What to do at OSU, where the Beavers may not win again this season

What to do at OSU, where the Beavers may not win again this season

The first thing Oregon State must do after that 48-14 loss to Minnesota is probably the hardest thing -- stay the course. Stay together. Things are going to get worse before they get better. And the worst thing that could happen is for the team to split apart.

Things are obviously not going the way the Beavers thought they would and I would expect some players aren't as talented or reliable as the coaching staff thought they'd be. Coach Gary Andersen's mission the rest of the way will be to find players he can depend on -- the ones who won't quit on him. This thing could get real ugly during conference play and the main thing is to keep working. I still believe Andersen will get the job done at OSU -- but nobody ever said it was going to be easy (except the dolts who thought firing Mike Riley would immediately turn the Beavers into conference champions.)

The Beavers have to come together and keep working. Cliche? Of course. But truth. There's no other choice. The conference isn't going to allow them to call their season off or ask for a do-over.

But let me mention one other thing: People are calling out their defense and certainly, there are problems on that side of the ball. But rest assured, there are offensive problems, too.

In today's high-octane version of college football, it's impossible for defenses to hold up very long when the offense isn't moving the football. Oregon State got one first down in the second half Saturday, along with just 67 yards of total offense. For the game, the Beavers -- who thought they had a solid running game this season -- rushed for just 80 yards. That's terrible.

And when your defense is shaky, you cannot afford to have the offense grind to a halt. Their defense played well enough in the first half -- when the offense gave it a chance, The second half looked like a complete defensive surrender -- but I'd make the case that the offensive inefficiency led directly to it.

This is also a team making all sorts of mistakes -- fumbles, interceptions, blown blocking assignments and missed tackles. And fair-catching a punt at the three-yard line set the Beavers up for second-half trouble, too. The mental mistakes must stop.

Those things must be dealt with. The overall goal now is a simple one -- improve with each game.

Winning games is going to likely be a big problem the rest of the season. Losing can quickly become a disease that rots the core of a team.

The Beavers must not let this thing blow up.

Beavers no match for P.J. Fleck and Co.

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Beavers no match for P.J. Fleck and Co.

Oregon State started this game trailing 17-0, but clawed back to make to it just a six point game at halftime, 20-14. However, P.J. Fleck made sure that was the closest the Beavers would get to his Golden Gophers, outscoring OSU in the second half 28-0.  Now the Beavers head on the road to start Pac-12 play. Where do the Beavers go from here?  We will find out next Saturday in Pullman.

FINAL SCORE: Oregon State 14 – Minnesota 48

RAPID REACTION:

Beavers drop season opener to Minnesota, 23-30

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USA TODAY

Beavers drop season opener to Minnesota, 23-30

The Beavers opened the 2016 season in Minnesota on Thursday, losing to the Golden Gophers, 23-30.

The Beavers came in as two touchdown underdogs, yet many experts, myself including, picked Oregon State to pull the upset.

For much of the game, it looked that it may just happen. The Beavers outplayed the Gophers, stopped their offense for large parts of the game, and it looked like the upset was in the works.

However, when it counted the most, Minnesota flexed its muscle and put the hammer down. Oregon State had the 23-17 lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Gophers would score13 unanswered points in the fourth to take the game.

In the end, it was the Beavers own mistakes the did them in. Quarterback Darell Garretson had two keys fumbles, both of which Minnesota would turn into a touchdown. Those 14 points were the difference in this one.

Minnesota held the 17-14 lead at halftime, and in all actuality, only three of those points were really earned. The other 14 were handed to them.

As spirited as the Beavers played, it just wasn’t enough in the end. However, Beaver fan or not, you have to be impressed. Coach Andersen said that the goal this game was to show that this team has improved, and after watching the game, I believe that to be the case.

They showed they can score some points. The defense showed it can make a few stops. The team as a whole showed it has a lot of heart. If they can just put it all together for a full four quarters, then maybe they can win a few games.

A loss is never the way you want to start a season, but for the Beavers, this lose showed that they are headed in the right direction.

Minnesota, a team maybe believe will represent the west division in the Big 10 Title game, really had to earn this one in the end. When Andersen and the Beavers look at the tape of this one, they will know it was a game they could have, and should have won.

Final Score: Beavers 23 –Golden Gophers 30

Standout Beavers:

Ryan Nall was by far the player of the game for OSU. The biggest surprise was why OSU didn’t find ways to get him more involved, or give him the ball in short yardage situations. Nall finished the game with 71 yards on the ground, and 80 through the air. Oregon State's most explosive run plays, and pass plays, came from Ryan Nall. Even more impressive than his stats was his ability to take a hit and keep on running. Rarely did you see a single defender make a tackle. It took multiple defenders to bring him down. In the first year with a true position, Nall has all ready shown he can thrive. It will be very interesting to see how he impacts the game as he continues to improve.

Next Up: Oregon State opens the home slate Saturday, September 17, against Idaho State. Kickoff is set for 2:00P PM at Reser Stadium.

GAME STATS

Oregon State Beavers:

Passing:

-Darell Garretson: 25/40, 228 yards and 3 touchdowns

Rushing:

-Ryan Nall: 13 attempts, 71 yards

Receiving:

-Seth Collins: 5 catches, 57 yards

-Victor Bolden: 5 catches, 32 yards, 1 touchdown

-Ryan Nall: 8 catches, 80 yards

 

Minnesota Golden Gophers:

Passing:

-Mitch Leidner: 13/26, 130 yards

Rushing:

-Mitch Leidner: 13 attempts, 76 yards, 2 touchdowns

-Rodney Smith: 25 attempts, 125 yards, 2 touchdowns

Receiving:

-Tyler Johnson: 3 catches, 31 yards

-Drew Wolitarsky: 4 catches, 53 yards

-Nate Wozniak: 3 catches, 33 yards

VIDEO RECAP:

[LIVE] RECAP: Oregon State Football fights hard, loses season opener to Minnesota Football, 30-23.

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beavers in a close battle with the Gophers

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USA Today

Beavers in a close battle with the Gophers

The 2016 season has officially kicked off for the Oregon State Beavers, as they are in Minnesota taking on the Golden Gophers.

The Beavers have looked good early, but a few key mistakes have been the difference in this one.

Oregon State had an impressive drive midway through the first quarter, highlighted by a 40-yard run by Ryan Nall, and took the early 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter, however, it started to fall apart for the Beavers. Quarterback Darell Garretson took a hard blindside hit and fumbled the ball. The Gophers recovered on the Beavers 29-yard-line, and scored a few plays later.

It wasn’t but a few minutes later that the play repeated itself. Another blindside hit. Another Garretson fumble. Another touchdown for the Gophers.

Minnesota had the 14-7 lead, but the game was still closer than the score. If not for the two turnovers, the Oregon State defense looked like they could have kept Minnesota off the board.

It looked like that score would hold until halftime, but the Beavers put together a late drive to tie it up, before the Gophers answers with a 45-yard field goal to end the half. So here we sit at halftime, Beavers 14 - Gophers 17. 

There is still plenty of time to play in this one, and as the old saying goes, “it's anyone’s ball game.”

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, @csnnw for all the latest updates.

HALFTIME STATS:

Beavers:

Passing:

-Darell Garretson: 14/20, 138 yards and 2 touchdowns

Rushing:

-Ryan Nall: 6 attempts, 56 yards

Receiving:

-Seth Collins: 3 catches, 40 yards

-Victor Bolden: 4 catches, 27 yards, 1 touchdown

-Ryan Nall: 4 catches, 52 yards

 

Gophers:

Passing:

-Mitch Leidner: 6/9 36 yards

Rushing:

-Mitch Leidner: 5 attempts, 25 yards

-Rodney Smith: 16 attempts, 77 yards, 1 touchdown

Receiving:

-Tyler Johnson: 2 catches, 21 yards

Oregon State is going to ambush Minnesota Thursday night

Oregon State is going to ambush Minnesota Thursday night

It's very difficult to predict the outcome of season-opening games in football. So much happens in the off-season, when changes are made to the coaching staff that often leads to changes in the style of play, new players are added and players mature.

Things change.

That's part of the reason, I suppose, that I feel strongly that Oregon State is going to come out of Thursday night's opener at Minnesota with a victory, in spite of the fact that just about all the oddsmakers have them as 13-point underdogs.

The Beavers have new coordinators on both sides of the ball, a lot of new players and a new quarterback. How in the world can anybody know exactly what to expect from this Oregon State team? But there's one thing OSU must do: protect the new quarterback.

Darell Garretson had 11 career starts at quarterback for Utah State and the Beavers believe he's just the right guy to operate their offense. I hope that's true but they better take good care of him. Quarterbacks have never been more important than they are in today's football and in this case, with no proven depth at the position, the Beavers must treat Garretson like a precious commodity.

The last time I saw the Beavers I liked what I saw. They battled Oregon in the Civil War behind 174 yards on 19 carries from Ryan Nall. I liked Nall from the moment I saw him at Central Catholic -- he's a battering ram with stamina. I'm just happy he found his way to the running back position after thoughts about linebacker, tight end and H-back.

I'm saying right now OSU will be ready for opening night. Gary Andersen knows what he's doing. This isn't going to be a great season for the Beavers -- their schedule is too difficult. But I think they've got that thing in Corvallis headed in the right direction.

And that direction is to protect Garretson, get Nall a lot of carries, spread the ball out to an impressive group of receivers and play defense with ferocity. And oh yes, they aren't playing Michigan, they're playing Minnesota.