The Beavers are leaving Tucson with a .500 record this late into the season for the first time since 2014.
With a 56-38 victory, the Oregon State Beavers (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12) have won their third-consecutive conference road game for the first time since 2013, which is also the last time they played in a bowl game.
For the Arizona Wildcats (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12), this is their fourth-consecutive loss after starting Pac-12 play 2-0.
Here are some instant reactions to the Beavers big win.
JERMAR GIVES THE OFFENSE A BOOST
Despite questions of whether he would redshirt, sophomore running back Jermar Jefferson returned to the lineup on Saturday. He did not start due to Artavis Pierce winning the job in Jefferson’s absence. However, he had himself a game.
Jefferson ended the game with 22 carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns. He had two rushing touchdowns in the first half alone to help the Beavers get a significant halftime lead. Throughout the game when he got the ball, we saw the same player that had Beaver Nation so excited last season. With Pierce and Jefferson splitting the workload, both running backs can go all out when they carry the rock and should be a spark to make the Beavers offense even more dangerous.
DEFENSE PLAYED WELL ENOUGH
A season ago, the Beavers’ defense played a large part in their disappointing season. Going into this season many did not expect much progress on that side of the ball. After their performances against Oklahoma State and Hawai’i to start the season, those concerns look to be warranted. But once conference play began, the defense stepped up.
Even when they couldn’t get off the field today, the Beavers defense did not give up touchdowns easily. Arizona’s first two redzone trips resulted in field goals and once they did score a touchdown, they could not convert the two-point conversion. Then again in the second half, the Beavers stopped another two-point conversion. When it mattered most, the Beavers defense made the plays they needed to.
Late in the first half, standout outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. came up with back-to-back sacks to get the Beavers the ball back. Luton would then lead a one-minute drill to take a 35-19 lead.
Although the Wildcats did score a lot today, some of that was the Beavers beating themselves. The Beavers missed numerous tackles in the second half to get off the field and committed too many penalties.
TOO MANY PENALTIES
So many flags flew when the Beavers defense played, the announcers joked “today isn’t Flag Day is it?” In the first half, Arizona’s second touchdown drive saw the Beavers get called for two roughing-the-passer penalties and two facemask penalties. It doesn’t matter that the roughing-the-passer penalties were questionable, the Beavers cannot even put them in a position for the refs to call it. If they don’t help Arizona with those free yards, maybe their redzone defense could have kept them out of the endzone.
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