Oregon State’s offense had found a good amount of success on its opening possession through the first five football games of the season.
The Beavers had scored four touchdowns and missed a 50-yard field goal entering last Saturday’s game against then-No. 15 Utah.
But the Utes, who have moved up to No. 13, stopped Artavis Pierce on the first two plays for no yards and then sacked quarterback Jake Luton on the third for a 4-yard loss.
Life didn’t get any easier for the Beavers after that, either.
Oregon State finished with season lows of 48 yards rushing and 131 yards passing for an abysmal 217 total yards in a 52-7 Pac-12 thumping.
The Beavers (2-4, 1-2) were averaging 203 on the ground and 272.6 through the air entering the game.
“You have to go back and kind of own that performance and we talked about that at a team, players, coaches we have to own that and we’ve got to learn from it,” offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said Tuesday.
Lindgren said some of the mistakes the Beavers made were to the credit of the Utes and the scheme they ran.
“They exposed us in some areas and we’ve got some things to clean up and it was a good lesson,” Lindgren said. “It was tough Sunday but I think our guys will learn from it and move forward.”
Pierce finished with just 21 net yards on 10 carries and had one that went for 16. The Beavers averaged 2.2 yards per rush on 22 attempts.
Luton was 17-for-34 passing but averaged 7.7 yards per completion and 3.85 per attempt. He was averaging 12.9 per completion and 8.05 per attempt.
“They were bringing a ton of pressure and trying to get the ball out of his hands quick and we were trying to be able to get the ball downfield and challenge those guys downfield and we just weren’t able to hit any of those deeper passes,” Lindgren said.
The message this week, as the Beavers prepare to face another tough defensive team in California (4-2, 1-2), was to remind the players of what they accomplished up to that game.
“And these guys have got to choose to respond to it,” coach Johnathan Smith said. “Coaches included, we can’t just be hanging our heads. I don’t think we’re going to come out and be worried about one game and didn’t have a great performance and keep on dwelling on it. Focus on the task at hand. This is a good opponent and we’re going to have to play well to move the ball and score, but we’re capable of doing it.”
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While Lindgren said the Utes exposed some aspects of the Beavers’ offense, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed at the time.
“That’s always the thing with the film, you come in and it’s usually never as good or never as bad as you think and we were really close on a lot of things, just one or two guys here in a certain situation,” he said. “To play a talented defense like Utah you’ve got to have all 11 guys on and there were times, particularly in the first half, where we were moving it and then just there was a penalty or a missed assignment or maybe a lack of detail in a technique that good teams expose you on that and just too many of those in the first half that caused us to not move the ball.”
Star receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who had eight catches for 77 yards but failed to find the end zone for the first time this season, agrees with that sentiment.
“I just feel like there were some plays out there that could have been made that we were close to,” he said. “Often times we were getting a drive going and then we shot ourselves in the foot again. There were times when maybe balls were slightly this way or one way and we weren’t really on the same page. Routes were off and it was just kind of a sluggish day from an offensive standpoint, so it’s definitely something we have to pick up.”
He also credited the Utes from allowing the Beavers many explosive plays.
“They did a good job of trying to take away our big plays and trying to limit those and trying to keep everything underneath,” he said. “We have to go back to the drawing board and prepare better next time.”
Hick-Onu to transfer
Oregon State safety Omar Hick-Onu, who missed last season with a torn ACL but had played in all six games this year with three starts, has left the program and has entered the transfer portal.
Hicks-Onu, who had eight tackles last Saturday against Utah, had 28 total tackles and one tackle for loss this season.
He was listed behind senior Jalen Moore on the depth chart for this week’s game at Cal.
A fifth-year senior, Hick-Onu, who redshirted one year and missed last season with the injury, can apply for a sixth year.
Whittley gets another year
Defensive lineman Jordan Whittley's eligibility clock has been extended and he is now a redshirt junior.
Whittley is a transfer from Laney College. He has played in five games with one start and has five total tackles with three for loss.