OSU picks up pieces after loss to Huskies
No question Oregon State jumps from the proverbial frying pan into the fire as its run through a veritable minefield of schedule continues.
The Beavers (1-4 overall, 0-2 in Pac-12 play) visit 14th-ranked Southern Cal (4-1, 2-1) in a 1 p.m. game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. That's after losses to No. 11 Washington State (52-23 on Sept. 16) and No. 6 Washington (42-7 on Saturday).
The Trojans are coming off a gut-wrenching 30-27 loss against the Cougars in Pullman, which surely puts the Men of Troy in an ugly mood as they prepare to play host to Oregon State.
"(The Beavers) are probably not going to be happy to play us after this one," SC safety Chris Hawkins said after the down-to-the-wire defeat in The Palouse.
Southern Cal is banged up, with the loss of three starting offensive linemen, a pair of receivers and three key defenders to injury the past few weeks.
On the other hand, most of the Trojans' replacements are four- and five-star recruits, something the Beavers have a dearth of on their roster.
Oregon State is coming off a first half against the Huskies at Reser Stadium that was encouraging, even invigorating.
But the second half? Deflating.
Jake Browning threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns — all to Dante Pettis — as Washington scored 35 points after intermission en route to what turned into an easy win.
Defense kept Oregon State in it for a half, the Huskies taking only a 7-0 lead into the break.
Then the floodgates opened, and the Beavers were ill-equipped to handle the monsoon.
"We got some things going in the second half," Washington coach Chris Petersen said. "That's how it goes sometimes."
Oregon State had little going on offense, but the defense rose to the occasion early.
"We had a good first half on defense," Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said. "We threw a lot at them. We had some changeups. We used everything we could possibly throw at them. The kids executed pretty well, and we were able to make some plays.
"In the second half, when we got in position to do that, we weren't able to make those plays."
The Huskies took the ball to start the third quarter and, benefiting from a pair of pass-interference calls, went 87 yards on six plays for a touchdown. The team that is probably the cream of the Pac-12 crop right now never looked back.
"Coming out (the way the Beavers did in) the third quarter absolutely killed us on the defensive side of the ball," Andersen said. "We had some unfortunate penalties. (The Huskies) took over in the run game and got some throws down the field."
The Beavers have been within striking distance at halftime in each of their losses, but have been outscored 147-49 in the second half and 79-21 in the third quarter.
"That's an absolute, 100-percent trend," Andersen conceded. "It's difficult to deal with."
So was Oregon State's ineffectiveness on offense.
The Beavers managed eight first downs, 74 yards passing and 184 yards total offense. And 74 of the yards were gained on their one scoring drive late in the game, with Washington safely ahead 42-0.
"Didn't get a first down in the second half until (the Huskies) went to their backups," Andersen said. "You pretty much got no chance when that happens."
With quarterback Jake Luton out with a thoracic spinal fracture, Oregon State streamlined its offensive plan under Darell Garretson, opting for ball control and few vertical passes.
But tailback Ryan Nall found little running room, rushing nine times for 18 yards. Garretson completed 11 of 22 passes for only 74 yards, but had several on-target balls dropped by receivers.
"We were dysfunctional," Andersen said. "That's a really good defense, but you have to be able to get some first downs and put some points on the board. We could not run the ball at all."
Washington ended up with 32 first downs and 509 yards. The Huskies had a big advantage in first downs (14-3) and total yardage (194-65) but still led by only seven at intermission. Oregon State's defense covered well and put plenty of pressure on Browning, sacking him three times — 1 1/2 by linebacker Manase Hungalu.
"The first half, it felt like we made huge progress from the first few games," said Hungalu, who finished with a game-high 11 tackles. "We handled situations, whether it was the run or pass."
The second half, the bottom fell out, in part because the OSU offense could get nothing going.
"We just need to make sure everybody keeps their heads up and stays after it, no matter what happens with the offense," OSU linebacker Jonathan Willis said.
Garretson was asked to assess where the Beavers are as a team.
"We're playing hard," the senior QB said. "We're playing really hard. We have guys always in the (video) room, playing hard in practice, playing hard in the games.
"It's not like guys are easing up. We're fighting to the very last second. That's all we can ask for. We just have to keep executing, keep getting after it."
The Beavers have their own injury problems to deal with. Tight end Noah Togiai (ankle) did not play against Washington, and tailbacks Nall (ankle) and Artavis Pierce (head), receiver Trevon Bradford (knee), cornerback Jay Irvine (knee) and defensive end Paisa Savea (knee) all left the game and did not return.
Oregon State did regain the services of tailback Thomas Tyner, who, after missing the previous two games with hamstring and hip injuries, saw extended duty in the second half. The senior transfer from Oregon rushed nine times for 54 yards and scored his first touchdown as a Beaver, from 12 yards.
"It's good to get Thomas in a position to be healthy," Andersen said. "He was excited about having an opportunity."