryce Love, whom the Cardinal couldn’t get ready for a made for national television opportunity to showcase after he suffered a twisted ankle 12 days ago in their win over Oregon, 20th ranked Stanford was effectively ineffective until the end of the game Thursday night at Reser Stadium.

While that had a lot to do with Love’s absence, combined with Stanford’s offensive line’s inability to generate any push, Cardinal quarterback Keller Chryst mostly showcasing his limitations (Chryst completed only 16 of 33 passes, for only 141 yards), and questionable play calling, it also had a lot to do with an energetic effort by the Oregon State defense.

Stanford played their worst game in several years, and Oregon State played their best game of the season defensively. Bright Ugwoegbu had the best game of his career, and Jonathan Willis was all over the field, and even recorded a sack of Cryst, the only one the Cardinal has allowed in their last 5 games, among his co-game high 10 tackles.

Landry Payne had a game high 7 solo tackles on his way to matching Willis’ 10 total, and Omar Hicks-Onu snared an interception, just the 4th one the Cardinal have collectively chucked up this season.

Stanford was held to just 81 yards rushing, and no one could readily recall the last sub-100 yard ground game by the Cardinal, because it virtually never happens. Their 222 total yards was about half their season average.

And though they lacked any downfield ability to stretch the field, the Beaver offense mounted a ground game that produced 2 touchdowns, and a time of possession advantage of over 5 ½ minutes, another almost unheard of stat when dealing with Stanford.

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Oregon State Faces Tough Job Facing Stanford

Oregon State hits the field tonight for the first time in 12 days, against 20th ranked Stanford. After a surprisingly solid effort in a 36-33 loss to Colorado 5 days after Gary Andersen had resigned, the team and program actually had time to make some adjustments, not just change the mix of plays already in the system. Not that that by itself didn’t take on a distinctly different look against the Buffs.

It should be an interesting evening, if for no other reason than to see what interim coach Cory Hall does with extra preparation time.

There are other reasons to be interested though.

The Cardinal have had a similar length break, which means Bryce Love’s chances for a Heisman may have gotten lost in the shuffle of everything else that happened in the college football world, much of it bad around the conference unless you are in Arizona. But it also means Love, who has had a heavy work load in the first half of the season in piling up a per game rushing average of 198 yards, is rested for a stretch run that might also rekindle interest in him and his Heisman hopes. If he’s too do that, it will come at the expense of the Beavers.

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