Beavers dominate Golden Bears to match last years win total

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Rafael Juarez: OMN Photographer

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Anthony Gould returns a 56-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Golden Bears on Saturday night with redshirt junior defensive back Jaden Robinson celebrating with him. Gould has now tallied two punt returns for touchdowns on the season.

Casey Smith, Sports Contributor

On Saturday night, the Oregon State Beavers (7-3, 4-3 PAC-12) commanded the match-up against the California Golden Bears (3-7, 1-6 PAC-12) to achieve their second consecutive winning record on the season. 

The Beavers sought to scorch the Golden Bears for four quarters straight on every level of the game and they accomplished just that.

In the opening drive of the game, the Beaver defense established a menacing tone, sacking Cal quarterback Jack Plummer on the opening drive and forcing the Golden Bears to punt the ball away early. Plummer would be sacked twice in the game for a total of 35 yards coming from Beaver defenders Alex Austin and Riley Sharp.

When it was the Beavers turn to strike early, ‘Swiss-army knife’ Jack Colletto would keep the offense on the field after converting a 37-yard pass on fourth down to Anthony Gould. 

The drive would be capped off by a few Damien Martinez rushes and a rushing touchdown by fifth-game starter Ben Gulbranson. Coach Jonathan Smith was very adamant about Gulbranson and the utilization of the passing game in his weekly press conference, safe to say the young quarterback achieved expectations.

Gulbranson’s final stats:

15-23, completion rating of 65%, 137 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a QBR of 143.9. His record now increases to 3-1 as the starter for the Beavers.

However, the real story of the game came on the defensive side of the ball. On the Golden Bears second drive of the game, quarterback Jack Plummer would turn the ball over to Kyrei Fisher-Morris and the Beaver defense inside Golden Bear territory. 

Beavers would make quick work out of the turnover opportunity by adding another score behind the legs of Damien Martinez and Jam Griffin finished the drive with a five-yard rushing touchdown, his third of the season. Griffin would leave the game early with an apparent injury and would not return. 

The Beavers continued to be plagued by injuries, losing Griffin, Colletto, and offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga. Coming into this game, the Beavers faced injuries to many key players around the field as John McCartan, Luke Musgrave, Deshaun Fenwick, and Chance Nolan remained sidelined for week 11.

Nevertheless, the Beavers continued to dominate. 

With the Golden Bear offense unable to establish anything they were forced to punt on four of their first five drives. In the second-quarter matters would worsen for the Golden Bears as elite punt-returner Anthony Gould would gash defenders on a 56-yard punt return touchdown, his second of the season. 

The only success the Golden Bears were able to achieve on the scoreboard came halfway through the second quarter. 

Running back Damien Martinez lost control of a handoff exchange between him and Gulbranson resulting in a defensive touchdown by Golden Bears defender Jeremiah Earby.  

At the start of the third quarter, the Golden Bears began to spark offensively through the air as Plummer would find a slew of receivers. Despite the slow success, the Golden Bears wouldn’t convert the drive into points, missing a field goal attempt on fourth down. Things just seemed to worsen for the Golden Bears as the Beaver offense fired on all cylinders. 

Everett Hayes would go 1-2 on field goals but tacked on five extra points, bringing his season total to 2-5 on field goals and 16-17 on extra points.

After performing an unintentional ‘fumblerooski’ on a 34-yard pass late in the third quarter, Tre’Shaun Harrison would find the endzone on an eight-yard touchdown pass for the Beavers’ fourth endzone appearance. Harrison would end the game with eight receptions for 79-yards and a single touchdown. 

With negative rushing yards until late in the 3rd quarter, the Golden Bears strapped their cleats tighter in hopes of turning an offensive drive into points. 

The resilient Beaver defense held strong holding the Golden Bears to a field goal after a 16-play, 57-yard drive. This would be the Golden Bears’ last true attempt at putting points on the board, thwarted by the impeccable Beaver defense. 

The Beavers responded with their offensive drive immediately by running down the throats of Golden Bear defenders. With Griffin, Fenwick, and Colletto all sidelined, the freshman Damien Martinez took on the task willingly with support from the rest of the running back room in Isaiah Newell and Kanoa Shannon. Martinez would end the game with 105-yards on 23 touches, his longest of the day for 15 yards. 

The Beavers managed to reach the end zone one last time with seven minutes left on the clock with Gulbranson’s second passing touchdown of the night, the third total. Jack Velling would be the target of the two-yard touchdown catch, his second of the season. 

When backup quarterback Tristan Gebbia entered the playing field, the game was all but over.

 After completing a quick slant to wide receiver John Dunmore, Gebbia and the Beavers got into victory formation to close the final minute of the game. 

As time expired, fans inside Reser Stadium began to sing, cheer, and reflect on Jonathan Smith’s second winning season as head coach of the Oregon State Beavers. 

By dominating early and often, the Oregon State Beavers were able to find immediate success against the California Golden Bears. As the Beavers look ahead to next week, it will be interesting to see where Coach Jonathan Smith looks to focus his team against the three-win Arizona Sun Devils. 

Will we see a return of Chance Nolan? Or has Ben Gulbranson established himself as the starter for the remainder of the season? 

Oregon State will play at Arizona State on Saturday, November 19th at 11:15 a.m. PST.