Can Isaiah Hodgins win the third Biletnikoff ​​​​​​​in school history?

Can Isaiah Hodgins win the third Biletnikoff ​​​​​​​in school history?

 

Isaiah Hodgins should terrify opposing defenses. 

The former four-star recruit has always been productive but his junior season has been nearly superhuman. He is second in the country in receptions (51), fourth in receiving yards (709), and tied for second in touchdowns (9). If those statistics somehow don’t impress you, he passes the eye test too: making contested catches, open constantly, and looking dominant in each game played thus far. 

His season has made Beavers fans question if they may have their third Biletnikoff Award winner in school history, an award given to the most outstanding receiver in the country in college football. Hodgins has to be one of the front runners for the award given Pro Football Focus currently ranks him as the nation’s top receiver. Previous Beavers to win the award are Mike Hass (2005) and Brandin Cooks (2013). 

Let’s take a look at where those Beavers were at five games into their respective seasons.

Mike Hass: 47 receptions, 831 yards, 4 touchdowns

Brandin Cooks: 52 receptions, 807 yards, 9 touchdowns

Hodgins is right on pace when it comes to receptions, but is lagging behind these two great seasons in receiving yards. His touchdown total, however, is tied with Cooks and is not only more than Hass through five games but Hodgins has already scored more touchdowns than Hass did that entire season (6). 

The key for Hodgins to win the award would be increasing his receiving yards because both Hass and Cooks led the country in that statistic. Hodgins trails Arkansas State wide receiver Omar Bayless by 134 yards. If we're looking at yards per game, Hodgins trails Bayless by 22.34 yards per game. 

Keep in mind that Bayless plays for a non-Power Five school which greatly lowers his chances of winning the award. Only three of the 24 winners didn’t play for a Power Five school, and coincidentally they won three years in a row in 1995-1997. For the last 22 years, a Power Five player has taken home the award. Of all Power Five players, Hodgins is second in receiving yards per game with 118.16, just .34 yards per game, or two total yards, behind current Power Five leader Sage Surratt of Wake Forest. 

Hodgins currently resides as one of 62 players to be on the Biletnikoff Award official watchlist, but he has to be among the favorites to win it. 

Also on the watchlist is last year’s winner of the Biletnikoff Award and a future first-round pick Jerry Jeudy of Alabama. Jeudy ended last season with 68 receptions, 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns for a team that barely played their starters in second halves. But this season, Hodgins has clearly outpaced him in every category since Jeudy has 38 receptions for 488 yards and 6 touchdowns. The main argument for Jeudy over Hodgins will be the qualities of the teams given their production thus far. 

Although interestingly, the team’s record doesn’t seem to be too large of an indicating factor in the award since Cooks’ team finished 7-6 and Hass’ team finished 5-6 missing a bowl game. As long as Oregon State remains competitive and wins a few more games this season, the quality of Hodgins’ team should not hurt him in the voting, given he has a significant statistical advantage over Jeudy and other receivers from ranked schools. 

When asked about if he’d rather win the Biletnikoff Award or four more games, Hodgins chose four more games. But, if Hodgins can keep up his pace and increase the receiving yardage by catching some long balls, I can easily foresee both a bowl game and a Biletnikoff Award in his future. 

Proud Beaver Parents: I couldn't be more emotional

Proud Beaver Parents: I couldn't be more emotional

It was Senior Day in Corvallis: one last opportunity for the senior class to get a conference win at home.

Regardless of the Beavers' struggles at Reser Stadium this season, their home stadium remains a special place in the hearts of all players. Before the game, all the seniors on the team were honored for the sweat and tears poured into the program. Among them was offensive lineman Blake Brandel who, according to PFF, has been among the best performing tackles in the nation.

But the day isn’t just a celebration of the players, but a celebration of everyone in their lives that supported them to get where they are today. We caught up with some of those proud parents on the field.

Blandel’s father, Scott Brandel, had the following recollection of his son’s experience in Corvallis.

It’s a bittersweet moment right now. When he committed to Oregon State we were looking forward to some great things with Coach Riley and obviously things changed and it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. But couldn’t be prouder of my son and all of these seniors.

But headlining the senior class for the Beavers is starting quarterback and six-year senior Jake Luton. He’s been with the team for three seasons now after being a JUCO transfer. We caught up with his father, Judd Luton, after his son was honored.

It’s amazing. The opportunities Oregon State’s offered us, my family, my son....I couldn’t be more proud, I couldn’t be more emotional. He’s an amazing kid.

You can watch the parents give their emotional answers ahead of the Beavers’ victory against the Sun Devils in the video above.

Instant Analysis: Oregon State sneaks out a win vs. Arizona State

Instant Analysis: Oregon State sneaks out a win vs. Arizona State

The Oregon State Beavers (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12) have won a conference home game for the first time since the 2016 Civil War. On Senior Day against Arizona State (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12), the Beavers defeated the Sun Devils 35-34.

Here are some takeaways from the game:

Luton, the offense, finally put it together at home

In Jake Luton’s final game at Reser Stadium, he finally came away with a win against a conference opponent. The offense used intermediate passes of over 15 yards to stretch the defense so Jermar Jefferson and Artavis Pierce had more room to run. In the second quarter, the Luton to Hodgins connection moved up alone in second place for touchdown connections between quarterback and receiver in school history. However, it wasn't all pretty as the Beavers' offense lost their first fumble of the season in the third quarter. Going into the game, the Beavers’ offense had struggled at home this season but put it all together just in time for Senior Day.

Defense played well enough 

Despite a point total of 34, the Beavers defense played better than that number indicates. Given how well their offense was playing, the defense needed to just slow down the Sun Devils enough to give their offense more opportunities. One of the highlights of the night happened on the last play of the first half when Hamilcar Rashed Jr set the Oregon State record of 13.0 sacks in a single season. The Beavers also forced a fumble deep in Arizona State territory early in the second half which led to a double digit lead. Every possession mattered today and the Beavers defense got just enough stops to pull out the win, including a 2-point conversion stop that would have given ASU the lead with 1:40 to play.

Poor return coverage

While the Beavers defense has played well, special teams have not done them any favors. In the first half alone, the Sun Devils had 95 kickoff return yards and 77 punt return yards, including a 63 yard return for a touchdown by Brandon Aiyuk in the second quarter to tie the game at 21. Many of the returns would have been even larger if not for David Morris who made potential-touchdown saving tackles. The Beavers’ lackluster return coverage has already blown a game this season when they gave up a large return against Stanford in Oregon State’s conference opener to set up a game winning field goal. 

Check back later tonight and throughout tomorrow for more Beavers content following the win!

Oregon State vs Arizona State: 10 Things to Know

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Oregon State vs Arizona State: 10 Things to Know

The Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3 Pac-12) will play their final home game of the season against the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) at 4:30 p.m. PST at Reser Stadium.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game:

HOME OF HORRORS

The Beavers have not defeated an FBS opponent at home since the 2016 Civil War. Despite Oregon State vastly outplaying their expectations this season, their lone victory at Reser Stadium came against FCS-opponent Cal Poly. However, their undefeated record away from Reser in conference play means a bowl game is still in play.

BOWL?

With three games to play, the Beavers need to win two of them to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2013. This Saturday is a must-win game against a team on the downswing (Sun Devils’ three-game losing streak). The following two games for Oregon State will kickoff in Pullman, WA (at Washington State) and Eugene, OR (at Oregon).

LUTON TO HODGINS MOVING UP THE STANDINGS

Jake Luton has connected with Isaiah Hodgins for 17 career touchdowns – tying the duo with Erik Wilhelm-Robb Thomas from the 1980s. Only six touchdown catches separates the current duo from the record-setting pair of Sean Mannion to Brandin Cooks, who have 23 touchdown connections from their playing days. Luton and Hodgins will look to move into second place on Saturday.

HODGINS, BILETNIKOFF?

All season, Isaiah Hodgins has taken his play to a whole new level. He has 928 receiving yards this season, ninth in the nation and second in the Pac-12. In addition, his 12 touchdown catches ranks first in the Pac-12 and tied for third nationally. He is also second in the country with 43 receptions of 10-plus yards. Whenever he’s in the game, the Beavers offense is dangerous.

DYNAMIC BACKFIELD

Running backs Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson have a legitimate chance to be the first two teammates with 2,000-plus career rushing yards at OSU. Pierce only needs 18 yards and Jefferson needs 180. Both should easily be achievable given their success this season running the rock. Even just looking at last season, Jefferson rushed for 254 yards against Arizona State, the second-most ever by a Beaver. No wonder former Beavers running back Steven Jackson was impressed by them.

FRESHMAN CAME TO PLAY

Inside linebacker Omar Speights had 18 tackles last week against Washington, the most by a freshman this season not only for Oregon State, but the nation. He has 51 tackles for the year, first in the Pac-12 and fourth nationally for freshmen. He’s already a difference maker and Beavers nation should be hyped to watch him progress in the future. 

MATCHUP OF SOPHOMORE COACHES

Both teams will be led by coaches in their sophomore seasons at their respective schools. Joanthan Smith returned to Corvallis to take over the program while Herm Edwards joined the college ranks for the first time in a coaching capacity. Both coaches have had their teams playing above expectations since being hired.

THE BEAVERS OFFENSE IS EFFICIENT

The Beavers lead the nation with having only committed three turnovers leading to just seven opponent points. That’s 62 less points off turnovers given up this season than last season. Taking care of the ball has also put the defense in better positions to succeed. 

Also, when the Beavers drive into the redzone, they don’t let drives stall. The team has scored touchdowns on 83.3 percent of the time entering the red zone, third in the nation.

THE DEFENSE TERRORIZES THE BACKFIELD

By far the largest question mark for the Beavers heading into this season was the defense. After a few games, those concerns looked warranted. The defense has only continued to improve. The team leads the conference with 72 tackles-for-loss which also ranks as the 13th most in the nation. Linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. has already tied an Oregon State record with 12 sacks in a season. He’ll look to break the record on Saturday.

SENIOR DAY

Saturday will be the final home game for all the seniors in the program. This class has meant a lot to Oregon State since they needed to buy in when their coach, Gary Andersen resigned, and Jonathan Smith came back. The current Beavers head coach has spoken numerous times about how important this class has been to the upward trajectory of the program.

MORE ON THE BEAVS

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Steven Jackson is a fan of the OSU running backs

Jonathan Smith scouts a "physical" Arizona State

Jonathan Smith scouts a "physical" Arizona State

The Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3 Pac-12) will host the slumping Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) in their final home game of the season. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. (PT) at Reser Stadium.

The Sun Devils are amidst a three-game losing streak but Beavers Coach Jonathan Smith isn’t taking them lightly. Especially the defense.

Unique scheme defensively. You don’t see this week in and week out. It’s a little bit different that way. The... rotation of safeties, the front and the pressure packages they do...they do a great job against the run.

Arizona State comes off a game where they got lit up by USC in the first quarter allowing 287 passing yards and four touchdowns. But the defense settled in and only gave up a field goal the rest of the game. They’ll be ready to play against an efficient Beavers offense on Saturday.

Smith also gave his thoughts on Arizona State’s offense and their running back Eno Benjamin.

I think this back is about as good as there is in the league. I mean, he’s physical, can run...He’s done some really good things.

You can hear his full thoughts on Arizona State in the video above.

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A look ahead to senior day, the last chance for a quality home win

A look ahead to senior day, the last chance for a quality home win

Yes, the Beavers have a home win in 2019. Jake Luton threw four touchdown passes against Cal Poly and Chance Flemings had two touchdown receptions in the 45-7 romp. But lets be straight, this was a win against an FCS team from the Big Sky.

You look at the four other games played at Reser and why they came up on the short end reveals where Oregon State needs to get better moving into the 2020 campaign.

 

OKLAHOMA STATE 52-36

 

This home opener was highly anticipiated and the Beavers responded early. Oregon State led this game after the first quarter 10-7 and the general attitude at this moment was the realization that the Beavers are better. But they received a reality check in the second quarter. The Cowboys reeled off 24 straight points and Oregon State was down by seventeen at intermission and never really had a chance for a victory. Oklahoma State wound up with 555 total yards on offense. Beaver fans were thinking that the defense hasn't improved. Oregon State will have a rematch with OSU on Thursday, September 3rd next sesaon in Stillwater.

 

STANFORD 31-28

 

This game was by far the one that Oregon State let slip away. Down 21-0 in the 3rd quarter the Beavers staged an impressive comeback. Late in the 3rd, Jake Luton found Isaiah Hodgins for an 11-yard TD and it was 21-7. Early in the 4th Quarter, Oregon State got the ball back and marched 95 yards on eight plays with Artavis Pierce scampering 43-yards into the endzone and all of a sudden it was 21-14. But penalties and a trick pass from TE Colby Parkinson to Davis Mills gave the Cardinal a little breathing room at 28-14. Oregon State showed its fans they weren't detered even though key penalties hurt them in that drive by Stanford. Two straight impressive drives by Oregon State tied the score at 28-28 and the locals were thinking OT. However, a poor performance on special teams gave the Ball to Stanford on the 50 yard line and they won the game 31-28. A tough post-game after this one because the comeback was so impressive.

 

UTAH 52-7

 

Beaver fans and the media covering the team were impressed with the 48-31 win over UCLA at the Rose Bowl so there was talk that Oregon State could stay with Utah. But Kyle Whittingham and his players came into Reser and said....sorry but you aren't in our league yet. The Utes defense made life miserable for Jake Luton and the Beaver offense. 169 yards passing and 38 yards rushing for Oregon State. Jake Luton was pretty matter of fact after this one, "I don't think there's anything else we can do, other than to just keep fighting. We're going to come back, and were going to be here tomorrow, back in building, we're going to watch the film, we;re going to be back on the field correcting the stuff and keep fighting." 

It was the worst home loss for Oregon State since 1991 when they lost to Washington 58-6.

 

WASHINGTON 19-7

 

Last week's loss to the Huskies showed us again that a stout defensive line is a tough matchup for Oregon State. While the Beaver defense showed the football world they have made a ton of progress in 2019, the offense has struggled against big, strong defensive lines. (Oklahoma State and Utah are good examples). Just 88 yards passing for Jake Luton and the Beavers find themselves searching for that elusive home FBS win

 

ARIZONA STATE

 

Herm Edwards, the second-year ASU coach, is worried about this game and that is because his defensive line has struggled in 2019. Last week in their 31-26 loss to USC, the Trojans jumped on the Sun Devils for 28 first quarter points. USC QB Kedon Slovis threw for 297 yards and four TD passes in the first quarter! Give credit to the Sun Devils for not folding up the tent and almost came back and won that game losing 31-26. But at his weekly press gathering this week Herm Edwards was adamant about his defensive line:

"I'm not making excuses, I'm just telling you where we're at. We need to find guys who can play. Everyone is looking for that guy. We are all recruiting the same guys who can be difference makers on defense. Look at Utah, they rush four guys but the opposing team QB has to get the ball out quickly because of their talent. You gotta have the guy who can impact the QB." 

So for the Beavers on Senior Day the key may just be the potential troubles ASU has on the D-line. I know Oregon State wants that signature home win on Saturday. OSU's defensive coordinator talked to me about the importance of the game against the Sun Devils:

"I think its a big deal every single year. The guys in this program that have gone through all the blood, sweat and tears will come and play in their home stadium for the last time. I still remember very vividly (his own senior day at North Dakota). It is something that sticks with you the rest of your life. We certainly want to send these guys off on a high note and get them a conference win at home."

The oddsmakers make ASU a slight favorite on Saturday. Let's see if the 16 seniors get that first win over an FBS team at Reser. Kickoff a little after 4:30 pm.

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Ken Simonton shares his favorite bowl game memories

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Ken Simonton shares his favorite bowl game memories

The Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3 Pac-12) are nearing bowl eligibility and as the buzz is starting to spread in Corvallis, we've got a special guest for you on the latest episode of the Talkin' Beavers Podcast.

Oregon State Hall of Famer Ken Simonton joins host Nigel Burton to reflect on his favorite moments as a Beaver, share his recruiting story and how head coach Jonathan Smith can continue the rebuild of Oregon State football. Plus, Nigel looks ahead to the upcoming gridiron battle with Arizona State this Saturday at home in Corvallis.

Listen to the full podcast below:

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Instant Analysis: Sloppy play dooms Beavers in the Phil Knight Invitational

Instant Analysis: Sloppy play dooms Beavers in the Phil Knight Invitational

In the final game of the Phil Knight Invitational, the Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Oregon State Beavers 77-69 at Moda Center. 

The game was close at halftime but the Sooners ran the Beavers out of the building in the second half. An avalanche of threes by Oklahoma and bricks on the other end allowed the Sooners to pull away. A late surge by the Beavers made the score more respectable.

Here are some takeaways from the contest.

Sloppy Start

Both teams came out not ready to play. The Beavers missed multiple shots from inside the paint and the teams were barely in double figures seven minutes into the half. Many of the shots that went in for the Beavers were near the end of the shot clock. Alfred Morris kept the Beavers in the game with 12 first half points. Towards the end of the half both teams started scoring better to make the halftime score 33-32 Oklahoma. 

Tinkle and Thompson need to be better

If the Beavers want to compete for a Pac-12 championship, this duo needs to play better than today. Both of them missed numerous times in the paint which ruined momentum created from solid ball movement. Thompson didn’t even make a field goal until the second half. Tinkle shot 7 for 17 for 18 points and Thompson scored 17 points on 6 for 17 from the field.

Beavers need to communicate better on defense

When the Beavers played defense, there appeared to be little communication between the players. Yes, they’re playing man-to-man, but even when they hedged the screen there appeared to be nothing but silence on the defensive side of the floor. In one stretch of the second half, the Beavers gave up three straight three pointers to go down nine points. The first one was a step back but the other two came off of Oklahoma moving the ball and catching the Beavers out of position. That run gave Oklahoma all the momentum and they proceeded to run the Beavers off the floor.

Here's more from Coach Tinkle:

Ahead of Senior Day, Jonathan Smith is thankful for his seniors

Ahead of Senior Day, Jonathan Smith is thankful for his seniors

The Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3 Pac-12) have three games left remaining in the season, but just one of those will be played at Reser Stadium. Therefore, this week’s game against Arizona State (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) will be Senior Day.

Head coach Jonathan Smith discussed the occasion at his weekly Monday press conference.

I appreciate them a ton because...going through multiple coaches is not easy. It’s unsettling. And they’ve bought in and worked really hard. I think they have improved and they’ve improved this program over the year and a half we’ve been here.

Oregon State’s senior class was all recruited by former Beavers head coach Gary Andersen, who resigned in the midst of a 1-11 season in 2017. Jonathan Smith was hired to take over the program the following offseason, who coincidentally knew how his players were feeling.

Before he coached, Smith was the quarterback at Oregon State and played under both Mike Riley and Dennis Erickson. After Riley left to coach the San Diego Chargers in 1998, Erickson in is second season led the Beavers to one of their most iconic seasons that ended with a 41-9 victory over Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.

You can hear Smith’s full thoughts on Senior Day and the current senior class in the video above.

Steven Jackson is a fan of the OSU RBs

Steven Jackson is a fan of the OSU RBs

Oregon State has had some spectacular running backs throughout the years. Steven Jackson remains near the top of that list.

The former Beaver RB returned to Reser Stadium to watch his alma mater take on the Washigton Huskies on Friday night. When asked about the trio of Jermar Jefferson, Artavis Pierce and BJ Baylor, Jackson had the following to say:

You know that [trio] is amazing. Those guys are effective. They continue to get the job done.

Jackson ran for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns as a Beaver. He was the 24th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams which began his great professional career. 

You can watch his full interview above.