Oregon State football’s road to the bowl game

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Georgina Paez, Print Contributor

If one were to ask any supporter of Beaver Nation what they wished upon their favorite team, it would be the hope to see the Beavers take on a bowl game.

Finally, after eight long years of exciting highs and saddening lows, the Oregon State Beavers will take on the Utah State University Aggies this Saturday, December 18th, at the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel L.A. Bowl taking place at the newly built SoFi Stadium, who hosts the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams.

This game marks the 18th bowl game OSU has played in and it’s the first one since 2013 where they defeated Boise State at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. So, how did the Beavers do it? The first part of that answer is simple: Coach Jonathan Smith. Coach Smith, at the time, was a quarterback for OSU’s football team from 1998-2001. In his time at OSU, the two-time team captain led his team to the 1999 Oahu Bowl and the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, where OSU walked away victorious with a 41-9 win against Notre Dame. Coach Smith re-joined the Beavers as head coach of the football team on November 29, 2017. And it’s safe to say that because of his love, passion, and commitment, the OSU football program has changed dramatically.

Of course, it is worth mentioning that Coach Smith’s determination to change the way people see Beaver Football was not the only thing that contributed to the team’s success. The team’s need for change and their hunger to win contributed to that, and it can be seen in the way they have played all season long. With seven wins in this 2021 season, as well as an average of 32.75 points per game, which ranked them as the third highest scoring offense in the PAC-12, the Beavers have breathed spirit back into Beaver Nation as fans from all over Corvallis came down to Reser Stadium in order to support the team they love so much.

So as PAC-12 football fans join in to watch the first bowl game this weekend, some notable players to keep in mind are Quarterback Chance Nolan, Offensive Linemen Nathan Eldridge, Joshua Gray, Nous Keobounnam, and Brandon Kipper, Running Back B.J. Baylor, Wide Receiver Trevon Bradford, Defensive Backs Alex Austin, Kitan Oladapo and Jaydon Grant, Inside Linebacker Jack Colletto, and Kicker Everett Hayes.

It’s been a long time coming for this group, for this school, and for this community. Seeing Oregon State play in a bowl game is a dream come true for some. As for many of the fifth year seniors on the team, this is what they were sold on when joining the school, and now they finally have the chance to live their dream.

Tune in on Saturday at 4:30 PM on ABC to watch the Beavers take on the Aggies in Los Angeles.