Beavers strong second half scorches Sun Devils’ homecoming

Freshman+quarterback+Ben+Gulbranson+looks+to+the+field+while+on+the+sideline+with+his+main+receiving+target%2C+Anthony+Gould%2C+during+a+game+against+the+California+Golden+Bears+on+Nov.+12.+Gulbranson+had+to+deal+with+Gould+being+out+today%2C+as+was+still+able+to+rack+up+188+yards+on+15-21+completions+for+one+touchdown.+

Rafael Juarez: OMN Photographer

Freshman quarterback Ben Gulbranson looks to the field while on the sideline with his main receiving target, Anthony Gould, during a game against the California Golden Bears on Nov. 12. Gulbranson had to deal with Gould being out today, as was still able to rack up 188 yards on 15-21 completions for one touchdown.

Casey Smith, Sports Contributor

The No. 23 ranked Oregon State Beavers (7-3, 4-3 PAC-12) traveled to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona to match up against the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-7, 2-5 PAC-12). 

In their homecoming game, the Sun Devils looked to leave seniors with a final home win while the Beavers aim to add one more to the win column.

Plagued with key injuries such as running back Deshaun Fenwick, safety Jaydon Grant, wide receiver Anthony Gould, and utility player Jack Colletto, the Beavers looked to chase their best record since 2012.

After winning the opening coin toss and deferring to the second half, the Beaver defense held strong on the Sun Devil’s opening drive. 

Immediately, the Beavers got to work. 

Having outscored opponents 70-35 in the first quarter of games played this season, quarterback Ben Gulbranson and the Beaver offense converted a defensive stop into early points. Gulbranson completed his first five passes, including an impressive out-route by Silas Bolden against the sideline.

The nine-play 78-yard drive would be capped off with a five yard rushing touchdown from Damien Martinez, his sixth of the season.

In his second drive of the game, Sun Devil quarterback Trenton Bourguet showed off his elusive playmaking skills, driving deep into Beaver territory. 

However, the Sun Devils weren’t able to convert the drive into points as Sun Devil kicker Carter Brown missed a momentum-crushing field goal from 29 yards out.

When the Beavers got the ball back early into the second quarter, Martinez would help the team drive into Sun Devil territory to no avail. Gulbranson would be sacked on third down by a heavy Arizona State pass rush.

Kicker Everett Hayes would miss from 44-yards out and the Beavers would walk away empty-handed.

The Sun Devil offense began to spark in the second quarter behind the crafty playmaking of Bourguet, but on third down, the Beaver defense came up big with a sack from Easton Mascarenes-Arnold forcing a punt in a stagnant second quarter.

Hoping to capitalize off of multiple defensive stops, the Sun Devils began to stretch the field behind the legs of Xazavian Valladay on a 39-yard rush. A few plays later, Valladay would find the endzone for Arizona State’s first score late in the second quarter.

Attempting to take the lead back before halftime, Gulbranson and the Beaver offense were able to quickly drive down the field for a 21-yard Jack Velling reception touchdown, his third touchdown of the year.

Everett Hayes would tack on the extra point to make it 14-7.

With a minute left on the clock in the first half, Bourguet would come up a yard short on fourth down and turn the ball back over once more.

With mere seconds left on the clock, the Sun Devils sacked Gulbranson, running out the remainder of the half.

Starting the second half with the ball, the Beaver offense continued to drive against the Sun Devil defense. Gulbranson was able to spread the field using both his legs and his arm throughout the entire matchup. 

With support from a pass-interference penalty on first and 15, Damien Martinez would rush into the endzone from 12 yards out for his second touchdown of the game making it 21-7.

Martinez would end the game with 22 rushes, 138 yards, and two touchdowns, on an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Martinez also notched his fifth game in a row of 100 plus rushing yards.

As Trent Bray’s defense stood tall for four quarters, the Sun Devils failed to convert any points, failing to score the remainder for the game.

Coming out of a timeout with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Beavers knocked on the door once again after a long third-down conversion from Gulbranson to WR Tyjon Lindsey. 

On third and goal, Gulbranson would use his legs to find the endzone on a delayed draw behind the back of offensive lineman Jake Levengood, extending the Beavers lead to 28-7.

Sun Devil fans began to file out of the stands early in the fourth quarter, as Bourguet and the Sun Devil offense were forced to punt. The disruption from the secondary throughout the game made it difficult for Bourguet to reach his receivers downfield.

Ahead of multiple scores, the Beavers found success on the scoreboard one last time on the back of the special teams unit. After a muffed punt recovered by Skylar Thomas, the Beavers were spotted right in the red zone deep in Sun Devil territory.

Everett Hayes would make the most of the opportunity, tacking on three more points from 26-yards out, making it 31-7.

With nine minutes remaining, the Beaver secondary would force a quick three and out against the devils. Backup quarterback Tristan Gebbia would see the field late in the game alongside Kanoa Shannon and Isaiah Newell.

Gebbia would show off his skills by converting on fourth down for a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Jeremiah Noga before running out the clock.

Jonathan Smith and the Oregon State Beavers now move to (8-3, 5-3 PAC-12) as Arizona State falls to (3-8, 2-6 PAC-12) under interim coach Shaun Aguano.

The Beavers now look ahead to the most anticipated game of the season against the Oregon Ducks on Nov. 26.