Timmy Hernandez

Oregon State wide receiver Timmy Hernandez dives for a pass at Colorado State. The Beavers will rely on Hernandez to pick up the slack with Seth Collins out.

Anibal Ortiz, Mid-Valley Media

With Seth Collins out indefinitely with an illness, Oregon State football fans will see a lot more of Timmy Hernandez at receiver.

That started in the Colorado game as Hernandez stepped into the gap left by Collins and caught seven passes for 65 yards to lead the Beavers.

Hernandez, a junior, brings plenty of experience to the table for the Beavers. He started nine games last season and has proven to be a reliable receiver who can move the chains but also come up with the big play.

Quarterback Darell Garretson said Hernandez is a player who knows his job and will execute it on every play.

"Just being a guy that I can count on, like a third down that we needed big time in the game to keep that drive going," Garretson said. "Just a for-sure hands type of guy and he'll always be in the right spot at the right time, so that's the one thing I can depend on with Timmy."

The Colorado game was the first good chance for Hernandez and Garretson to find some chemistry on the field.

Hernandez did not catch a pass against Washington and had one reception for six yards at USC.

"I think it helps getting a couple games down with Darell and they played a lot of man coverage (last) Saturday so there were a lot of opportunities," Hernandez said. "Darell said I trust my guy to win and we connected on a lot of passes."

The Colorado performance was an OSU career-best in catches for Hernandez. His targets had been limited in the first six games.

He entered the game with five catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. He finished last year with 19 catches for 241 yards and a score.

"I think I played good but whenever you have a good game you're not going to sit there and look at all the catches you made, you're going to look at the ones you didn't make and there were those two, one early in the game on a deep post and the last play right before the missed field goal," Hernandez said. "You look back on that and if I hang on to that ... Jordan's kick was about a yard short and if I hang on to that and we're five yards closer, the kick probably goes in.

"So am I proud of the way I played? Yeah, but it wasn't perfect. There's still a long way to go and seven catches for 65 yards really isn't that outstanding of game."

As a team, the Beavers had their best offensive game of the season with 569 total yards.

If that carries over to the remaining games, there should be plenty of opportunities for Hernandez and several other receivers.

Hernandez said the offense has been a work in progress this season.

"Earlier in the year we were struggling to get up and down the field," he said. "But once we got to the red zone we were punching it in every time. I think the first like eight times we got into the red zone in the season we scored a touchdown.

"And then versus USC it was the opposite. We were driving up and down the field but once we got into the red zone we got a turnover, I think we got stopped on fourth down a couple times and got field goals. The last game was a little of both. We got field goals and touchdowns in the red zone.

"So right now it's about piecing everything together. We've proven we can drive down the field, we've proven we can score in the red zone. We've just got to put them together."

In the offseason, Hernandez focused on getting off press coverage and becoming better with his hands and feet.

He credits receivers coach Jason Phillips for his development.

"I think coach Phillips was a big help in that and I think I've become a lot better since he's become a coach," Hernandez said.

The Beavers will miss Collins, but Hernandez is ready to help the team avoid a noticeable drop in the pass game.

"Obviously losing Seth sucks," Garretson said. "I love that kid to death and it brings me a bunch of pain and a lot of emotion when thinking about it, losing him. I hope he gets his year back, I think is going to.

"But Timmy stepped up. Timmy's going to step up, that's just the way he is, that's the way he's motored and so he'll do a great job."

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