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.
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.
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.
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
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.