CORVALLIS, Ore. (KOIN) — KOIN 6 sports contributor Marcus Greaves breaks down the highs and lows of Oregon State’s season-opener on Friday against the other OSU.
1 . Hodgins is elite, Lindsey could be just as good.
While Isaiah Hodgins deserves all the credit in the world with his unreal performance last night, finishing with nine receptions for 170 yards, Tyjon Lindsey is a guy I was extremely impressed with. With his first game as a Beaver, Lindsey finished with eight receptions for 35 yards and what stood out to me the most was how much separation he can get from the defender. No matter if it is a simple out route or a deep ball, Lindsey beat his defender consistently, but the Beavers couldn’t get him the ball when needed. If the Beavers could just find a way to connect with Lindsey consistently, expect him to put up big numbers.
2. Beavers must utilize running backs
The Beavers running back group has been raved about last off season with returning Freshman Offensive Player of the year Jermar Jefferson, explosive veteran Artavis Pierce and B.J. Baylor who teammates have said to be the “scary good” third back in the rotation. Last night could have left Beaver fans scratching their heads. In the first quarter, Jefferson and Pierce were dictating the pace of the game with their extremely hard running. They were making defenders miss, breaking tackles, and picking up chunks of yards at a time. But in the middle of the second quarter the Beavers stopped giving them the ball. They went away from the run and tried to utilize the passing game which was working, but not as effectively as the run game showed in the first quarter. Without running the ball consistently, the Beavers lost their offensive rhythm and went three consecutive series without scoring. When playing a great offense like Oklahoma State, you have to be able to answer the scoring surge that they can go on, and without running the ball consistently, the Beavers couldn’t keep up.
3. Offensive line is much better than anticipated
Coming into this season, the Beavers offensive line seemed to be a concern. Without significant experience, plus the struggles they faced last season, it seemed as if people assumed the worst for this group. After last night, they opened a lot of eyes, even mine. The line had terrific protection, they gave Jake Luton solid time in the pocket in the pass game and they were opening holes, being aggressive, and looked like they meshed extremely well in the run game. I thought it was a solid performance for this group.
4. Defensive backs didn’t make the plays
Oklahoma State’s offense is built around getting guys in one-on-one situations and getting the ball in open field and letting them make plays. This proved to be the downfall of the Beavers defense. The guys were in the right position countless times last night where all they had to do was make the open field tackle or make a play on a jump ball. Unfortunately for the Beavers, the guys couldn’t wrap up and make the open field tackle. They also couldn’t make the play on the 50/50 jump balls, which resulted in some big time plays and touchdowns for the Cowboys.
5. Defensive line is better, but not good enough yet
Believe it or not, the defensive line looked much better than last season. They were able to get pressure on the quarterback which is something Beaver fans have not seen in quite some time. They were also able to get some penetration and split the offensive line and bring the ball carrier behind the line which shows some significant improvement. The defensive line also found ways to win their one-on-one match ups with consistent moves to shed blockers. Even though it didn’t show in the score, the defensive line took some strides this off season, but it isn’t a big enough stride to take over when they are needed most.
6. Luton looked healthy
I thought Luton played a pretty good game. He missed a few guys when they were open, but he was healthy and he delivered some great passes. This was one of the first times Beaver fans were able to see Luton completely healthy and it showed big time. He came out and threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns. On top of that, Luton made some big time plays with his legs and showed that he can do it all for the Beavers offense.