We’re past the midway point of the 2016 season, so we thought it would fun to recognize the Beavers’ top performers and plays so far. Without further ado, here are our mid-season winners.
Offensive MVP: Victor Bolden
The senior receiver has been one of the lone bright spots for the OSU offense so far. Bolden’s the really the only playmaker the Beavers have, as he’s made big plays on offense and special teams. Surprisingly, he has been more dangerous running the ball, as he has 297 yards rushing and two touchdowns, compared to 255 yards receiving and a TD. He’s the Beavers’ leading receiver and second-leading rusher.
Defensive MVP: Treston Decoud
Decoud is another senior that has stepped up big for the Beavers. He has used his size (6-3, 208 pounds) and athleticism to shut down some of the top WRs in the conference this season, namely Cal’s Chad Hansen who only four catches for 17 yards against OSU. DeCoud also has emerged as a good mentor for younger CBs such as Xavier Crawford and Dwayne Williams.
Unsung MVP: Caleb Saulo
Quick, without looking it up, who leads the Beavers in tackles? If you guessed senior linebacker and team captain Caleb Saulo, props! Quietly, he has amassed 60 tackles, four for loss, two sacks, and an interception. Bet you didn’t know he ranks third in the Pac-12 in tackles. At this rate, he could put up one of the top stat lines in a season for an OSU linebacker, no small feat considering OSU’s history at LB.
Top Newcomer: Artavis Pierce
While several true freshmen have been forced into playing time due to injuries, Pierce was impressive from the get-go in fall camp and worked his way up to second-string earlier this season. With Ryan Nall dealing with off and on injuries, Pierce has filled in admirably, with 262 yards and two TDs, while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Clearly, he has a bright future.
This one was no-brainer. The OSU secondary has been legit most of the season. Prior to the Washington game, the Beavers ranked second in the Pac-12 in Pass Defense, allowing 179.5 passing yards per game, and were third in pass defense efficiency at 101.8 yards. And while UW QB Jake Browning threw three first half TDs, he finished the day only completing 50 percent of his passes.
Top Play: Darell Garretson’s Game-winning TD in OT
To say this year didn’t go as hoped for Darell Garretson is understatement. After his solid debut in the season opener, he struggled in the passing game — and is now out for the season after suffering a foot injury. But his 16-yard run in overtime not only helped the Beavers upset California, but also gave Gary Andersen his first Pac-12 win. It was the easy choice for top play of the first half.
Biggest Surprise: OSU’s Place in the Pac-12 North
While the Beavers have made strides this season, the program still has a long ways to go before it’ll be contending for the Pac-12 North title, much less the conference championship. But who could’ve guessed that OSU, picked to finish last, wouldn’t be last at the halfway mark? Instead, much to Beaver Nation’s delight, it’s the Ducks who are in the cellar. A lot can change, so let’s enjoy it while we can!
Blitzers, who would win your mid-season awards?null