Is Oregon States offense the best in state? 10 takeaways from the Beavers 48-31 win over UCLA – OregonLive

Posted: October 7, 2019 at 9:46 am

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PASADENA, Calif. Taking a spin around Oregon State football with 10 takeaways following the Beavers 48-31 win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl:

1. Oregon States offense might be best in Oregon

We heard for months this offseason what Oregon had for an offense. A Heisman Trophy-candidate quarterback. One of the countrys top offensive lines. OK. But now that were five games into the season, which offense would you rather have: Oregon State or Oregon? Could be the Beavers. While well acknowledge the Ducks have faced better FBS defenses than OSU, the gap isnt that great. OSU has scored 36-28-45-28-48 points this season. Thats good offense. The Beavers dont turn it over they have the countrys fewest turnovers with one and have balance, No. 39 rushing offense, No. 40 passing offense. Jake Luton is every bit as effective at quarterback as Oregons Justin Herbert in 2019, perhaps better. Luton has 14 touchdowns, no picks. The Beavers offensive line can hold up with just about any in the Pac-12, as theyre giving just over one sack a game. OSU probably has the Pac-12s best set of running back in Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson. And, as the cherry on top, heres what Oregon doesnt have: Isaiah Hodgins. Hes proving to be the best receiver in the Pac-12, and perhaps among the top five in the country.

Might be best in state? Truth is, its probably not close.

2. Has Chip Kelly lost it?

Not sure who is wearing the head coachs headset on UCLAs sideline, but it cant be Chip Kelly. That cant be the coach who once led Oregon to a level it had never been before, and unlikely will return. Kelly used to be a guy who was three steps ahead of everyone. Now? Nearly a year and a half into their current jobs, Oregon States Jonathan Smith has a better record (4-13) than Kelly (4-14). And its plays like these that are driving Kellys Bruins into the ground.

Trailing 7-0, UCLA faces fourth-and-1 at its 34. Kelly, ever the gambler, decides to go for it. No problem there. But the call? Sheesh. Rather than run a short yardage power play, running back Joshua Kelley lines up seven yards in the backfield and takes a deep handoff. Oregon State, one of the Pac-12s best teams at getting into the backfield, has plenty of time to run down Kelley and hes thrown for a five-yard loss. Its soon 14-0.

Later in the game, with UCLA mounting a mild rally, the Bruins kickoff from midfield following an Oregon State personal foul penalty. Perfect time to try something on the kickoff, with little risk, as the Beavers did in a similar situation in recovering an onside kick during the first quarter. Instead, the Bruins boot it into the end zone, and Oregon State quickly snuffs out any momentum UCLA may have had with a long touchdown drive.

3. This team is Jake Lutons

Just in case there was any question. And yes, there were questions, after the Beavers came up short in three-point losses to Hawaii and Stanford. Why have a sixth-year senior at quarterback if he cant give the Beavers some big senior moments when they need it most? Might as well turn to sophomore Tristan Gebbia and begin the future. Gebbias turn will have to wait, because whatever doubt anyone had in Luton was erased in the Rose Bowl. Luton was fantastic, rarely missing a throw during a school record-tying six touchdown (five pass, one run) performance. Luton made big plays, often took time to occasionally check out of a play, and when the Beavers needed a savvy presence down the stretch to close out the win, he was there to provide it. Luton has a chemistry with Hodgins that, barring injury, is going to lead to one of the greatest quarterback-receiver duos in Oregon State history.

4. Is Isaiah Hodgins the best receiver in the country?

Oregon State has had two Biletnikoff Award winners, given to best receiver in the country, in its history in Mike Hass (2005) and Brandin Cooks (2013). Hodgins might be the third. At least hes in the conversation following a 10-catch, 123-yard, three-touchdown performance against UCLA. Hodgins made several showstopping catches, including one for the Beavers first touchdown, and another on a sideline grab for a first down. Nationally, Hodgins ranks second in receiving yards per game (126.4) and receptions (8.6), fifth in receiving yards (632). Hes second among receivers in touchdowns with nine.

Be sure to watch the final seven games of Hodgins 2019 season, because it seems almost certain the OSU junior will be catching passes in the NFL in 2020.

5. Special teams return some special

A week after Stanford arguably beat Oregon State 31-28 because the Cardinal special teams were better, the Beavers special teams got back on track and made a difference. Punter Daniel Rodriguez had one of his best days at OSU. He had a career-tying 62-yard punt, and provided the drop kick that led to an onside kickoff recovery by the Beavers David Morris during the first quarter. UCLA came into the game with one of the countrys top punt return units, but did little against OSU. Yes, there was the missed extra point, which predictably led to some on social media to blast Jordan Choukair again, but thats for another day.

6. Kudos to Artavis Pierce for sticking around

Who could have blamed Artavis Pierce had he turned tail and found another program following Jermar Jeffersons freshman campaign in 2018? Pierce was Jefferson, until he sustained an elbow injury early in the 2018 season. By the time he returned, Jefferson had become a star and became the Beavers clear No. 1 option at running back. Pierce says he never considered transferring to another school, even though its a move that has become all too common and easy in college football these days. Pierce stuck it out, and it paid off. With Jefferson hobbled the past month with an ankle injury, Oregon States running game remains strong, as Pierce put up his second consecutive 100-yard performance with 119 yards against UCLA. Pierce also gives the Beavers an element of toughness, as he has no problem running between the tackles for his yardage.

7. Tim Tibesar hot seat talk has been put on ice

Oregon States defense had plenty to prove this season, following the forgettable 2018 campaign. At the forefront was defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar; perhaps it wasnt fair to judge him last year since he inherited a defense sorely lacking in quality Pac-12 level players, but thats part of the job. The heat from outside the program didnt lessen after the 2019 season opener, when Oklahoma State and running back Chuba Hubbard lit up the Beavers for 52 points. But five games into the season, theres no doubt the Beavers are improved in nearly every defensive facet. OSU is second in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss at 7.8 per game, have a breakout star in outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed, and theyre tackling better. While the Beavers continue to rank near the bottom half of FBS in many defensive categories, its not the gouge-my-eyes out performance of a year ago. With the Oregon States offense humming, its good enough to give the Beavers a chance on most Saturdays.

8. Field position helped Oregon State beat UCLA

Driving the length of the field for four quarters is tough way to win a football game. Thats one reason behind OSUs success Saturday night. UCLA never had a cheap opportunity, as the Bruins best starting position among their 11 drives was their 35. UCLA started seven drives at its 25, and twice began inside the 20. Meanwhile, the Beavers began two drives in UCLA territory, and the result was drives of five and one play for touchdowns.

9. Nothing but program building behind Jack Colletto redshirt move

Jack Colletto had planned to redshirt heading into the season, and that intent apparently didnt change when he didnt make the trip to UCLA. The junior linebacker/quarterback is shutting it down for 2019 barring significant injury --after playing in four games, the maximum allowed in order to preserve a redshirt. While the Beavers would love to have Colletto available for short-yardage quarterback situations, theyll now have a better version of Colletto for two full years. Colletto wants to learn the position of linebacker, a position he didnt play in high school. Hell also give Oregon State some quarterback depth next season as Luton leaves the program after the 2019 season.

10. What does this win mean?

Wont have to wait long to find out, as up next is Utah, perhaps the Pac-12s best team. The Beavers havent faced a defense like the Utes, who rank No. 14 nationally in total defense and fourth in run defense. Utah didnt play last week and come to Corvallis fresh after silencing Washington States offense in an easy win on Sept. 28. Now that Oregon State has beaten a UCLA, the next step is showing up for four quarters against a quality, top-20 opponent. That is an unknown for the Beavers, but whats certain is theyll have some confidence coming out of the Rose Bowl to give it a go.

--Nick Daschel | | @nickdaschel

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Is Oregon States offense the best in state? 10 takeaways from the Beavers 48-31 win over UCLA - OregonLive

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October 7th, 2019 at 9:46 am