The first career start for quarterback Chance Nolan was a bit of a rollercoaster.
He took his first Division I snap last weekend, coming in for the injured Tristan Gebbia to score the eventual game-winning touchdown vs the rival Oregon Ducks.
One snap. One rush. One touchdown. A pretty solid way to start a career.
With Gebbia out for Saturday's game vs Utah, Nolan was handed the keys to the car for his first start with the Beavers. Unfortunately, it wasn't a smooth ride.
Nolan's first pass resulted in an interception, and he continually over and underthrew receivers. He looked a little out of sorts, something he admitted to after the game.
"I think I was, maybe, just a little anxious. I was kinda leading my receivers a little too far. I left one high to my tight end early in the game. That was a big third down we shoulda had back."
But that was the start of the game. As the night moved along Nolan started to slow down and control the offense. He led two late scoring drives to make it a one-score game, including a touchdown pass that, simply put, was incredible.
"For his first start, coming over here and playing this defense, I knew that this was gonna be a good challenge," said head coach Jonathan Smith. "I do think he continued to get into the flow of the game. He's gotta be more accurate at times. I think he would tell you that himself. But, shoot, he played well enough to keep us in the game."
That he did.
Nolan put the Beavers in a position to have a chance in the final minutes, leading what could have been the game-winning drive in the final moments.
Nolan had a chance, but couldn't complete the storybook ending. The Beavers failed to convert on a crucial fourth down, giving Utah the ball to ice the game.
The effort was valiant, but Nolan felt he could have done more. "I think personally I left a lot of stuff on the field, just going through and looking at it. We'll go watch the film and study so I can see everything. I learn from my mistakes."
The mistakes were acceptable, to be honest.
Nolan didn't have Jermar Jefferson, the best running back in the conference, to hand the ball off to. Nor did he truly have his backup BJ Baylor, after he left the game early with a shoulder injury. He even lost Champ Flemmings, who has been a key part of the passing game this season.
Nolan didn't have all the weapons at his disposal, but still had Oregon State fighting for a victory.
Earlier this week Coach Smith said that Gebbia's injury could keep him out for the season. If that's the case, Nolan will get a chance to build on this performance next weekend when the Beavers play host to Stanford.
It shouldn't take him three quarters to shake out the Butterflies against the Cardinal. That's what this game was for. Nolan just needs to take the game tape, watch it, learn from it, and come out that much better when his feet hit the Reser Stadium turf next Saturday.