As first games go, Oregon State’s offense had a pretty solid performance in last Friday’s 52-36 nonconference football loss to Oklahoma State.
The Beavers had 448 total yards of offense, with 281 through the air and 167 on the ground.
“I think from a first-game standpoint there were a lot of positives that we pointed out to the guys,” offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said Tuesday afternoon.
Lindgren was pleased with their third-down conversion percentage (65 percent, 13 for 20) and thought the Beavers were efficient in the red zone, where they scored four touchdowns and had a field goal in five trips.
Maybe the best number of all was zero, the number of turnovers.
"To be out there Week 1 and have no turnovers is a win in itself," quarterback Jake Luton saud. "It’s usually Week 1 can be really, really sloppy. You watch games around the country and that’s kind of just how it goes.:
Luton was 23-for-42 passing for 251 yards and three touchdowns while Tristan Gebbia was 3 of 7 for 30 yards and a late score.
“We were expecting to play well and I think we played decently,” Luton said. “I think we can definitely play better. We can’t stall out there in the second quarter that’s definitely something that can’t happen.”
The stall out Luton alluded to was three consecutive three-and-outs that helped turn a 10-10 tied into a 31-10 deficit as the Cowboys scored a touchdown following each punt.
Lindgren said a couple mistakes proved costly in those particular drives.
“There was one where we had a false start (on first down),” he said. “The other ones we just didn’t execute as well as we needed to execute and that ultimately ended up costing us. We found ourselves a little bit, but were too far behind and we never could catch up.”
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Falling behind also altered the game plan a little bit as the Beavers began to go away from the run game a bit.
Jermar Jefferson, who had 1,380 yards last season to help him earn the Pac-12’s freshman offensive player of the year, finished with 87 yards but had only 16 attempts and never seemed to get in a good rhythm.
Artavis Pierce had eight carries for 53 yards and B.J. Baylor had four attempts for 13 yards.
“We were trying to get some of those other guys involved because we’ve got three pretty talented backs and that’s something I think we’ve looked at as coaches is trying to get a guy back there and getting him into a little rhythm and feel,” Lindgren said. “The other tough part of that is when you’re down you’re having to lean toward the pass a little bit more and it’s a little bit tougher to get the rhythm in the run game because you’re trying to play catch-up. There was a little bit of that but we’re going to look at ways to try to get Jermar a little better rhythm.”
Even Luton, not known for his scrambling ability, finished with 10 yards on five attempts with a sack for minus-10 yards factored into the total.
“When I was a freshman at Idaho I ran a lot,” Luton said. “It’s something I know I can do but definitely not something Oregon State fans have seen much at all.”
While Luton has been able to be more mobile, he’s not a dual threat quarterback by any means and he’s not afraid to say that. But the threat of running, he hopes, will help spring the running backs for a big gain from time to time.
“I think to help Jermar and AP, if those defensive ends and backers have to respect the fact that I could keep the ball it just opens up the hole a little bit more for them,” Luton said.
Receiver Isaiah Hodgins had a solid start to his junior season with nine receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns. On the Biletnikoff Award watch list for the nation’s best receiver, Hodgins could draw more attention beginning this week at Hawaii.
If Hawaii decides to double Hodgins, the Beavers are confident in the rest of the receiving cast and others to break out.
“If someone is going to do that then you’ve got other guys and other weapons that you can go to, whether it be the run game or Tyjon Lindsey or Jessiah (Irish) or Champ (Flemings),” Lindgren said. “I feel pretty good that we’re pretty balanced offense that way.”