Oct 22, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) stands on the field before the game against the California Golden Bears at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Oregon State still underdogs in Friday matchup with Washington

Oregon State was ranked in The Associated Press’ Top 25 this week for the first time since the end of the 2013 season.

In addition to their No. 24 spot in the AP poll, the Beavers landed No. 23 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.

Still, when Oregon State next lines up to play – Friday night in Seattle – the Beavers (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) will be underdogs to unranked Washington (6-2, 3-2) in a Pacific-12 Conference contest.

Beavers coach Jonathan Smith downplayed his team’s midseason move into the Top 25.

“It’s a little bit like preseason rankings — midseason rankings we’re not into and paying a bunch of attention to,” Smith said. “I will say, though, I think it’s a recognition of the work these guys put in and progress we’re making. But we’re definitely into postseason rankings.”

The Beavers had not been ranked in the regular season since 2012 when they finished 20th.

Oregon State has won three consecutive games behind backup quarterback Ben Gulbranson, who has replaced the injured Chance Nolan (concussion). Smith said Nolan took part in practices this week but is unlikely to be ready for Friday’s game.

“Still limited, didn’t do the whole thing, so we’ll see how he kind of responds and works through the week,” Smith said.

The Beavers will be without starting left guard Marco Brewer, who suffered a season-ending injury in their last game, a 42-9 victory against visiting Colorado on Oct. 22.

Gulbranson completed 14 of 22 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns in that game and freshman Damien Martinez carried 22 times for 178 yards and three TDs.

The Beavers spent part of their bye week preparing for Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who is completing 68% of his passes with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Penix leads the nation in passing yards per game with 366.8.

“This guy can change his arm angle, he’s just accurate. Tight windows. He likes to throw it and he wants to throw it first,” said Smith, who was the Huskies’ quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2014-17 before returning to his alma mater. “Plenty of ability to extend (the play). A lot of quarterbacks have that, but this guy’s a great thrower of the football.”

The Huskies also had a bye last week after a 28-21 victory at California, their second in a row. Penix was 36-of-51 passing for 374 yards and two TDs in that game.

UW coach Kalen DeBoer, who was Penix’s offensive coordinator at Indiana before the two reunited this season when DeBoer was hired and Penis transferred in, said his quarterback’s importance goes beyond the statistics.

“We’re asking him to do a lot, and he’s lived up to that. He’s calm, cool and collected — I’ve said that all along. But he’s certainly leading the team in a big way, and not just the offense,” DeBoer said. “I think the whole offensive and defensive sides of the ball are certainly responding to him and what he brings.

“When he walks out of the tunnel each and every day onto the field, I think that there’s a lot of confidence in whatever he says. I think the whole team believes him.”

The Huskies have been hampered by injuries, especially in the secondary, but the bye week might have helped.

DeBoer said the projected starting cornerbacks and safeties coming into the season will all be healthy for the first time since the season opener.

“That gives you a lot of stability,” DeBoer said.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan (10) throws during warm-ups before playing the USC Trojans at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Oregon State QB Chance Nolan (concussion) out again

Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan will miss his third straight game on Saturday when the Beavers host Colorado as he hasn’t yet cleared concussion protocol, ESPN reported Friday.

Nolan was injured against Utah on Oct. 1.

Freshman Ben Gulbranson started the past two weeks and guided Oregon State (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) to wins over Stanford and Washington State.

Gulbranson has passed for 616 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in four appearances this season.

Nolan has thrown for 939 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.

Last season, Nolan passed for 2,677 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while leading Oregon State (7-6) to its first bowl appearance since 2013. The Beavers lost 24-13 to Utah State in the LA Bowl.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Fresno, California, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Jack Colletto (12) flips the ball to an official after scoring a touchdown against the Fresno State Bulldogs on the final play of the game at Valley Children's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Unbeatens Oregon State, Montana State to face off in Portland

Oregon State has wins at home and on the road so far this season, but the Beavers will attempt to get to 3-0 by playing a rare neutral site game in Portland when they “host” Montana State at Providence Park on Saturday.

The home of the Portland Timbers will entertain the Beavers and Bobcats, who are meeting for the first time ever.

As a bonus, both teams enter undefeated at 2-0, with Montana State fresh off a blowout win over Morehead State and Oregon State having won on a goal-line gamble score to walk-off Fresno State, 35-32.

Two-way player Jack “Jackhammer” Colletto, who plays regularly as a linebacker, scored his third rushing touchdown of the season to win the game.

“They called a timeout, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘We came down here to win the game, not to go to overtime,’” coach Jonathan Smith said.

It gave the Beavers their first win in Fresno in seven tries.

A similar hard-nosed approach figures to be the plan of attack against the Bobcats. Oregon State typically leans on leading rusher Deshaun Fenwick, who is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in running for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bobcats may conversely spread the ball around, with four rushers having gained at least 70 yards this season and three receivers with at least six receptions apiece.

In Montana State’s 63-13 thrashing of Morehead State last week, both Tommy Mellott and Sean Chambers got snaps at quarterback. Chambers threw for 30 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but he also ran seven times for 127 yards and two more scores.

“It was good to get (Chambers) in the open field a couple times,” coach Brent Vigen said. “We know what he’s capable of. You have to get your guys out there where they’re capable of making plays.”

Oregon State will need to be mindful of the whereabouts of defensive tackle Sebastian Valdez (4 1/2 sacks) and linebacker Callahan O’Reilly (two interceptions).

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Fresno, California, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Deshaun Fenwick (5) runs the ball against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the first quarter at Valley Children's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon St. rallies to stun Fresno St. on final play

Jack Colletto ran two yards for a touchdown as time expired to give visiting Oregon State a 35-32 victory against Fresno State on Saturday night.

A pass interference penalty against Fresno State (1-1) gave the Beavers (2-0) first-and-goal from the 2 with three seconds left.

Jake Haener’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Erik Brooks had given the Bulldogs a 32-29 lead with 1:05 on the clock. Abraham Montano, who missed two field-goal attempts, failed to convert the point after.

Chance Nolan connected with Tre’Shaun Harrison on a 17-yard touchdown pass, then hit Silas Bolden with a pass to convert the 2-point conversion, to put Oregon State ahead 29-26 with 1:50 remaining.

Jordan Mims rushed 21 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns for the Mountain West’s Bulldogs. Haener completed 30 of 46 passes for 360 yards and the one TD.

Deshaun Fenwick rushed 19 times for 102 yards and a TD for the Beavers. Nolan was 14 of 27 for 219 yards and one TD.

Fresno State went up 26-21 when Montano kicked his fourth goal, a 37-yarder, with 10:31 remaining. He then missed a 52-yard try at 4:19.

Nolan’s 42-yard completion to Anthony Gould set up Fenwick’s four-yard TD run that pulled Oregon State within 23-21 at 4:04 of the third. The Beavers needed just five plays to move 77 yards.

Mims ran 11 yards for a touchdown that gave Fresno State a 23-14 advantage with 6:04 to go in the third quarter. The four-play, 80-yard drive included a 60-yard pass play between Haener and Josh Kelly.

The Bulldogs went ahead 16-14 on Montano’s 43-yard field goal with 10:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Touchdowns by Colletto and Bolden gave Oregon State a 14-13 lead after a first half in which Fresno State managed just two field goals in three trips to the red zone.

Bolden ran 36 yards on an end-around to hit the end zone 8:57 before halftime. Colletto took a direct snap and ran two yards for a touchdown at 5:39 of the opening quarter.

Mims scampered 42 yards for a score with 2:19 left in the first quarter.

Montano, who missed a 34-yard attempt earlier in the second quarter, nailed two field goals (21, 23 yards) for the Bulldogs later in the period.

The game was the teams’ first meeting since 2003.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith walks back to the locker room prior to the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith lands extension through 2027 season

Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith received a contract extension through the 2027 season, the school announced Friday.

The Beavers (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) are bowl eligible for the first time since 2013 and are still in the mix for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. Oregon State plays at heated rival Oregon on Saturday.

Smith, a former standout quarterback at the school, has a 16-26 record in four seasons with the Beavers.

“Coach Smith has led the resurgence of our football program in a way that has made all of Beaver Nation proud,” athletic director Scott Barnes said in a news release. “Their steady growth, improvement and success on the field, in the classroom and the community is apparent. A strong foundation has been laid for success and the future of Beaver football is bright due to Coach Smith’s leadership.

“We continue to invest in our program to build and sustain success in the Pac-12 and nationally, including assistant coach and staff salaries and our game-changing $153 million Completing Reser Stadium initiative. We brought Coach Smith home four years ago and I look forward to our continued partnership for years to come.”

Smith is reportedly making $2.5 million this season. No terms were released but The Oregonian reported that Smith will receive “a seven-figure annual raise.”

Regardless, Smith was happy to reach the deal on the extension.

“I want to thank the Oregon State administration for making this commitment to our football program,” Smith said. “The continuity of our coaches and football staff has been a key reason for the success our student-athletes have had on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom. I’m thrilled the work by everyone in our program has been noticed, and they are being rewarded to help us continue to build this in the best possible way.”

Smith played at Oregon State from 1998-2001 and ranks third on the school’s all-time list in both career passing yards (9,680 yards) and touchdowns (55).

The two-time captain guided the Beavers to an 11-1 mark in 2000 as the Beavers finished the season with a 41-9 steamrolling of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The Dennis Erickson-coached squad finished fourth in the final ranking.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back B.J. Baylor (4) runs with the ball against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Oregon, Oregon State battle for spot in Pac-12 title game

A loss at Utah put a major dent in Oregon’s hopes to be among the four teams in the College Football Playoff, but there’s still plenty for which to play as the No. 11 Ducks renew their in-state rivalry with Oregon State on Saturday in Eugene.

The Ducks (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can lock up the Pac-12 North Division title and a place in the conference championship game next week with a win over the Beavers (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12). Oregon is the favorite, but with the Ducks’ loss to Utah and wins for Oregon State and Washington State last weekend, the Beavers or Cougars could steal what seemed to be a given for Oregon not too long ago.

Oregon State can win the North if Washington defeats Washington State in the annual Apple Cup on Friday night and the Beavers upset the Ducks on Saturday. Washington State can overtake the Oregon schools for the title if it defeats Washington and Oregon State takes out Oregon.

Oregon is the only team that controls its own destiny. Win, and the Ducks get a rematch with Utah in Las Vegas on Dec. 3 in what would be their third straight Pac-12 championship game.

Oregon can reach 10 wins for the 12th time in program history and second time under fourth-year head coach Mario Cristobal. The Ducks are 6-0 at home this season, seeking their third straight undefeated season at home, and another win would be 19 in a row at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon has won 11 of the last 13 meetings — six straight at home — and leads the all-time series with a 66-48-10 record. The Ducks haven’t lost to the Beavers at home since 2007.

Cristobal said the 38-7 loss to Utah was not the program’s standard.

“Learn from it and go forward and attack it,” Cristobal said. “And you’re very real. That’s always been the only way around here. And so it was a good start (Sunday in practice) to get in on things because we have been playing some really good football and in fact, because we played good football up until that point, we presented ourselves with a great opportunity this Saturday. So we have to do the things that we do well, to the best of our ability.”

The Beavers are seeking a winning streak in the series. They stunned Oregon 41-38 in Corvallis, Ore, last season.

Running back B.J. Baylor has 1,200 rushing yards this season and Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in rushing offense at 229.5 yards per game. Baylor is the conference’s leading rusher.

Head coach Jonathan Smith was 2-2 against Oregon as the Beavers’ quarterback in his playing days. He and the Beavers were victorious in 1998 and 2000, both games in Corvallis.

The Oregon State defense has improved under new coordinator Trent Bray, who replaced Tim Tibesar earlier this month.

“We wanted to play well and play our best at the end of the year,” Smith said this week. “We want to be playing in meaningful games, and we’ve set the stage for that.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan (10) passes the ball in overtime against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford, Oregon State aim to snap skids

Stanford and Oregon State will seek to end losing streaks when Beavers standout back B.J. Baylor gets a shot at the Cardinal’s porous run defense in a Pacific-12 Conference game Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.

Both teams appeared primed to take a shot at the Pac-12 North title after early success, with Stanford beating Southern Cal and Oregon en route to a 2-1 conference start, while Oregon State had a stunning victory over Utah to improve to 3-1.

But things have gone south in a hurry for both teams. Stanford (3-6, 2-5) has lost four in a row, including 52-7 at home against Utah last week, while Oregon State (5-4, 3-3) has dropped two straight.

Technically, the Beavers remain in the Pac-12 North race, but they need help. Wins over Stanford, Arizona State and Oregon would allow them to finish 6-3, creating the possibility they could tie Oregon atop the standings and win a head-to-head tie-breaker.

If Oregon State goes on a late run, it will do so with a new defensive coordinator. The school fired Tim Tibesar on Sunday, replacing him on an interim basis with inside linebackers coach Trent Bray, in the wake of poor defensive efforts in losses to California and Colorado, games in which the Beavers allowed a total of 76 points and 909 yards.

“I felt it was the right time to make a change in our football program,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said in an announcement made by the school on Sunday night.

Oregon State has had no such problems offensively of late, especially in the passing game, where Chance Nolan went a combined 35-of-64 for 498 yards and three touchdowns against Cal and Colorado.

The Beavers were at their best earlier when Baylor was running well. He had four straight 100-yard games during Oregon State’s 3-1 conference start, before totaling just 140 yards on 35 carries the past two weeks.

Stanford got run over by Utah’s Tavion Thomas for 177 yards and four TDs in last week’s blowout. The Cardinal gave up 441 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns against the Utes.

“Got to have a lot of discussions on how to stop the run,” Stanford coach David Shaw insisted after the loss. “We missed a ton of tackles. It’s one thing to have gaps run through. But when you miss tackles, that’s why you give up the big, big plays. Inexcusable.”

Stanford played the Utah game without quarterback Tanner McKee, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. He remains questionable for the Oregon State game.

The Cardinal’s Jack West, Isaiah Sanders and Ari Patu combined for just 85 passing yards on 23 attempts against Utah.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon State Beavers linebacker Jack Colletto (12) scores a touchdown past Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Christian Gonzalez (3) in the second quarter at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Field goal in second OT lifts Colorado over Oregon State

Cole Becker drilled a 43-yard field goal in the second overtime Saturday night, allowing Colorado to escape with a 37-34 Pacific-12 Conference victory over visiting Oregon State.

Becker’s kick came after Oregon State’s Everett Hayes, who sent the game into overtime when he nailed a 60-yarder on the final play of regulation, was wide left on a 38-yarder.

Colorado’s Brendon Lewis had a 9-yard TD run and Oregon State’s B.J. Baylor a 1-yarder in the first overtime, sending the Buffaloes (3-6, 2-4 Pac-12) and Beavers (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) into a second extra session.

Seeking to end a two-game losing streak, Colorado was one second away from a regulation win after Lewis threw his third TD pass of the game, a 16-yarder to Montana Lemonious-Craig, for a 27-24 lead with 2:24 to go.

When Oregon State’s Hayes missed left from 51 yards out on a potential game-tying field goal with 27 seconds remaining, it appeared the Beavers would suffer their second straight regulation defeat.

But the visitors used all three of their timeouts to retain five seconds on the clock after a Colorado punt, and after a 9-yard pass from Chance Nolan to Anthony Gould moved the ball closer with still one second remaining, Hayes drilled his 60-yarder to force overtime.

Down 10-0 in the first quarter and 20-10 in the third, Oregon State rallied into its first lead at 24-20 when Nolan connected with Tre’Shaun Harrison for a 27-yard TD with 8:23 remaining in the game.

That score followed a 31-yard TD run by Trey Lowe that had gotten the Beavers within one score at 20-17 late in the third period.

Lewis’ first two TD passes went to Daniel Arias for 43 yards in the first quarter and Brenden Rice for 5 yards in the third.

Becker had 28- and 52-yard field goals in the first half for the Buffaloes, while Oregon State’s Hayes was good from 45 yards on the final play of the second period, sending the teams into the break with Colorado up 13-10.

Jack Colletto scored on a 14-yard run for the Beavers’ first points on the first play of the second quarter.

Lewis finished 15-for-24 for 170 yards and the three scores. Jarek Broussard rushed for a game-high 151 yards on 24 carries for the Buffaloes, who won despite getting outgained 475-392.

Nolan went 20-for-38 for 255 yards with one interception. Baylor was Oregon State’s top rusher with 98 yards on 22 carries.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Utah Utes running back Micah Bernard (2) dives into the end zone to score a touchdown against Oregon State Beavers defensive back Rejzohn Wright (1) during the first half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Chance Nolan tosses 2 TDs as Oregon State rallies past Utah

BJ Baylor ran for 152 yards and a touchdown while Chance Nolan threw for 208 yards and two scores to help Oregon State rally to beat Utah 42-34 in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday night.

The Beavers (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) earned their first win over the Utes since 2013 after rushing for 260 yards and averaging 7.8 yards per play.

Cameron Rising threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns and added 73 yards on 10 carries to lead Utah. Tavion Thomas added 74 yards and two touchdowns on the ground before exiting with a knee injury late in the second half. The Utes (4-3, 3-1) suffered their first loss in league play this season.

Oregon State rattled off three touchdowns in the third quarter to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit. Trevon Bradford started it off by scoring on an 11-yard TD catch. Then the Beavers took their first lead at 28-24 after Luke Musgrave blocked a punt and returned it 27 yards for the score. Utah retook the lead on a 1-yard run by Thomas, but then Bradford scored on a 10-yard sprint to put Oregon State up 35-31 late in the third quarter.

The Beavers extended their lead to 42-31 on an 8-yard run by Baylor with 9:49 left. Utah drove down to the OSU 2 but Alex Austin broke up a fourth-down pass to Britain Covey in the end zone — ending the Utes’ hopes of making a comeback.

Utah jumped out to a 14-0 lead after Rising threw touchdown passes to cap off the Utes’ first two drives. He hit Micah Bernard on a 14-yard swing pass to put Utah on the board. Then, Rising connected with Brant Kuithe on an 11-yard strike after Kuithe was left alone in the back corner of the end zone on broken coverage.

Oregon State rallied and cut the lead to 17-14. The Beavers got on the board when Anthony Gould ran 14 yards off a reverse. Then Baylor found a hole and raced 68 yards to set up Nolan’s 1-yard pass to Jack Colletto that cut Utah’s lead to three.

The Utes extended their lead to 24-14 on a 3-yard run from Thomas just before halftime. Utah earned a chance to score after Brandon McKinney stripped the ball from Nolan on a sack and Junior Tafuna recovered the fumble at the Beaver 19.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back B.J. Baylor (4) runs the ball past Washington Huskies defensive back Alex Cook (5) during the second half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State ‘ain’t done yet,’ visits Wazzu next

After beating USC on the road for the first time since 1960 two weeks ago, Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith told his team, “We ain’t done yet.”

That prophecy didn’t take long to come to fruition.

By defeating visiting Washington 27-24 last weekend on a 24-yard field goal by Everett Hayes as time expired, Smith was able to double-down on his statement as the Beavers took sole possession of first place in the Pacific-12 Conference’s North Division for the first time. The conference split into two divisions 11 years ago.

With a victory Saturday against Washington State (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12) in Pullman, Wash., the Beavers (4-1, 2-0) might even find themselves ranked for the first time since 2013.

“I think it adds to the belief,” Smith said of beating USC and Washington. “I think we’re a confident group that understands how hard it is to win. We’re mature and experienced enough to know we’ve got a long ways to go.

“Each win just sets you up for bigger games as the season goes.”

The Beavers defeated the Huskies despite passing for just 48 yards. B.J. Baylor rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Oregon State has already beaten USC and Washington in the same season for the first time since 2006, and now aims for its first sweep of the Washington schools since 2011.

The Cougars are coming off a 21-6 victory at California as Jayden de Laura completed 25 of 41 passes for 219 yards and three TDs. Washington State limited the Golden Bears to 273 yards of total offense.

“It’s the perfect challenge that I think this team needs to see if we can compete with one of the best,” Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said of facing the Beavers. “Coming off a win, it felt like we took a step, mindset-wise.

“Now, knowing you have a good team coming in, if the defense can play with that kind of effort and tackle the way they did, the defense should have a lot of confidence.”

Washington State has won the past seven meetings with the Beavers, including a 38-28 decision in the opener of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Rolovich’s Cougars debut.

OSU also lost to Rolovich’s Hawaii team in 2019, 31-28 in Honolulu.

–Field Level Media