OSU vs. Washington: A tale of two halves

Junior running back Ryan Nall runs through the open field after catching a pass behind the line of scrimmage.

Riley Youngman, Sports Chief

No. 6 Washington scores 35 points in the second half, rolls past OSU

As the Beaver football team kicked off against no. 6 Washington, there was an air of belief among the team and the home fans that this would be the game OSU turned their season around. Then the Beavers went down by seven following a long Husky drive, but still the belief was there. By halftime, the OSU defense had held their Pac-12 foes to a single score, and the buzz began to grow. Then, in an all too familiar fashion, it all went wrong in the second half for the Beavers.

Despite a halftime score of only 7-0, the Washington Huskies made the most out of their trip down south and pummeled the Oregon State Beavers by a score of 42-7 Saturday night. This was the Beaver’s first game since losing to Washington State two weeks ago.

Quarterback Darell Garretson made his first start for OSU since last season. Replacing injured Jake Luton, Garretson’s increased mobility and style of play allowed for the Beavers to switch up their play from previous games. However, Garretson only completed 11 of his 22 attempts and his receiving corp looked lost all night. The Beavers did not cross the 50-yard line until the second half.

“It was nice getting back out there, getting some time with the guys again. Just playing again, it was fun,” Garretson said. “Obviously I didn’t like the way things turned out, but in terms of getting back out there it felt good.”

Though the stats went against OSU, Garretson still feels that the team is putting in a satisfactory effort.

“We’re fighting until the very last second. That’s all you can do, that’s all we can ask for. We have to execute–keep executing–and keep getting after it,” Garretson said.

Running backs Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce finished atop the OSU receiving list for the game. Nall took in five catches for 44 yards. No other player finished with more than 10 yards receiving.

Until the last drive of the night for the Beavers, the could not find any regularity in running the ball. Washington’s front seven punished OSU all night. Post-game, head coach Gary Andersen credited the Huskies on their talent.

“There were no creases on the run game on the end. There guys in there, there was a crease here and a crease there,” Andersen said. “It was a dominant performance by a very talented defense.”

Without the ability to open the run game, Andersen knew the Beavers would have a hard time being able to score against the Huskies.

“You have to be able to get some first downs and you have to be able to put some points on the board,” Andersen said. “I know exactly where they are on the national stats and they’ve earned that right.”

Andersen, like previous games, took the final blame for the team’s performance.

Despite rain showers throughout the day leading into the game, the weather was sunny and the in the low sixties at kickoff. With school back in session now, the student section was full for the first half and into the beginning of the third quarter. However, as the second half continued, much of the crowd at Reser began to head for the exits. By the start of the fourth quarter, many of the 32,821 attendees were no longer around.

Overall, OSU could not slow down the Huskies offense. Except for a promising second quarter, the Beaver defense was dominated by Washington. The team committed eight penalties for a total of 86 yards–most of which came on the defensive side of the ball. The team also struggled with missed tackles and blown assignments through the game as well.

“From the defensive side, it felt good,” linebacker Menase Hungalu said of the first half performance. However, as the team has seen already this season, the second half showing was much different than the first.

“We need to make sure everyone stays 100 percent and keeps their head up, no matter what happens on the offense,” Hungalu said. “There’s too many missed tackles. We can’t have missed tackles. Those are effort plays,”

Hungalu noted that the mistakes that were made were in a large part due to miscommunication and individual mistakes. Yet, he also made a point to say that these parts of the game were correctable.

“Our first quarter needs to be as good as our fourth quarter,” linebacker Jonathan Willis added.

Coming out after halftime, the momentum OSU’s defense created was deflated after Washington took the ball 87 yards to open the third quarter and scored off a 5-yard pass from Browning to Pettis. Browning would connect with Pettis two more times for scoring plays before the game was over.

Running back Artavis Pierce was shaken up on a hit that saw him flip through the air and land on his back in the third quarter. He left the game and was replaced by Tyner. Defensive end Paisa Sevea also went down in the second half with an apparent knee injury. He was able to limp off the field under his own power.

Although the OSU special teams did well with managing Dante Pettis’s return game, the Beaver defense allowed Pettis 105 yards and three touchdowns on the game.

Browning finished the game with 293 yards passing and three touchdowns, and tacked on another 31 yards gained rushing (five net including sacks for loss counted against this stat) with one touchdown there as well.

The Beavers will be on the road next weekend as they head south to face USC.

Three takeaways from the game:

1. OSU’s offense started slow and did not pick up much from there. Finishing with 184 total yards on the night–74 of which came on the team’s last drive of the game–Garretson never seemed completely synched with his receivers. The running game was equally as troubling. Although Thomas Tyner was able to work his way back into the team and finished with the only Beaver score on the night, Artavis Pierce left the game injured and Ryan Nall struggled to break out all night. Nick Porebski punted eight times in the game.

2. OSU’s defense rebounded well after giving up 98 yards and a score on Washington’s first drive of the game to hold the Huskies going into halftime to one touchdown. Led by Manase Hungalu recording 1.5 sacks and 11 total tackles on the night, the Beaver defense built up a strong momentum going into the break. Yet, Washington came back from the half firing on all cylinders. Scoring on six of their eight second half drives, the Huskies offense dominated OSU through the third and fourth quarters. They finished with 509 total yards on offense–314 of which came in that second half.

3. Washington is good. Really good. The Huskies’ no. 6 ranking is well deserved, as coach Andersen alluded to in the post-game presser. The OSU run game was doomed from the start, and Washington’s front seven were relentless the entire game. If not for the Beavers’ final drive against a largely second-string defense, OSU would have finished the game with under 100 yards on the ground and without a score.