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BEAVER NOTES: OSU sets tone with fast start vs. Idaho

CORVALLIS — This rule wasn’t made to be broken.

“We just want to start fast every week,” Oregon State junior tight end Teagan Quitoriano said. “That’s one of our team rules. And we’re just going to keep working on playing all four quarters to the very end.”

That’s just want OSU did in blanking Idaho 42-0 in nonconference football Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium. The past two weeks, the Beaver offense has been a great example of following that “fast start” rule.

Against Idaho, the Beavers scored touchdowns on their first four possessions, driving 69, 61, 58 and 67 yards.

A week earlier in beating Hawaii, Oregon State had scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and a field goal on its fourth.

“Credit to those guys,” OSU head coach Jonathan Smith said of his offense. “And credit to that staff — those plays and how we start the game. Again, I go back to the (player) leadership on this team and they’re ready to play in the first half.”

Before Oregon State’s final possession of the first half went backward after an interception in the final minute, the Beavers had rolled up 260 yards total offense, 132 of that rushing and 128 passing. At that point OSU had four ballcarriers with at least 28 yards rushing and seven receivers with at least one catch.

The Beavers finished with 438 yards total offense — 248 rushing and 190 passing — and spread the wealth.

By game’s end, junior running back B.J. Baylor had rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore Trey Lowe had gone for 68 yards and sophomore Deshaun Fenwick had picked up 59 yards and a score while sophomore quarterback Chance Nolan gained 21 on the ground.

“B.J. was solid again,” Smith said of the back who had a career-high 171 yards against Hawaii. “I do like that we got multiple backs in the game. Deshaun Fenwick was great when we got him a few carries in a row, he was physical. And Trey Lowe carried the ball well — he had some nice creases and some good runs on third down.

“But moving forward you’re going to need more than one back and we have that.”

Oregon State spread its receptions among 13 players for the day, Quitoriano and junior wide receiver Tre’Shaun Harrison leading the way with four each while sophomore tight end Luke Musgrave and freshman wide receiver Zeriah Beason had three apiece.

“I think it shows that we’ve built some depth around here,” Smith said. “We’ve got multiple guys we feel confident throwing the ball to. I think it shows that the quarterback’s decision making is not just triggered on one guy — whatever the coverage dictates, that’s where the ball goes. We’re going to need that moving forward.”

VIDLAK DEBUT: Oregon State quarterback Sam Vidlak, a freshman from Hidden Valley High, made his collegiate debut Saturday, taking over OSU’s offense in the fourth quarter.

Vidlak’s first pass attempt was almost a disaster. From the Beaver 3-yard line, he tried a short pass to the right side that hit high school teammate Jeremiah Noga in the pads, popped into the air and was almost intercepted inside the 10 but Noga wrestled the ball from the defender and it fell to the turf.

Later, Vidlak guided the Beavers’ final drive from the Idaho 48 to the Vandal 9, picking up three first downs, before taking a knee to finish the game. He finished 2-for-3 passing for 8 yards.

DEFENSE DOES IT: The shutout was the first for Oregon State since beating Pittsburgh 3-0 in the 2008 Sun Bowl and the Beavers’ first at Reser Stadium since the last time OSU played Idaho, a 38-0 win on September 23, 2006.

Junior linebacker Avery Roberts and sophomore linebacker Omar Speights had no idea it had been that long since Oregon State had blanked an opponent.

“I had no clue. I don’t know much about Beaver history,” Roberts said with a laugh. “So I didn’t know that.”

Smith also didn’t know how long it had been.

“But in college football nowadays to post a shutout is pretty difficult,” Smith said.

By the end of the game it was OSU’s reserves who were trying to make a little bit of history, and Roberts and Speights enjoyed watching them from the sideline.

“It’s cool to see those guys that you see in practice make plays make them on the field against another team,” Roberts said. “We’re just excited for those guys.”

Idaho reached the OSU 3-yard line early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t connect on a fourth-down pass as Vandal quarterback C.J. Jordan was hurried by junior linebacker Kyrei Fisher and freshman safety Akili Arnold.

“Those guys see the scoreboard,” Smith said. “In the second half we got some other guys in the game besides our starters and they’ve got it in their mind to keep them out of the end zone and getting it done. They’re excited about it and you see some of the stops we made on the goal line to keep them out.”

Oregon State limited Idaho to 192 yards total offense — 108 rushing and 84 passing.

GET SERIOUS: Idaho plays a level below Oregon State in the NCAA pecking order, in the Football Championship Series division. But a number of FCS teams have pulled upsets over their top-level brethren this season, including Montana winning at Washington and Jacksonville State beating Florida State. That wasn’t lost on OSU going into the game.

“Early in the week we addressed it with regards to FCS wins in the first two weeks of the season,” Smith said. “We really leaned on the leadership on this team, calling those guys out to make sure practice was focused and physical and I thought it was. And then it showed today in the way we played.”

NOW IT GETS REAL: Oregon State opens its Pac-12 schedule next Saturday at Southern California, and the Beavers realize that’s a big step up from what they’ve faced the past two weeks. The two victories, though, help the mindset.

“I think it adds confidence to our team,” Quitoriano said. “Getting these last two wins going into conference play is nice, especially going out on the road (to play USC). We’re excited. We’re going to put another good week of work in and we’ll be ready to go next Saturday.”

Added Speights: “I would just say that it kind of helps us realize it’s really all about us, how we show up that day is going to determine how the thing will go. If we show up right, we have a good chance to come out with a win.”

EXTRA POINTS: Saturday’s win gave Oregon State a winning record for the first time since September, 2015 when the Beavers were 2-1 after beating Weber State, losing at Michigan and beating San Jose State … the 42-point win was the biggest margin of victory for Oregon State since the Beavers topped Nicholls State 77-3 on December 1, 2012 … Smith spent six years at Idaho as quarterbacks coach, from 2004-09; that included the 2006 season under head coach Dennis Erickson, who coached Smith at Oregon State from 1999-2001.

Oregon State running back Deshaun Fenwick (5) scores a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Idaho on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)