Oregon State looks to get back in the win column versus Stanford, Saturday at 8 p.m.

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Julie Barber: OMN Photographer

Senior safety Jaydon Grant celebrates an incompletion against the Unversity of Southern California on Sept. 24 in Reser Stadium, Corvallis. The Beavers travel south to Stanford to try and win their first PAC-12 conference game of the season.

Benjamin Rabbino, Sports Chief

The Beavers have lost their previous two games to start PAC-12 conference play this season and are entering this week’s game possibly without their starting quarterback.

Starting junior quarterback Chance Nolan went down in the first quarter of the game against Utah with a neck injury and did not return after. 

After the injury, head football coach Jonathan Smith went to his bench and selected redshirt-freshman, Ben Gulbranson, to come in and take the starting snaps over team captain Tristan Gebbia, who was replaced by Nolan due to injury in a 2020 matchup against the University of Oregon.

Gulbranson finished his first game with the Beavers going 12-21 for 177 yards and two interceptions.

There is no discrepancy, however, of who will be playing this game if Nolan is not able to recover from his injury this week.

“If Chance can’t go, it’s going to be Ben,” said Smith.

In the past two weeks, the Beavers have had to play two top-tier opponents. The University of Southern California Trojans being ranked No. 6 and the Utah Utes being ranked No. 11 in the country, the Beavers have shown that they can compete with the best programs in the PAC-12.

“I told the team even yesterday, this is different from previous years because our expectations are higher,” said Smith from a Monday afternoon press conference this week. “These losses mean something.”

This will also mark another game for the Beavers without star tight end Luke Musgrave suiting up with an undisclosed injury that has kept him out of the lineup since their game against Fresno State on Sept. 10.

Now facing an unranked Stanford Cardinal opponent, the Beavers are searching for their first conference win of the season.

Smith sounded confident about his defense being able to keep up the same energy that they have this season, and without any turnovers forced in the previous two games for the Beavers, this game looks to be a chance to change that trend against Stanford.

“They’ve just been a little turnover-prone,” Smith answered while reviewing the Cardinal offense.

As for the Cardinal, their offense is centered around run, having 11 different running backs get action against the University of Oregon Ducks this past weekend.

Standout running back and punt returner for the Cardinal, Casey Filkins, and once an in-state recruiting prospect of Smith, looks to be Stanford’s number one option in the run game.

Totaling 139 yards of offense in the Cardinals game against the Ducks, Smith has his eye on Filkins entering Saturday’s game.

“He can do a lot of things. He was a really good player in this state, and has made a bunch of plays for them so far,” said Smith during Monday’s press conference. “He gets better and better each week, you can see that progression. Handing it to him, throwing out of the backfield, good player.”

The game against the Oregon State Beavers and the Stanford Cardinal will take place at 8 p.m. in Stanford Stadium, California, and will be broadcasted on ESPN.