Oregon State’s offense helped lead to a big road win Saturday night in Berkeley. DJ Uiagalelei had his best game as a Beaver, throwing for 5 touchdowns, 275 yards and completing 76% of his passes while the offense only kicked the ball once all game. . Carr turned to redshirt freshman Fernando Mendoza at quarterback. Mendoza was making his first career start, and he caused huge problems for OSU’s defense. Either Fernando Mendoza is a future superstar or OSU’s defense needs to make some adjustments (probably both).
Here’s what happened to Carl:
OSU opened the game on the drive and forced turnovers down low at midfield. The Beavs were leisurely marching down the field until DJ hit Jack Velling for a touchdown (the theme of the night). After failing to convert a 4th down at midfield, Justin Wilcox elected to play conservative football and converted a 4th-and-8 from the OSU 38-yard line Punt on the ball. The approach paid off as the Oregon State offense punted (but it would be their only punt the rest of the night). Carr took advantage of his position on the field and hit a 20-yard field goal to make OSU 7-3. Silas Bolden made a great kick return and then Cal took an unnecessary roughing penalty, giving the offense amazing field position. Just like last week, the coaching staff invited Aidan Chiles to play on the Biffs’ third offensive series of the night. Chiles eventually hit Silas Bolden for a touchdown in the back corner of the end zone, but it was a gamble (it took two timeouts and a false start). Leading 14-3, things were looking good; but Oregon State decided to temporarily add implosion. It all started with an unexpected offsides call following Chiles’ touchdown to Borden. Carr wasn’t surprised, though, as he caught the high-bouncing sideline kick and ran it all the way back to the OSU 19-yard line. Carr only needed a few plays to score a touchdown and return immediately. On Biff’s next possession, Silas Bolden made some gorgeous penalties to score the first goal, but the miss once again provided Carr with excellent field position. Carr seized the opportunity and launched a fast-paced offense against an already shaky OSU defense. In the blink of an eye, OSU led 14-3 and Cal State led 17-14. DJ Uiagalelei and Damien Martinez helped engineer the most important drives of the first half; he finished with 11 plays, 75 yards rushing when the team absolutely needed it. DJ Uiagalelei faced tremendous pressure on fourth-and-goal, but hit Jack Velling for another touchdown. Both teams happily entered halftime with a score of 21-17.
Things got crazy in the second half. The first five possessions of the second half all resulted in touchdowns. OSU held on to a slim lead as Fernando Mendoza and company were breaking down the Beavers’ defense. Finally, early in the fourth quarter, OSU’s defense finally recovered a fumble. DJ again threw a long pass to Anthony Gould, and then second-string star Isaac Hawkins caught it for a touchdown, giving the Biffs some breathing room, making it 49-32. On the next possession, Fernando Mendoza made one of his only mistakes when a low pass was picked off by Jermaine McCoy. Oregon State bought time with over nine minutes of offense that ended with a field goal. Cal’s offense was not denied as they scored two points late in the game to make the final score 52-40 OSU.
- Silas Bolden was so terrible as a kick returner that Carr had no idea what to do on kickoffs. They tried squib kicks, they tried kicking the ball to Akili Arnold, they tried kicking it out of the back of the end zone. Bolden was a special teams weapon tonight, always providing great field position for Oregon State.
- The Beavers offense was great tonight. They had 500 yards (until the final kneel), and although Carr matched their firepower for much of the night, they never panicked. Brian Lindgren also called some great offensive plays.
- Anthony Gould had his best game of the season and looked closer to 100% than he has all season.
- Besides the contested field, special teams were a big reason why OSU won this game. Atticus Sappington is awesome.
- What was that decision about the offside kick? Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but this decision single-handedly gave Carr a boost that made this game more nerve-wracking than it should have been.
- I also strongly disagree with the stance of automatically bringing in Aidan Chiles in the third series of every game. Aidan Chiles had a great performance tonight and scored a touchdown, but the coaching staff needs to think about the playbook and process. It’s very difficult to use two quarterbacks in a tight game, especially one where you have a lead and momentum. Early quarterback swaps obviously cause problems (see waste of penalties and timeouts). I may be in the minority here, but it’s DJ Uiagalelei’s job not to bring in a backup quarterback unless the offense is stalling and the team needs a spark.
- What kind of defensive effort is this? This was unlike a defense that nearly shut out Utah State. Cal’s rushing ability is strong, but only 7.3 yards per carry? ! Ouch. Fernando Mendoza had a solid performance, but this defense should struggle against a redshirt freshman quarterback making his first start midway through the season.
- UCLA defeated WSU and scored four points while controlling the time of possession. The Beavers need to take care of the football and play better defense next week against the Bruins.
- In the Pac-12, winning on the road is never easy. OSU had a great win and its best start to the season since 2013. Let’s move on Beaver Nation!