Ashton Bisner, Photographer
First down chants rumbling the stadium, chainsaws being revved on third downs, orange and black all throughout Reser Stadium… Beaver Football is back.
It had been nearly two years since Reser Stadium was as filled as it was for the 2021 season home opener, and Beaver fans took the opportunity to support the team.
“Really appreciated the crowd to start, our guys were excited to get back home and that student section, with their energy, I thought our guys got a bunch out of that, and we did start fast and had a pretty good first half, and our crowd helped us with that”, said head football coach Jonathan Smith when asked about the energy in the stadium.
To kick off the season, Oregon State faced off against the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The game itself was dominated by OSU’s offensive versatility against Hawaii’s defense. The Beavers were able to make big plays, confuse the defense, and get essential first downs/ Redshirt-Sophomore Chance Nolan stepped into the starting position for the entirety of the game on Saturday and looked phenomenal doing so.
It was Smith’s decision from the practice week leading up to the game to start Nolan over senior quarterback Sam Noyer, who started against Purdue. Smith explained that it was a gut decision and felt that the team had a bit of a spark from Nolan’s presence on the field.
Against the Rainbow Warriors, Nolan was 21-29, throwing for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns.
He was more than willing to share that he received tons of help from the players, coaches, and fans for this game.
“I think our [offensive line] did a great job, just giving me time to throw the ball all night. Our wide-outs did a great job running their routes and getting open, making plays and making tough catches all night. I think it helped me out a lot because guys were making good plays for me”, Nolan said.
Anthony Gould, who found out only this week that he would be starting, and Trevon Bradford got the most receptions from Nolan, racking up nearly 200 yards and a touchdown between the two. Zeriah Beason was the only other receiver in the game to score a touchdown.
When asked about if he knew how involved he would be with the Beavers offense, Gould said, “You never really know, I just go out there, running the route I’m supposed to run, and try and get open.”
The team has depth at the wide receiver position, switching out receivers almost every other play, making it harder for opponents defenses to lock in on who to guard the heaviest.
Running back, B.J. Baylor, could not be stopped by Hawaii’s defense, and was running through tackles at ease. He ended the game with a very impressive 171 yards and 3 touchdowns on 18 carries.
“The [offensive line] did the best job that they ever did, perfect time to do that… I think the lineman and receivers came to play today, and I thank them for that”, Baylor said to the when asked about the consistency of blocks from their players.
Execution, rhythm, and tempo all seem to be key things that both Jonathan Smith and the Beaver players want to improve on, constantly agreeing that there is more work to do moving forward.
Coach Smith summed it up perfectly by stating, “[You’re] never going to feel bad about winning, but there is plenty to clean up.”
The Beavers look forward to play Idaho on Saturday the 18th at 12:30pm, once again at home in Reser Stadium.