What We Learned: 5 takeaways from Minnesota

Oh, so close. The Beavers battled and came up just short against Minnesota. I had predicted a score of 31-17 Minnesota, so the Beavers fared better than expected. That said, I think it’s fair to wonder how OSU will do against more elite competition. Was it just me, or did the Golden Gophers seem underwhelming? Here are five things we can take away from the game.

1. Nall is a legit No. 1

Not only did Ryan Nall lead the Beavers in rushing, but he caught a game-high eight catches for 80 yards. He ran tough and displayed surprising quickness on screen passes — putting away any doubts that he can be a marquee back. It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to find the end zone for his efforts. Once the offense gets completely going, watch out.

2. Surprise! The OSU defense …

Despite the loss, the Beavers looked pretty solid defensively — especially in the first half. Remember, Minnesota started with great field position on two of the scoring drives due to turnovers. The defense was stingy against the run early on, holding the Golden Gophers to 29 yards of offense in the first quarter. As the rotation becomes more solid, maybe they can shine.

3. Game-manager Garretson

When he had time to set up and throw, Darell Garretson looked good. His first TD to Noah Togiai was well placed to where only Togiai could make the catch. Garretson finished 25-of-40 passing for 228 yards and three TDs. He only averaged about 6 yards per completion, but at this point the Beavers just need someone who can move the ball. His TD to Victor Bolden was fantastic, though.

4. Work-in-Progress O-Line

Garretson was sacked three times, which isn’t horrible, but on two of them, the manner in which he was sacked was cringe-worthy — because the defender got through seemingly untouched and blasted him, leading to fumbles. And other times it seemed like Garretson was on his back. This unit is already thin, so it has to stay healthy and continue to improve. Is that a tall order? 

5. Seth Collins will do just fine at WR

Believe it or not, but Seth Collins looked like a natural at WR for the Beavers. In fact, he was their second-leading receiver, grabbing five balls for 57 yards. More impressively, he seemed to get the best separation of all the WRs. He might just be a quick study. Overall, he will be a playmaker, as Garretson seems to target him often. It will be interesting to see how he progresses. 

X-Factor Recap

Individual: Ryan Nall.
Not much to say here, as mentioned earlier, he had a good all-around game. Plus, he averaged 5.5 yards a carry. He did just about everything you could’ve asked of him. In fact, it was frustrating he got only 13 carries. He needs to be a 15+ carry back, at the very least.  

Position group: Defensive line.

It was a game of quarters for the OSU defense. They held Minnesota scoreless in the first and third quarters, but allowed 17 and 13 points in the second and fourth quarters. And while the d-line was very good against the run in the first half, Rodney Smith finished with 127 yards and two TDs for Minnesota. Overall, Minnesota finished with a 3.2 yards per carry average. On the flip side, the Beavers had no sacks and only two tackles for loss. Verdict: Mixed Bag. 

What were your key observations? Jump inside The Lodge to join the discussion.

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