There are a few reasons for optimism following the first game of the Beavers season. However, grabbing a big early season win isn’t one of them. The Beavers came into Fort Collins as underdogs, but many felt they had what it takes to pull the upset.
That looked to be the case early on, as the Beavers were the first team to get on the scoreboard. A big strike through the air from new quarterback Jake Luton to Timmy Hernandez gave OSU the 7-0 early in the first quarter.
For much of the first half it was a well played, back-and-forth matchup, but one arguable call in the final seconds of the first half would permanently shift the momentum in favor of the Rams.
Colorado scored a touchdown to take the 24-17 lead with just 1:19 left in the half. With the clock ticking away Oregon State started to march down the field putting together a near perfect two-minute drill.
With 13 seconds on the clock, and the ball on the CSU 7-yard-line, the Beavers had time for one more play. Luton took the snap, scrambled under pressure, side armed a pass around the defense, and found the outstretched arms of a diving Noah Togiai for the tying score. Or did he?
The ruling on the field was incomplete, but was sent upstairs for video review. It looked as if Togiai had control of the ball, with a knee inbounds, as he fell out of play. Every replay they showed looked like a touchdown. Twitter thought it was a touchdown. Television announcers thought it was a touchdown. I thought it was touchdown. But when the review was finished the referees stayed with their original call of an incomplete pass.
Oregon State settled for a field goal and headed to the locker room trailing 24-20, rather than knotted up at 24.
That play seemed to take the wind out of the Beavers sails, and swung the momentum to the home team. The Rams came out and outscored the Beavers 17-0 in the third quarter and never looked back.
The second half seemed to be nothing but a constant replay of a Beavers turnover followed by a Rams score. Interceptions, fumbles, it didn’t matter. CSU found ways to frustrate the Beavers and grind the Oregon State offense to a halt.
The Beavers looked good early, and behind Ryan Nall they had 125 yards on the ground in the first half. In the second half they managed just 30 rushing yards. That is pretty much a quick way to sum up the game for the Beavers.
But it’s not all negative for the Beavers. Despite the high number of interceptions, Jake Luton showed that for the first time since Sean Mannion was on campus, the Beavers might have some semblance of a passing game. Last season the Beavers averaged just 29.4 passing attempts and 174 yards per game. In the loss to the Rams Luton had 27 pass completions on 47 attempts, for 304 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, he did have three interceptions, but it was still one of the better quarterback performances the Beavers have seen in some time.
The loss leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Beavers fans, but the season is still young. Now all eyes will look to the next opponent: The Portland State Vikings. Anything less than a blowout win for the Beavers and then we may want to sound the horns of concern. As we saw against CSU, the Beavers can shoot themselves in the foot and easily become their own worst enemy. Hopefully next Saturday the Beavers are playing only the Vikings, not the Vikings and themselves.
Final Score in Fort Collins: Colorado State 58 – Oregon State 27
Next Up: The Beavers open up their home schedule against the FCS Portland State Vikings. Kickoff is set for 11:00 AM, Saturday, Sept. 2nd.