Corvallis, Ore. – The Oregon State Beavers played host to the Portland State Vikings on Saturday, and for much of the game it was hard to tell which team was from the FBS and which team was from the FCS. Were the Vikings playing that good, or were the Beavers playing that bad? It didn’t really matter. In the end, the scoreboard said it was a win for the Beavers, but it sure didn’t feel like it.
Portland State wasted little time showing Beaver Nation that they come to play. Just a minute into the game the Viking found the end zone, and held the 6-0 lead following a missed PAT.
OSU would answer back, and would take a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime, but there was little doubt that Portland State had dominated the half. In fact, if not for some poor ball control and unforced fumbles, the Vikings may have had a two score lead at halftime.
Oregon State looked better in the second half, but it still felt like the Vikings were the better team. PSU tore the Beavers apart on the ground, rushing for nearly 300 yards, to go with 224 through the air.
Portland State had more first downs, more rushing yards, more passing yards, fewer punts, and held the ball longer than the Beavers, but none of those stats matter. The only one that means anything is the final score, and on Saturday it was just about the only stat in favor of Oregon State.
Following the tough loss against Colorado State, Beaver Nation was still semi-optimistic. The loss felt more like a bad speed bump to start the season, rather than a sign of things to come. Following the struggle against the Vikings, all optimism is lost.
Starting running back Ryan Nall said in his post press conference, “a win is a win.” I find it hard to believe he truly feels that way.
The offense is not running the ball nearly as well as they thought. Nall, a pre-season All-Pac-12-Conference selection managed just 59-yards on 16 carries. The much hyped Thomas Tyner: Just 10-yards and two carries. Overall, the team had 154-yards on 32 carries. Not the offensive running machine we thought we would see this fall.
But the offense is the least of the worries for the Beavers. If they hope to beat teams in the Pac-12 they have got to fix their issues on defense. For two straight weeks the Beavers have let teams run on them at will. Colorado State had 191-yards and three touchdowns against the Beavers. The following week against Colorado they managed just 88-yards and no scores.
How about the Vikings? They had just 86-yards rushing and no scores last week against BYU. This week they had 291-yards and three touchdowns. If mediocre rush offenses look unstoppable against the Beavers, just imagine what good rushing teams like Stanford, Oregon, Washington, or USC will do to the Beavers? On second thought, if you’re a Beaver fan, don’t imagine that. It is the things nightmares are made of.
Year three was supposed to be the big leap for Gary Andersen and company. It was supposed to be the year Oregon State finally got over the hump and ended their streak of seasons without a bowl game. It was supposed to be the start of something big. Instead, it feels like the same old song and dance.
As coach Andersen said in this post game press conference, “we’re definitely a work in progress.” Hopefully we eventually get to see it.