Oregon State vs Utah: 10 Things to Know

Oregon State vs Utah: 10 Things to Know

Oregon State (2-3, 1-1 Pac-12) hosts No. 15 Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in search of consecutive conference victories for the first time since 2016. 

Utah was the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 conference this season, according to the media poll, but a 30-23 loss at USC on Sept. 20 makes those aspirations less likely to be realized. To keep pace with the rest of the Pac-12 South, the Utes cannot afford to lose and will arrive at Reser Stadium ready to play when the game kicks off at 5 p.m. (PT). 

But before that, here are some facts to get you ready for the game.

LONG TIME NO SEE

This is the first match-up against the Utes since 2016 which had a similar set up. That week, the 5-1, No. 21 Utes came to Reser Stadium and received more than they expected. Oregon State trailed by 12 points with 8:25 left before missing a field goal. Utah scored on their next possession and escaped with a 19-14 victory. 

UNLUCKY SCHEDULING

Saturday marks the first of two consecutive bye weeks that the Beavers play a team coming off a bye. The Cal Bears are on a bye this week before hosting the Beavers on October 19th. 

BETTING LINE

As of Thursday, October 10, the consensus line of Utah being favored by 14.5 has received 63% of total bets according to the Action Network. 

BOTH UTAH AND OSU PERFORM ON THIRD DOWN

Utah and Oregon State are tied for the best third down conversion rate in the Pac-12 at 58.3 percent. Both defenses will have their work cut out for them as they try to get off the field. 

ISAIAH HODGINS AMONG THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY 

Pro Football Focus rates Isaiah Hodgins as the top wide receiver in the nation. He leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (632) which is good for fifth in the nation. However, the four players ahead of him have all played one more game than Hodgins. 88.3 percent of his receptions this season have gone for either a first down or a touchdown. He’s also second in the nation in receiving yards per game (126.4), receptions per game (8.6), and receiving touchdowns (9).

JAKE LUTON TAKES CARE OF THE FOOTBALL

Quarterback Jake Luton has yet to throw an interception this season and ranks second in the nation for the most consecutive passes without one, trailing Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa by a single pass attempt. Luton only needs 16 more passes without a pick to tie the school record held by Matt Moore. Pro Football Focus also rates Luton as the second best quarterback in the conference. Oregon State as a team leads the nation with only one turnover. 

WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS?

Punter Daniel Rodriguez has had an excellent season thus far. He’s second in the conference for punting average at 47.9 yards and executed an impressive dropkick kickoff against the Bruins that the Beavers recovered. One play later the offense scored another touchdown to jump out to a 21-0 lead. 

RASHED ATTACKS THE BACKFIELD

Outside linebacker Hamilicar Rashed continued his effective play against the Bruins with seven total tackles, including six solo tackles and two tackles for loss. He leads the Pac-12 with 9.5 tackles for loss which places him eighth nationally. The defense overall has 39 tackles for loss, second in the conference. 

PIERCE HAS STEPPED UP

With sophomore running back Jermar Jefferson battling an ankle injury, senior Artavis Pierce has stepped into the starting role and flourished. He continues to hold the school record for yards per carry at 6.1, and this season he averages an outstanding 7.5 yards per carry. Pierce is rated the top running back in the Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus.

DEPENDABLE BRANDEL

Offensive Lineman Blake Brandel has started 41 consecutive games which ranks at the fourth longest streak in school history.

MORE ON THE BEAVS:

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Isaiah Hodgins wants the ball

Jake Luton's improvement integral to Beavers' success

Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith scouts ahead of Utah

Oregon State adds home-and-home series with Ole Miss and New Mexico

Oregon State adds home-and-home series with Ole Miss and New Mexico

Beaver football fans, book your flights for Mississippi. Well, in seven years.

The Oregon State Beavers have agreed to a home-and-home series with SEC’s Ole Miss and the Mountain West’s New Mexico. 

The Beavers will play Ole Miss in Oxford on September 18, 2027, and will host the Rebels in Corvallis on August 31, 2030. It’ll be the first time an SEC team currently in the conference will play in Corvallis against the Beavers. 

Ole Miss recently hired former FAU coach Lane Kiffin to take over the program, and based off his coaching resume, the Rebels should be a force by the time this series happens. 

Oregon State will also host New Mexico on September 11, 2027 and then play in Albuquerque on September 9, 2028. 

Oregon State Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes had the following to say about the newly scheduled series.

Scheduling for success is a pillar of our Beaver football program. The goal is to play a Power 5, Group of 5 and FCS opponent on a yearly basis to complement the nine-game Pac-12 Conference schedule; for the most part we have been able to adjust future schedules to achieve that goal.

Additionally, the Beavers added home games against FCS schools Portland State for 2025 and 2027 and Idaho State in 2024. 

The Beavers will open the season against Fresno State now in 2025, moved from the game’s original date of 2024. 

7 players named to All Pac-12 teams, Hodgins and Rashed Jr. snubbed of first team selections

7 players named to All Pac-12 teams, Hodgins and Rashed Jr. snubbed of first team selections

Following their best season since 2013, the Oregon State Beavers (finished 5-7, 4-5 Pac-12) also have their most representation on the All Conference teams in the Pac-12 since that season.

Let’s break it down. 

SECOND TEAM:

WR Isaiah Hodgins

The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist finds himself on the second team in the conference despite being named a top 10 receiver in the country. Hodgins dominated as the Beavers’ primary offensive option this season with majority of his catches moving the chains for the offense. He finished the season with 1,171 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. 

Following his snub for first team, Hodgins took to twitter to claim it was all “politics”.

OLB Hamilcar Rashed Jr.

Another Beaver snubbed of recognition on the first team was the conference leader in sacks (14) and the national leader in tackles-for-loss (22.5). His breakout season was a significant reason for the improvement of the Beavers’ defense and directly resulted in wins. Rashed Jr. is currently testing the waters on if he’ll enter the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. 

OL Blake Brandel

The former Central Catholic Ram finished out his career at Oregon State as an all conference second team offensive lineman. Brandel started each game the Beavers have played over the previous four seasons. The left tackle protected Luton’s blindside and opened up running lanes for Jermar Jefferson and Artavis Pierce.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

QB Jake Luton

The sixth-year senior signal caller had his best season yet throwing for 2,714 yards with 28 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week served his final season as a co-captain and will play in the Collegiate Bowl ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft process.

TE Noah Togiai

The senior tight end put together another career season where he finished with 44 receptions for 303 yards and three touchdowns. His highlight of the season came against Arizona State when he hurdled a defender into the endzone.

OL Brandon Kipper

The transfer from the Hawai’i Warriors started all 12 games for the Oregon State Beavers this past season. He allowed just one quarterback sack all season.

LB Omar Speights 

Speights was named a Pac-12 defensive honorable mention after finishing second on the team with 73 tackles. 63 of those tackles came in the final seven games of the season when his role was expanded. He earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for his 18 tackle performance against the Washington Huskies.

Oregon State lands commitment from DE Sione Lolohea

Oregon State lands commitment from DE Sione Lolohea

The good news just keeps coming for Oregon State football fans.

Tuesday morning, strongside defensive end Sione Lolohea announced his commitment to play football for Coach Jonathan Smith and Oregon State in the 2020 recruiting class.

 

The 6-foot-3 defensive end from Waimanalo, HI committed to the Beavers over Boise State, BYU and Colorado amongst others. The three-star recruit is ranked as the No. 23 strongside-defensive end in this upcoming recruiting class by 247Sports.

The coaching staff has been recruiting relentlessly ahead of the Early Signing Period from December 18-20, and has secured multiple commitments the last few days, including graduate transfer offensive lineman Korbin Sorensen and JUCO quarterback Chase Nolan.

Lolohea will look to provide more depth for a pass rush that looks to return nearly everyone from last season, besides potentially Hamilcar Rashed Jr. who is currently testing the draft waters. Smith has said he expects Rashed Jr. to return for his senior season, however. Last season, the Beavers defense ranked No. 22 in the nation with 86 tackles-for-loss and No. 32 in sacks with 32. 

You can watch Lolohea’s senior season highlights below.

Beavers land JUCO QB Chance Nolan

wpubdybcz5fa7f3pqqhmzfy7w4.png
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

eltnqvguwaabc_j.jpg
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

usatsi_11688595.jpg
IMAGN

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

usatsi_13611185.jpg
IMAGN

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.,