Offensive, finding identity
Following Oregon State’s 37-7 victory over Idaho State, a win that snaps a 10-game losing streak dating back to last season, head coach Gary Andersen eluded to the fact that the offense is still searching for their identity. Similar to the game against Minnesota, the team had difficulty protecting the quarterback. Idaho State was able to get to Darell Garretson four times and provided enough pressure to force Garretson out of the pocket and make throws on the move, or force him pick up yards on the ground. Early on it looked like the offense would wear down the Bengal defense, coming away with three scoring drives to open the game with a 13-0 lead. But in the second half the Beavers only mustered 186 yards of offense, 92 of those yards came on one Victor Bolden fly sweep.
Defense bent, but didn’t break
Idealy in a game like this, you don’t even want to see your defense bend as much as the Oregon State defense did. Idaho State was able to put up 363 yards against the Beaver defense, that is 267 more yards than the Bengals gained against Colorado in their previous game where they only managed 96 yards. While the defense allowed a ton of yards, they were able to force five Bengal turnovers--something OSU failed to do against Minnesota. Outside of the opening play of the second half where they gave up a 75-yard touchdown run, the Beavers dominated the line of scrimmage allowing on 61 yards on 22 carries (with the 75 yard run: 136 yards on 23 carries). Where the defense is going to need to improve in the coming weeks is in the pass game, although they picked off Tanner Gueller four times, there were still a lot of yardage picked up through the air.
Team happy they won, but not satisfied
It was the first time in nearly a year that Oregon State players and coaches had addressed the media following a victory. But as Andersen and a handful of players talked about their 30-point victory over Idaho State, you got the feeling like they had lost a game. There just wasn’t the excitement level one would expect from snapping a 10-game losing streak. To me that’s a good sign. The team knows they can play better than they did on Saturday.
Was this a play down to an opponent game?
This was something I was worried about prior to the game. Maybe it was a combination of Reser Stadium that more resembled the Valley Library, or maybe it was the 16-day layoff between games, or perhaps they saw knew that they had better athletes than Idaho State across the board, but the Beavers did not look as sharp or as into the game as they did against Minnesota. Looking through the box score the teams were pretty even in most of the categories, the only place where the Beavers dominated was in the turnover battle and the final score. Not exactly what you want when you are playing a FCS team coming off of a 2-10 season.
Was this the most underwhelming 30-point victory in recent OSU history?
The only game that I can think of that could top this is the Nicholls State game following the Civil War in 2012 when the Beavers won 77-3. As mentioned above, the players didn’t appear overly thrilled with their performance, but there wasn’t any energy inside of Reser Stadium. Maybe it was because I was sitting on in the press box, but the loudest that the stadium got wasn’t during Bolden’s touchdown or Treston Decoud’s pick-six. It happened to be when it was announced that Mike Riley’s Nebraska team had beaten Oregon.
Will Bolden continue to return punts?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bolden is relieved of his punt return duties moving forward. Last year, his lone punt return went 72 yards to the house against Oregon in the Civil War. Through two games this season Bolden has forced Beaver Nation to collectively hold their breaths when he fields a punt. He muffed his second punt of the year against Idaho State, the team elected to put another return man back to receive punts. With Rahmel Dockery back returning kicks and Trevon Bradford officially burning his redshirt year by playing against Idaho State, It wouldn’t surprise me if Bolden starts seeing fewer punt return opportunities.