Beaver football becomes bowl eligible for the first time since 2013

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Lily Middleton, OMN Photographer

Oregon State redshirt-sophomore quarterback Chance Nolan quickly getting the ball away from the Stanford Cardinal defender on Nov. 13 at Reser Stadium. Nolan finished the game 19-25 with 257 yards and 2 touchdowns, and led the Beavers to a 35-14 victory over the Stanford Cardinal.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Contributor

The Beavers flipped the script from the past two weeks after losing to the University of California Golden Bears by a score of 25-39 and the University of Colorado Buffaloes by a score of 34-37 in double overtime. Oregon State scored first, forcing the Cardinal to play from behind the entire game.

The Beavers came out to a strong start in the first corner against the Cardinal Offense, which was led by Cardinal true freshman quarterback Ari Patu. The Beaver defense forced the Cardinal offense to a quick three and out to start their first possession, giving the ball quickly back to the Beavers.

The Beavers on their first possession of the game started a run-heavy drive that took six minutes off the play clock. The drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown quarterback run from Oregon State redshirt sophomore Chance Nolan, putting the Beavers up 7-0 over the Cardinal.

In the second quarter, the Beavers drove down to the Stanford 46-yard line. The Stanford defense forced the offense to a 56-yard field goal attempt that was missed from sophomore kicker Everett Hayes, turning the ball over back to the Cardinal. Patu would be intercepted by Oregon State redshirt junior defensive back Jaydon Grant on the ensuing Stanford possession, giving the ball back to the Beaver offense at the Oregon State 35-yard line.

The Beaver offense could not capitalize after the interception, and would be forced to punt. The Cardinal offense would drive down to the Oregon State 45-yard line and be forced to kick a 55-yard field goal attempt from Cardinal sophomore kicker Joshua Karty, which was blocked by Oregon State junior tight end Teagan Quitoriano.

The Beavers would drive down the field after the blocked field goal, scoring a 2-yard touchdown run from Oregon State redshirt-junior linebacker Jack Colletto, putting the Beavers up 14-0 over the Cardinal before the end of the first half.

The Beavers would get the ball to start off the second half of the game, and scored on their first possession of the third quarter with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Oregon State redshirt-wide receiver Trevon Bradford, putting the Beavers up 21-0 over the Cardinal.

The Cardinal would try to answer the touchdown drive from the Beavers, quickly driving down the field and scoring their first points of the game on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Cardinal sophomore tight end Benjamin Yourosek.

The Beavers were now up 21-7 midway through the third quarter after the touchdown drive from the Stanford Cardinal. The Beaver offense on their next possession turned the ball over on downs giving the ball back to the Stanford offense at the Oregon State 33-yard line.

The Cardinal tested the waters at the quarterback position, and let senior quarterback Dylan Plautz enter the game for them. However, he was intercepted by Oregon State junior defensive back Rejzohn Wright, giving the ball back to the Beaver offense at the Oregon State 20-yard line.

After the interception, the Beaver offense would capitalize on turnover on their next possession, scoring a 6-yard touchdown run by Oregon State junior running back B.J. Baylor. Baylor made the score 28-7 with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Stanford Cardinal offense on their next possession would make another change at quarterback with sixth-year senior quarterback Isaiah Sanders in the game.

The Beaver defense would then force a fumble by the Cardinal offense off the hands of Sanders on an option run play. The Beavers would take the ball inside the Stanford 5-yard line from a personal foul penalty on the Stanford defense.The Beavers, taking advantage of the penalty, extended their lead 35-7 off a 5-yard touchdown pass to Oregon State junior tight end Teagan Quitoriano to start out the fourth quarter.

The Stanford Cardinal offense could not gain momentum through most of the fourth quarter, but at the end with just under seven minutes to go, Stanford would score on an 18-yard rushing touchdown from Cardinal junior running back Nathaniel Peat. This cut the Oregon State led to 35-14 to end the fourth quarter, ultimately giving the Beavers the win in this matchup, snapping an 11-game losing streak to Stanford.

After a week that saw a coaching change on the defensive side of the ball and inconsistent play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the Beavers finally shook the figurative monkey off their backs. The Oregon State football team delivered a bowl game berth that has been a long time coming for the fans and players who have been through the ups and downs of football over the past few years.

“Guys that have been around here for a while-Jaydon Grant has the early interception, [Trevon] Bradford has the huge touchdown, start of the second half Andrzej [Hughes-Murray] was around the ball making some plays-they’ve been through a lot, worked really hard- I’m really happy for them,” Head Football Coach Jonathan Smith said.

“A good base in offense, defense-and special teams, we just kept going… kept going, we knew today was going to be a good fight, we just had to finish the game and get bowl eligible- it’s been a long time,” Baylor said.

This bowl game berth for the Beavers marks the first time Coach Smith led the Beavers as a coach for the football team. The last time Coach Smith led the Beavers to the bowl game was as a junior quarterback at Oregon State during the 2000 season, leading the Beavers to an 11-1 season and a Fiesta Bowl victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with a score of 41-9.

The Oregon State Beavers (6-4) will take on the Arizona State University Sun Devils (7-3) on Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Reser Stadium.