CORVALLIS — How ineffective was Oregon State’s offense Saturday evening?
In the first three quarters of the Beavers’ 42-7 Pacific-12 Conference football loss to No. 6 Washington, OSU ran one play on the Huskies’ side of the field.
From the 48-yard line, just 2 yards past midfield.
And the Beavers fumbled the ball away on that play.
Oregon State finished with 184 yards total offense, but 74 of those came on its final drive for that lone touchdown in the closing minutes. Through three quarters, the Beavers had just 104 yards and four first downs.
To that point, the Beavers’ 10 possessions had ended in eight punts, a fumble and a kneel-down to end the half; five of the possessions were of the three-and-out variety.
A reporter later suggested the Beavers’ offense hadn’t gotten it done against the Huskies.
“That’s being nice — extremely nice,” OSU head coach Gary Andersen said. “We were dysfunctional. That’s a really good defense; I take my hat off to them … but you have to be able to get some first downs and you have to be able to put some points on the board.”
Washington entered the game ranked 17th nationally in total defense, allowing 274 yards per game, and 21st in rushing defense at 100 yards per game. OSU managed 110 yards rushing, many of those coming on the final drive.
“I know exactly where they are in the national stats and they’ve earned that, and they’ll probably get even better now after they’ve played us,” Andersen said. “The offense couldn’t run the ball at all … like I said all week long, that front is as good as you’ll face in college football … there were no creases in the run game when their guys were in there — a crease here and a crease there. It was a dominant performance by a very talented defense.”
Ryan Nall was limited to 18 yards on nine carries and Artavis Pierce to 22 yards on three carries, with both running backs knocked from the game with injuries in the second half. Oregon State was also without starting quarterback Jake Luton, who was injured in a loss at Washington State two weeks ago. Darell Garretson, who had been the Beavers’ starter for the first half of the 2016 season, returned to that role Saturday and was 11-for-22 passing for 74 yards.
“That defensive line is probably the best we’ll face all season,” OSU center Sumner Houston said. “They did their job, and we didn’t do ours.”
Andersen was reminded that after OSU’s 48-14 loss to Minnesota on Sept. 9, he’d said the blame for the Beavers’ offensive struggles had to be shouldered by the coaching staff. Saturday, he was asked if the same was true in the loss to Washington.
“I’ll say it falls on me,” Andersen said. “I’m the head football coach. I’m the one that brought them (the offensive coaches) here, I’m the one it should all fall back on. Every bit of any type of criticism should come at me.
“Do we expect more of ourselves as an offense, an offensive staff? Absolutely. And I’m sure our players are sitting there and saying they expect more out of themselves, too. But I’m responsible for it, so it’s on me.”
KEEPING IT CLOSE: As futile as Oregon State’s offensive effort was, the Beavers were still in the game at halftime, trailing just 7-0. The Beaver defense allowed 194 yards by halftime, but 98 of those came on the Huskies’ opening drive of the game when they took the lead.
“It felt good,” OSU linebacker Manase Hungalu said of the first-half defensive performance. “It felt like we made huge progress from the first three games and it felt like we handled situations. We could do better on third downs, but we did a good job holding them to seven points in the first half.”
Andersen said the Beavers threw a lot of different looks at Washington quarterback Jake Browning, from rushing seven players to dropping eight into coverage, and mixing several zone and man-to-man coverages in the secondary.
“I think the kids executed for the most part pretty well and we were able to make some plays,” Andersen said. “I was proud of how they handled a pretty good package in the first half; in the second half they really took over with the run game and made some plays down the field.”
SECOND-HALF SLUMPS: After being outscored 35-7 in the second half by Washington, the Beavers have now been outscored 147-49 after halftime in their five games this season.
“Obviously, that’s an absolute 100 percent trend,” Andersen said. “I can’t say there’s not similarities. It’s difficult to deal with, that’s all I can say about that.”
KEEPING IT TOGETHER: Garretson was asked about the Beavers’ frame of mind as a team after falling to 1-4 this season, with the only victory coming over lower-division Portland State.
“We’re playing really hard,” Garretson said. “We have guys that are always in the film room, playing hard in practice, playing hard in the games. It’s not like we have guys easing up or anything — we’re fighting to the very last second. That’s all we can do, that’s all we can ask for.
“We just have to keep executing, keep getting after it week in and week out.”
BOTH SIDES NOW: With his 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Thomas Tyner became one of the few players — and perhaps the only player — to score for both Oregon State and Oregon. It was Tyner’s first touchdown for the Beavers; he’d scored 14 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown for the Ducks in the 2013-14 seasons before transferring to OSU over the summer.
With both Nall and Pierce knocked from the game with injuries, Tyner played much of the fourth quarter. He finished with nine carries for a team-high 54 yards and caught one pass for 6 yards.
“It’s good to get Thomas in a position to be able to be healthy,” Andersen said. “He was excited about having an opportunity; he had a few carries tonight. I’m happy for Thomas. It was great to see him get those creases and the opportunity he had tonight. That’s exciting, I hope it continues down the road.”
PUNT PROFICIENCY: As many times as Oregon State was forced to punt Saturday, they could at least count on Nick Porebski to deliver in that category. The senior from Australia kicked eight times and averaged 43.8 yards per punt, dropping three of those inside the Washington 20-yard line.
More important, his placement and hang time eliminated the Huskies’ Dante Pettis as a threat. Pettis came into the game averaging 38.8 yards per return with three touchdowns; against the Beavers, Pettis didn’t return a single punt, either watching the ball roll dead or settling for a fair catch.