BERKELEY, Calif. — Thomas Tyner has been close to 100 percent for the Oregon State football team in the last two weeks after fighting the injury bug for the bulk of the season.
The Beavers were already in the midst of showing off a more diverse offense and Tyner was a welcome addition with his speed and power.
Tyner showed a few flashes in OSU’s 15-14 loss to Stanford on Oct. 26, gaining 52 yards on nine carries with a touchdown.
It was evident that the Beavers had a pretty good tandem in Tyner and Ryan Nall.
The Beavers want to establish the run, so it stands to reason that they would try to make Tyner one of the focal points of the offense.
Tyner scored another touchdown and led the Beavers with 41 yards on eight carries in Saturday's 37-23 loss at Cal.
But the Beavers were playing from behind for most of the game, which made it difficult to keep the run game going on a consistent basis in the second half. OSU finished with 104 yards on the ground.
“For me, that’s not enough but at the same time we still ran the ball,” interim coach Cory Hall said.
Hall said he likes what he’s seen in Tyner since he’s been healthy.
“Thomas has been very effective. Thomas Tyner has been a huge positive for our offense in this run game,” Hall said. “When a player comes in and he’s retired and he’s been retired from football for a lengthy amount of time, it’s a process getting him back and getting him going and I think you’re starting to see Thomas Tyner come into his own.
“Looking down the road, looking ahead, you plan on him playing a lot of football for us. He’s going to be a major factor in the run game for us offensively.”
The Beavers showed their diversity on the first possession of the game, using Tyner out of the backfield and running the ball with Nall out of the wildcat.
Garretson made a good read on a third-and-4 play and took the ball himself for 11 yards.
The Beavers capped the drive with a touchdown throw from Tuli Wily-Matagi to Nall. Wily-Matagi took a lateral pass from Garretson and then hit Nall, who had wheeled out of the backfield, for a 26-yard score.
Last week it was a pass to offensive tackle Fred Lauina.
Hall said those plays are another way for the players to have fun with football.
“The boys get excited about installing a trick play every week,” Hall said. “Like I said last week, It was executed just how we practiced it. Obviously, we knew when we throw in the flat and the bubbles, whoever receives that is going to attract a lot of attention. And then having Ryan Nall leak out late. It was designed to do what it did and it was well executed.”
The next drive didn’t go so well. Nall was stopped for no gain and Garretson threw an incompletion. The Beavers nearly pulled out a first on third and 10, but Andre Bodden stumbled after making a catch and fell a yard short.
The Beavers went to the wildcat and a pitch-back to Garretson on the next drive but wound up going three and out again.
OSU did manage a field goal to cut the lead to 17-10 after a run-heavy 49-yard drive.
Jordan Choukair hit another 49-yard field goal after the Beavers hit on a 25-yard pass from Garretson to tight end Noah Togiai.
Cal hit a field goal at the end of the second to push the lead to 20-13 at the break.
For the most part, OSU’s offense was middle of the road in the first half. The Beavers rushed for 82 yards and passed for 83. Nall had 32 yards rushing and Tyner 31.
Garretson hit Togiai twice for 39 yards. Togiai finished with three catches for 47 yards.
“We didn’t get the win and that’s the main goal every game,” Togiai said. “In order to win we’re going to have to run the ball a little bit better. I’m not blaming the backs, I’m not blaming anybody, but up front, O-line, tight ends, including myself have to be able to block better than we did today.”