Cory Hall saw a different kind of emotion on the field seconds after Jordan Choukair’s 52-yard field goal attempt fell harmlessly to the Reser Stadium turf late Saturday afternoon.
Choukair, who booted four field goals on the day, came up just short in his attempt to tie the Beavers’ game against Colorado and send it to overtime.
That meant a tough-to-swallow 36-33 Pac-12 loss to the Buffaloes in a game the Beavers dominated when it comes to the numbers.
They had alomst 200 more total yards (569-385) and more than an 11-minute edge in time of possession (35:40-24:20).
But the only numbers that mattered were on the scoreboard.
In a frustrating and at times forgettable season, the Beavers were on the cusp of the biggest pick me up following a tumultuous week that rocked the program to the core.
It would have been easy to see the players drop their heads and say “hear-we-go-again.”
Instead Oregon State’s interim coach saw a look in the eyes of many that screamed “they can’t wait to play next Saturday.”
He called it a healthy emotion.
“There was more of a disappointment because today was like if we were 6-0 and this was our first loss,” Hall said. “Those boys were determined.”
It would have been easy for the Beavers to simply go through the motions after news came out late Monday morning that their head coach, Gary Andersen, and the university had mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately, despite being under contract through the 2021 season.
The season was spiraling out of control at 1-5 overall and four straight blowout losses.
But Hall, who was named the interim coach, was not about to let that happen.
Hall said the coaches brought energy and passion to practice and showed the players they were not “going to roll over and play dead,” and “we really are here for you.”
“You saw a staff get a lot closer, you saw players get a lot closer,” Hall said.
And that translated on the field where the Beavers finally showed what they want to be their true identity: to run the ball, be physical on both sides and to, as Hall put it, “inflict pain.”
The Beavers ran 280 yards — Ryan Nall had 172 on 24 carries and three touchdowns.
They passed for 289 — Darrel Garretson was 20 for 37 with one interception.
They piled up a season-high 569 yards of total offense, the 17th most in program history.
Garretson said Hall set the tone this week.
“You can just tell by the way he coaches the DBs, how passionate he is about the game,” Garretson said. “It rubs off on a lot of people without a doubt and it makes it fun to go out there and play.”
The Beavers have more than a week before they play again, when they host Stanford on Oct. 26, a Thursday night battle in Reser.
So the next steps are to get back to the basics, be competitive in practice and continue to establish their brand and identity.
“This team is getting better and will continue to get better and do things right,” Hall said.
Hall has five more games as interim coach while Oregon State begins to put together a list of candidates to lead the program into the future.
If Hall is interested, he made quite a first impression.
“Whether I’m in this position or not, those boys have come together tight and they’re determined,” he said. “I felt that they fought hard, I felt they showed a different side of Beaver football than I’ve seen since I’ve been here and I couldn’t be more happy for them.
“… Times are changing.”