Beavers fall to No. 20 Stanford, remain inspired by interim coach Cory Hall

Interim Head Coach Cory Hall in his first game at the reigns of the OSU football team. 

Riley Youngman, Sports Chief

The weather at kickoff was sunny and in the 60’s—a picturesque October night in Corvallis. Despite the unusual Thursday night game time, 30,000 people made their way to Reser Stadium. For the first time all season, the student section was full and rocking at the end of the game. The scene was set for the Oregon State Beavers to take home their first conference win of the season and deliver interim head coach Cory Hall his first ever victory.

For nearly four complete quarters, the team was primed to do just that. Leading 14-9 against no. 20 ranked Stanford with 3:31 remaining in the game and the ball, OSU was set to run the clock down. Then, in a nod to Halloween and to the horror of the OSU fans, running back Ryan Nall fumbled the ball and Stanford took over on the Beaver 40-yard line. With 20 seconds left on the clock, the Cardinal’s quarterback Keller Chryst found receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside for the game-winning touchdown. Oregon State, and the Beaver faithful, would walk away empty-handed.

“Disappointed? Yes, but still encouraged, and still encouraging all of our players,” Hall said. “The season is not a wash because anytime you are able to line up and put a helmet on and compete, that’s always a blessing.”

Yet, with the loss, the mood from the sideline and in the press conference following the game did not match the mood from earlier in the season. Hall, and his defensive players in particular, showed excitement and energy following the loss.

“Coach Rushing, Coach Hall, they’ve raised some dogs,” Hicks-Onu said, referring to safety coach John Rushing and Hall, who was the cornerbacks coach before his promotion. “We gonna eat, plain and simple.”

OSU’s defense played well on the night. Stanford only punched in three field goals up to the game-winning touchdown. The Cardinal’s rush attack stalled at 81 yards. Heisman candidate Bryce Love was sidelined for the game with an ankle injury and did not dress. Chryst completed only 16 of 33 passes for 141 yards. OSU’s Omar Hicks-Uno snagged his first career pick and linebacker Manase Hungalu dropped three interceptions. This was not the Beaver defense that fans had become accustomed to seeing after the early season losses.

“Every down we try to go out and win every play. Every loss, it sucks. But we are going to take this pain and we are going to use it for the next game and fight,” said linebacker Jonathan Willis.

The fans and students electrified the atmosphere in Reser. Though seats remained empty for much of the game, those that made their way to Corvallis for the Thursday night game made their presence known—and did so for all four quarters. The official attendance was marked at 30,912.

Looking past the gut-wrenching loss for the Beavers, the team played what was arguably their best football of the season. Post game, Hall lamented the fact the Beavers dropped a close game for the second week in a row, but feels the team is in the right spot.

“My mentality, I always believe that a team is going to take on the identity of their head coach and I’m no one to be pushed around,” Hall said. “Obviously, you’re going to develop a team like that and everyone is going to take notice to it.”

For Hall, the last two games have signified one thing—there is a change taking place in the Beaver football program.

“I don’t want to say changing, it has changed. It’s just a different mentality,” Hall said in reference to the change in the team’s identify and energy since Gary Andersen’s departure.

A petition started on Oct. 27 from what is described as players from the team itself is asking that Hall be appointed the permanent head coach of the program. As of Oct. 29, the petition had over 1,300 signatures. Both those associated with the program as well as fans have begun using the hashtag “#HALLin” to express their support of the interim coach. On Twitter, players including Trevon Bradford, Isaiah Hodgins and Kee Whetzel, among others have added to that conversation.

“If Coach Hall stays… I stay… Beaver Nation y’all see what this man is doin for us in just 2 games imagine what’s gone happen in a year,” outside linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu tweeted on Oct. 28.

In a report from the Oregonian the day before, OSU Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said that Hall is the right person for the job in this place and time, and did not comment on Hall’s future with the program.

As Hall noted, the expectations for the Beaver football program have changed, and people are taking notice.

The Beavers head down to Berkeley next weekend to take on Cal. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.