What a game. What a finish. Oregon State did what many thought they couldn’t. They played four quarters of football and then some, and walked away with an upset win over Cal.
The win marks the first Pac-12 victory for head coach Gary Andersen, and snaps a 12-game conference losing streak for the Beavers. The last time the Beavers tasted Pac-12 victory - November 15th, 2015, when they upset No.5 Arizona State, 35-27.
This win may not be on the same level on the upset meter, but it can be argued that it means more for the Oregon State program.
The biggest knock on this team all season, well, it hasn't been just one thing: They lacks push on the offensive line. Darell Garretson looks rattled. The defense can't make stops. The team can't play a full 48 minutes. The list could go on. However, on Saturday night the Beavers put it all together and perhaps gave us a glimpse at what Andersen is building inside Reser.
From the get go the game was all Oregon State thanks to an inspired, dominating performance from the defense. Oregon State’s defense set the tone right out of the gate, stopping everything Cal sent its way. In fact, after its first two drives Cal only had 25 total yards of offense, and two punts to show for it.
With the defense locking down, it came upon the offense to make a statement. At large points this season the OSU offense has looked lost, unable to really muster anything. That was not the case in this game. The offense was just as locked in as the defense and marched right down the field on its opening drive. They settled for a short field goal, but still the statement was made.
Led by a record setting performance by Ryan Nall, the Beavers just kept eating up yards. They should have taken a 17-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Darell Garretson threw a pick-six with under a minute remaining to give Cal life. Still OSU had a rare halftime lead.
The Beavers opened the second half with a bang going 80-yards on one play thanks to the legs of Ryan Nall. It looked like OSU might be ready to pull away, but thanks to some great halftime adjustments from Cal head coach Sonny Dykes, the Bears responded. All of the sudden we had two offenses trading blows, matching each other score for score, with neither team able to land the knockout blow.
Then in the final minutes of the game Cal made all the plays it needed to. They scored a touchdown with just over two minutes to play, cutting the OSU lead to just three. From there the defense made a huge stand, got the ball back, and kicked the game tying field goal with five seconds left on the clock.
As overtime approached the feeling inside Reser was palpable. You could feel that the Beavers felt they would win this game. After holding Cal to a FG, it came down to the offense to make it or break it.
First, let’s go back to the first half when Garretson threw that pick-six. Without that mistake, one of the few he made on this day, the Beavers wouldn’t be in overtime in the first place. So perhaps it was fitting that he single-handedly slammed the door. On a play that nearly fell apart, Garretson bobbled the snap, regained possession, then scampered right up the middle untouched for the win. Before the referee could even blow the final whistle Garretson had sprinted over to the still packed student section, his team close behind. With one run the Beaver snapped a losing streak, gave their coach his first conference win, and made a statement about the future in Corvallis.
FINAL SCORE: Beavers 47 – Bears 44, OT
Ryan Nall. The “Wrecking Nall.” The “NallDozzer.” Call him what you will. On this night he was simply fantastic. As a team the Beavers ran all over Cal to the tune of 474 rushing yards, a team record vs. a conference opponent. That number was mostly thanks to the legs of Oregon’s own, Ryan Nall. The Central Catholic product ran for 221 yards on only 14 carries, good for the 10th best single-game mark in school history, and he added three touchdowns as well. He missed that last chunk of the game after hurting his foot, but he should be fine for Utah next weeked. Behind Nall, the Beavers have a true workhorse, a true star they can ride. As long as he is healthy, the Beavers need to use their stud.
NEXT UP: The Beavers stay in the friendly confinea of Reser Stadium as they take on the Utah Utes. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm on Saturday, October 15th.
Darell Garretson: 13-24, 85 yards and 0 touchdowns, 2 interception
Ryan Nall: 14 attempts, 221 yards and 3 touchdown
Darell Garretson: 10 attempts, 105 yards and 2 touchdowns
Victor Bolden: 4 rec, 28 yards
Seth Collins: 3 rec, 27 yards
Davis Webb: 23-44, 113 yards, 0 touchdown, 1 interception
Khalfani Muhammad: 21 attempts, 165 yards and 1 touchdowns
Brandon Singleton: 3 rec, 13 yards
Demetrius Robertson: 5 rec, 29 yards
Vic Wharton III: 3 rec, 37 yards