Hopes and aspirations for Oregon State football team becoming a reality

Beavers move to a 4-1 record, sit atop of PAC-12 North

Members of the Oregon State football team are seen here congratulating sophomore kicker Everett Hayes. Hayes hit the game-winning field goal against the Washington Huskies on October 2, 2021.

Benjamin Rabbino, Assistant Sports Editor

The stage was set for sophomore kicker Everett Hayes. The football game between the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington State huskies was tied at 24 points a piece.

With two seconds left in the fourth quarter, Hayes knew that it would all come down to his kick, something that he had not experienced before.

“Not exactly,” Hayes said when asked if the game had ever come down to him. “In high school, a little bit, there was times where it was a game-tieing field goal, but never a game-winning [field goal] like that.”

In the center of the field, it was a 24-yard field goal attempt to win the game. Hayes, who had missed a field goal in the game previously, said that he knew that the game would come down to him.

“I was on the sideline, I was just trying to kick into the net, focus. I had missed one earlier in the day, and I really wanted to make up for that one to be honest,” Hayes said.

With a tense Reser Stadium silent, the kick from Hayes was good, and gave the Beavers a 27-24 victory over the Huskies, leading 9,000 excited Oregon State fans to storm the field in celebration.

With the biggest lead of only seven points from either team, this matchup between two Pac-12 North rivals lived up to the anticipated hype. To make the matchup even more meaningful,the Oregon Ducks lost to the Stanford Cardinal earlier in the day by a score of 31-24, leaving the possession for first in the Pac-12 North up for grabs.

“Yeah, we knew.” said both junior cornerback Rejzhon Wright and head football coach Jonathan Smith about knowing the outcome of the Oregon game before kickoff and what a win would bring for the OSU program.

In an action packed game, with both teams generating 312 yards of offense, last night made it clear that both Oregon State and Washington had talent on their rosters. But it was the difference of a fourth down play that allowed the Beavers to take the lead in such prime fashion.

Leading up to the game-winning field goal from Hayes, the Beavers got contribution from a lot of different areas.

With the game tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, sophomore quarterback Chance Nolan, who only finished the game with 48 yards going 7-15 in passes, fumbled the ball on a wild scramble run, allowing the Huskie defense to pick the ball up and score on the very next play, putting them up 24-17.

The Beavers were not going to let a fourth quarter comeback from Washington stop themselves from all the glory they can accomplish this year with a win. It took a little under four minutes from Washington’s touchdown until a late game duo of redshirt-freshman wide receiver Anthony Gould and redshirt-junior running back B.J. Baylor started to set themselves apart, scoring in three plays, tying the game back at 24-24. Nolan was able to complete a 22-yard pass to Gould, and after that, Baylor was able to run the ball for 27 yards into the endzone to send Reser into a frenzy.

It was at this point where Oregon State’s defense looked the most focused they had all game, realizing that if Washington uses the clock right, they could take almost all the time off and score a field goal to secure a win, almost a blueprint replica of what the Beavers did to end the game as well.

On a third and two play call, Washington running back Sean McGrew got stood up at the line of scrimmage, leaving the Huskies with the decision of punting and hoping for a defensive stop, or trying to go for it on fourth down and keep the drive alive.

The Beaver’s were ready for both options though and stopped Huskie quarterback Dylan Morris from sneaking the ball past the first down line. Reser Stadium went nuts as the fans looked up to the big screen to see, very clearly, that Washington did not pick up the fourth down and that the Beavers now had the ball, and the chance to take the lead.

The scoring drive to end the game started with Baylor running the ball some more, and then a rare occurrence where redshirt-junior inside linebacker Jack Colletto was on the field but not running the ball. Instead, he handed the ball off to junior wide reciever Tre ‘Shaun Harrison to get a first down on an end route. This allowed for redshirt-sophomore running back Deshaun Fenwick to run the ball down to the Washington eight-yard line with 1:26 left on the clock, and with a full slate of timeouts.

And with three seconds left in the game, the kicker Everett Hayes walked on to the field with the game in his hands, missing an earlier kick from further distance, this kick from 24 yards proves to be his biggest kick of the game.

As Hayes had the confidence in himself, Coach Smith was happy to share his confidence in the kicker as well.

“That was the strategy. We knew we had a timeout situation where we could run it all down, and it’s pretty much an extra point, I feel great about Everett making that,” said Coach Smith about executing the drive at the end of the game and trusting the game in the hands of their kicker. “I was really pleased he wins the game like this, because he missed an early one, but we have a ton of confidence in him.”

The Beavers are now 4-1 on the season, 2-0 in conference play, and have the sole possession of first place for the Pac-12 North. Something that was not projected for this Beaver team to accomplish, now seems like it could happen.

Redshirt-sophomore defensive back Alton Julian, who was a part of the defense that caused two turnovers against Washington, said that this win shows people just what this Oregon State team is all about.

“It shows people that we’re not just a talk team, we’re gonna show people that we play 60 minutes, we gonna show people that we’re gonna thug it out, and we’re gonna show people that it’s not just an easy win when you come play us, you’re going to have to fight,” Julian said.

For a team that has seen the bottom for so long, now has a chance to see what it feels like at the top. Being first in the Pac-12 North means the possibility of a Pac-12 Championship game, a bowl game, a national ranking, and so much more.

Redshirt-Junior defensive back Jaydon Grant, who has been with the OSU program through all of the ups and downs, said that although he is pleased with the teams performance, he knows that the works is far from done.

“Like you said, been through a lot here, you know, took a lot of [losses], but to keep up this momentum, we can’t be celebrating winning four games in a row, we have to keep going because we ain’t done yet,” Grant said.

The Oregon State football team will have about a week to rest before they travel north to face off against the Washington State Cougars in Pullman, Washington. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.