The last time the Oregon State football team won a road game was Oct. 4, 2014, at Colorado, when the Beavers edged the Buffaloes 36-31.
Since that time, they have lost 20 consecutive away from Reser Stadium.
Oregon State will look to finally put an end to that streak on Saturday at Nevada (4:02 p.m. kickoff), one week after ending a 12-game overall losing streak.
“Obviously a win is a huge deal but doing it outside of Reser Stadium, that’s something we haven’t done in a while,” redshirt quarterback Conor Blount said. “I think that would be a huge boost coming back home into Pac-12 play.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren was on the Colorado staff the last time the Beavers won on the road, and said the Buffaloes went through a similar deal in his time there.
“I think it could be a really big step for the program to go get a win on Saturday,” he said.
Breaking the road losing streak hasn’t been a topic that has elicited a lot of conversation among the players.
“I think it’s more so that we have to go to somebody else’s house and play … that we’re going there and we have to bring our own energy, like coach (Jonathan) Smith says, because nobody is going to give it to you at their place especially,” Blount said.
Still, sophomore receiver Isaiah Hodgins went so far as to call it a “mandatory” — or must-win — game for the Beavers.
“I just think we have to go out there and enforce our will and prove that we’re way better than these guys and try to dominate them like we did this week (against Southern Utah),” he said. “I feel like we can, I feel like it would be a huge win for us.
“We haven’t won a road game in a while so that would be a lot of good momentum going 2-1 into our first Pac-12 game at home against Arizona. I think this is a huge game for us and I think the team knows that, too.”
The Beavers (1-1) may get more of a true test as to where they are at heading into the Pac-12 slate, which begins next week with the home game against Arizona.
Oregon State was no match at then-No. 5 Ohio State in the opener (77-31), then dominated the first half and got through the second half to knock off FCS opponent Southern Utah (48-25) last week.
Nevada is also 1-1 after blowing out FCS Portland State at home 72-19 in the opener and falling 41-10 at Vanderbilt a week ago.
“They can spread you out offensively and they like to run the ball,” Smith said. “They do a good job with that.”
The Wolf Pack are averaging 125 yards a game on the ground and 318 through the air.
Quarterback Ty Gangi has completed 38 of 65 passes for 558 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Receivers Kaleb Fossum (12-195) and McLane Mannix (10-218, 3 TDs) have been his main targets. Four different backs have carried the ball at least 10 times.
“They certainly have a vertical passing game and they’re able to attack down on the field on you probably more than any team we’ve faced this year,” defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar said. “They will present a lot of problems in the pass coverage.”
Secondary coach Greg Burns said Gangi truly understands the system they run on offense.
“He trusts his receivers so they’re going to put the ball in the air so that’s going to be a good opportunity for us to try to make plays on the ball,” he said.
Smith did not announce publicly this week who would start at quarterback — Blount or Jake Luton — but whoever is under center will face a Wolf Pack defense that employs a 3-3-5 defense, one the Beavers don’t see often.
“This isn’t something you see week in and week out with what they’re doing so that can create some problems, especially up front with identifying who’s the fourth rusher, the fifth rusher, movement,” Smith said.
Have the Beavers found a way to counteract the different alignment?
“I hope so," Smith said. “We’re going to find out on Saturday. I do think we’ve got a good group of offensive coaches who know what they’re doing and putting a good plan together. Like I said, these kids have been dialed in and it’s time to go play.”