Oregon State vs UCLA: 10 Things to Know

Oregon State vs UCLA: 10 Things to Know

Oregon State (1-3, 0-1) travels to Pasadena to play the UCLA Bruins (1-4, 1-1) at 6pm (PT) in search of their first conference victory of the season. 

UCLA only has one win but has shown to be a highly volatile team. The Bruins have scored over 17 points once this season, but also scored 50 in the second half in that game. Can the Beavers contain the Bruins and leave the Rose Bowl with a win?

Here are some facts to help prepare you for the game. 


Saturday is the first time OSU has played at UCLA since 2016. Their previous game was a 38-24 loss to the Bruins who got a 40 yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the victory with 2:14 left.  


UCLA head coach Chip Kelly has plenty of experience playing against Oregon State. The former Oregon coach never lost a Civil War game and Beaver fans are hungry to finally beat him. 


UCLA starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson suffered a leg injury in a loss to Arizona this past weekend. Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith speculated the Beavers won’t know if he’s playing until kickoff so they're preparing for both Robinson and his backup. 


The Beavers are 6-point underdogs this weekend against UCLA after opening as 8.5-point underdogs. As of Thursday, Oregon State has received 51% of bets for them to cover.


Beaver running back coach Michael Pitre was UCLA’s team captain in 2006 and lettered 2003-07 for the Bruins.


The offense has played efficiently so far. They have scored on 21 of 41 drives that haven’t ended due to halftime or the end of the game – 51.2 percent. The same scenario last year through four games was 37.7 percent and in 2017 29.4 percent. Their third-down conversion rate of 55.6 percent not only leads the Pac-12 but is fourth in the nation behind Air Force, Texas and Ohio State.

OSU has punted 11 times this year through four games, exactly half over the same amount of games as last year. The only teams in the country with fewer punts are Oklahoma, Florida, Air Force and Navy.


Isaiah Hodgins has been the Beavers’ best player this season. He leads the Pac-12 with 509 receiving yards, also good for eighth-most in the nation. Every player in front of him has played five games compared to his four. He’s also fourth in the nation for yards per game at 127.3 and 29 of his 33 receptions this season have either resulted in first downs or touchdowns.


Hamilcar Rashed leads a much improved Beavers defense. He has two quarterback sacks in back-to-back games marking the first Beaver to accomplish that feat since Scott Crichton in 2012. Rashed leads the Pac-12 for tackles-for-loss with 7.5.


OSU and Iowa lead the country for fewest turnovers with one. Oregon State’s lone turnover was an interception thrown by Tristan Gebbia in the fourth quarter against Cal Poly. Starting quarterback, Jake Luton is fourth in the country for most pass attempts without an interception at 140.

Beavers land JUCO QB Chance Nolan

Chance Nolan / Twitter

Beavers land JUCO QB Chance Nolan


The Beavers continue to add to their 2020 recruiting class. 

JUCO quarterback Chance Nolan has committed to playing for Oregon State next season.

He played college ball at Saddleback College in Menifee, CA where he put up 3315 yards passing with 38 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions in eleven games played.

Interestingly, he’s the second quarterback being brought in this recruiting cycle by head coach Jonathan Smith. It appears that he’s trying to solidify depth behind redshirt sophomore Tristan Gebbia, who performed well in his first career start in the Civil War this past season.

The 6-foot-2, 186 pound pro style quarterback will be eligible right away and plans to enroll in January to compete with Gebbia for the starting job left behind by Jake Luton. 

Oregon State beat out other schools competing for Nolan’s commitment such as Utah and Oklahoma State. 

Beavers secure Portland State OL graduate transfer Korbin Sorensen

Korbin Sorensen / Twitter

Beavers secure Portland State OL graduate transfer Korbin Sorensen


The Beavers continued to further solidify their 2020 recruiting class Sunday night when they secured a commitment from graduate transfer offensive lineman Korbin Sorensen. 

Sorensen played college football at Portland State University where he redshirted his freshman year before starting in 33 games over the next three seasons, mostly at right guard.

The 6-foot-6, 305 pound offensive lineman will have one final year of eligibility at Oregon State. He’ll aim to provide depth for an offensive line losing three starters from last season: left tackle Blake Brandel, right guard Gus Lavaka and left guard Clay Cordasco.

Oregon State Women’s team ranked 1st in inaugural RPI rankings

Oregon State Women’s team ranked 1st in inaugural RPI rankings

Despite being ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll, the 8-0 Oregon State Beavers are ranked as the best team in the country according to the NCAA’s inaugural RPI ranking

RPI, which ranks teams by weighting strength of schedule and quality of wins, is considered heavily when deciding seeding for the end-of-season NCAA Tournament. This method favors a Beavers team that has defeated numerous ranked opponents such as No. 20 Missouri State, No. 16 Depaul, and No. 25 Miami (FL). 

As the Beavers approach Pac-12 conference play, if they continue to win they should maintain this ranking with upcoming games against No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Oregon, No. 10 UCLA and No. 18 Arizona.

Oregon State's Kee Whetzel enters transfer portal


Oregon State's Kee Whetzel enters transfer portal

Oregon State linebacker Kee Whetzel’s time at Oregon State has come to an end. 

The Clearwater, FL native took to Twitter to make the announcement. 

God moves in ways that I can’t explain. As much as I feel like I have unfinished business, there’s something compelling need to start a new chapter in my life. As of right now I will not be returning to Oregon State to go to school or play football I will enter The transfer portal and re-open my recruitment in search of a new home. My teammates will be dearly missed and I know the brothers I made will know where to find me. To Beaver Nation fans, you guys are amazing and I could never repay you for the great memories and support for the last three years. To the few coaches I connected with the last year and a half I appreciate you. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. God‘s plan. Forever #GoBeavs -- Kee Whetzel

The junior safety was away from the Beavers program for more than a month earlier this season for personal reasons, something he shared via social media back in September.

In 24 games, including two starts, Whetzel registered 65 tackles, five for a loss and 4 sacks. 

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Tristan Gebbia's first career start a bright spot for the Beavs

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Tristan Gebbia's first career start a bright spot for the Beavs

The Oregon State Beavers (5-7, 4-5 Pac-12) vastly improved on all sides of the ball in the 2019-20 season, despite not getting a bid for a postseason bowl game.

One of the bright spots to cap of this season of improvement is the future of the program: quarterback Tristan Gebbia. 

An unexpected right arm injury from starter Jake Luton forced Gebbia into the spotlight in what would be Oregon State's final game of the season, the Civil War. In his first career start, Gebbia finished 26-of-40 for 243 yards and added 25 yards on the ground. The redshirt sophomore has a bright future in Corvallis.

On the latest Talkin' Beavers Podcast, Gebbia joins host Nigel Burton to discuss the Civil War, his first career start and much more!

Listen to the full podcast below:

Join Talkin' Beavers every Wednesday for Oregon State Beavers news, game breakdowns, and analysis. Plus conversations with the most important names in Oregon State Sports.

With rebuild ahead of schedule, Beavers reworking Smith's contract


With rebuild ahead of schedule, Beavers reworking Smith's contract

I went back and checked out as many preseason prognostications about the Oregon State Beavers football as I could find. I couldn't find one prediction saying the Beavs would be in a bowl in 2019 and I couldn't find one writer or broadcaster calling for more than four wins. Hey, its not surprising considering the 2017 and 2018 seasons. A 3-21 record will create a lot of doubt about a football program.

Jonathan Smith and his talented coaching staff proved a lot of people wrong this season and are ahead of schedule on getting the Beavers back into the national conversation when it comes to winning football games. 

Oregon State Athletic Director Scott Barnes loves the direction of the football program and says he wants to make sure the continuity, consistancy and commitment remain untouched. He told me this afternoon that Jonathan Smith wants to make sure that doesn't change moving forward. Increases in the salaries of the assistant coaches is a top priority.

Barnes also is reworking Coach Smith's contact.

He wll enter the third year of a five-year contract at $1.9 million dollars per year, plus bonuses.

Barnes and Coach Smith have actually been discussing a reworking of his contract since October .

"We are being proactive ensuring this staff stays together," Barnes told NBCSNW. "It is not just about the wins, but also about the change in the culture of the football program. That includes the improving GPA's we have seen since Coach Smith and his assistants have taken hold in Corvallis. I am impressed with the  tremendous job they are doing in recruiting and Jonathan is ahead of schedule on all of the above."

Barnes does realize a few of the key members of Jonathan's coaching staff have expiring contracts at the end of February. Trent Bray (linebackers), Jake Cookus (special teams), Jim Michalczik (offensive line), Kefense Hynson (receivers), Michael Pitre (running backs) and Legi Suianoa (defensive line). The money pool for assistants will be increased, but there is no word on how much they will receive. The four other assistants have another year left on their deals. Barnes says the increases will be substantial and are in concert with other Pac-12 schools. 

There's another big priority besides the coaches' salaries: Filling up Reser Stadium. The four conference wins and the fact they were one first down away from qualifying for a bowl has gotten Beaver Nation's attention. The new season ticket campaign is touting 2020 season tickets at 2019 prices. And consider next year they have seven home games including the Cougs, Ducks, Cal and Colorado State. 

Can they break through in 2020 and qualify for a bowl? No one thought they could this season and they were five yards short. There is no doubt its an attainable goal and it looks like the administration is coming through to make sure that contihuity and constancy are on track to build more success in Corvallis.,

With Hodgins going pro, will Hamilcar Rashed, Jr. follow suit?

With Hodgins going pro, will Hamilcar Rashed, Jr. follow suit?

With WR Isaiah Hodgins declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft, all eyes are on redshirt junior Hamilcar Rashed Jr. to see if he’ll follow suit. 

The outside linebacker had not just a breakout season, but the greatest single season for a defensive player in the front seven in school history, setting the single-season records for sacks (14) and tackles-for-loss (22.5). These numbers could have been even higher too if he didn’t need to play with a cast on his hand for the final two games of the season. 

Pro Football Network draft analyst Tony Pauline stated earlier this season that Rashed Jr. has greatly improved his draft stock this season.

His sacks are as much a result of opportunity as they are big plays, but Rashed continues to impact games. He needs to fill out his frame and keep his quickness, but Rashed has top 100 potential when he enters the draft.

It’s unclear whether Rashed, Jr. will decide to forgo his last season of eligibility to declare for the NFL Draft, but don’t be surprised to see him go pro. If he can get advice that he’ll be a selection on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, then he’s one decision away from life changing money. 

But he also may want to come back to help the Beavers make a bowl game and increase his draft stock by filling out his frame in college and matching his production this season. Either way, he should announce sooner than later.

You can listen to Nigel Burton discuss Rashed Jr.'s decision and more in week's Talkin' Beavers podcast. 



Isaiah Hodgins declares for the 2020 NFL Draft

Isaiah Hodgins declares for the 2020 NFL Draft

After a spectacular junior season at Oregon State, Isaiah Hodgins has declared for the 2020 NFL Draft, foregoing his senior season as a Beaver. The wide receiver announced the decision on his Twitter Tuesday evening. 

This past year, Hodgins ended the season as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's most prolific receiver.

The junior finished with 86 receptions for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those single season numbers rank 5th, 9th and 2nd in school history, respectively. 

When asked earlier this season if he'd thought about declaring for the NFL Draft, he stated his focus was on the season and making a bowl game. That looking ahead to the pros causes players' play to slip. The Beavers ended up finishing one win short of bowl eligibility. 

While there was hope he'd return for his senior season, most expected him to go to the NFL given how productive he was this season. Even when he was being recruited by Oregon State, their reputation of creating NFL receivers such as Brandin Cooks was what sold him on coming here. This has always been his ultimate goal.

The Beavers will have plenty of targets open up next year as Hodgins plays on Sunday's. 

Hodgins is a projected third or fourth round draft pick according to some, but after further evaluation and time to prepare for April's Draft, Hodgins' stock could skyrocket even as far as the first round. 


JUCO safety Johnathan Riley commits to Oregon State

JUCO safety Johnathan Riley commits to Oregon State

Jonathan Smith just landed another big recruit at Oregon State. 

JUCO safety Johnathan Riley committed to the Beavers this weekend after Coach Smith flew to Waldorf, Maryland for an in-home visit. Riley previously visited Oregon State for the Washington game on Nov. 8 and fell in love with Corvallis.

The 6-foot-3, 196 pound safety will look to make an immediate impact in the Beaver secondary.

Riley says he chose Oregon State over offers from UMass, Cincinnati and New Mexico State because he saw it as the perfect place to focus on football. 

"Even from an early age I was obsessed with perfecting my craft and for that I am grateful," Riley said. "Proud to announce I will be attending Oregon State for the next three years." 

You can watch his HUDL highlights here to get a taste of what Riley can bring.