Wow what an entertaining back and forth contest! FIVE lead changes, NINE plays of 20+ yards, blocked punts, LONG punt/kick returns called back due to penalties, double-reverses with a touchdown pass to Gebbia etc etc. This game had it all! Ultimately it came down to the final possession where Akili Arnold got to Cal quarterback Chase Garbers deflecting his pass setting up John McCartan for a game-winning interception. Here’s how the Beavers got their first win of the season, 31-27 in Reser Stadium.
Just like last week Oregon State had an incredible start. On the first play from scrimmage Jermar Jefferson burst through the line of scrimmage and speed to the endzone for a 75-yard touchdown run.
Before the game Cal announced a bunch of players were inactive (including three starting offensive lineman, also their starting center was injured in the first half). That news didn’t stop Chase Garbers and his favorite receiver Kekoa Crawford from tearing up the Beavers secondary. Cal answered immediately with a nice touchdown drive. A few possessions later after a bad Cal punt Gebbia hit Teagan Quitorano for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Outside of those two plays the Oregon State offense was really bad in the first half. Cal took a 20-14 lead into halftime after drilling a long field goal. But the Beavers were lucky to not be down by double-digits.
Oregon State’s defense tightened up in the second half. Cal’s only touchdown in the second half came after two defensive pass interference calls in the endzone that kept Golden Bears drive moving. With that touchdown Cal took a 27-24 advantage and Oregon State’s offense looked like they might be out of juice. Thankfully football is played in three phases and Jesiah Irish and the special teams unit came up HUGE with a game changing blocked punt!
The blocked punt lead to a Gebbia rushing touchdown. Oh by the way Gebbia had a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown in this game. How many Oregon State QBs can say that? Just check out this play to get Tristian Gebbia open for a touchdown catch.
Anyways the blocked punt wasn’t quite enough to seal the victory as Cal was on an 11-play, 69-yard drive with the game winning touchdown in their grasp. That’s until Akili Arnold/John McCartan’s huge plays to pressure Garbers, get a hand on the pass and snag the game winning interception. Jermar Jefferson added a 65-yard run in the final minute for good measure and the Beavers celebrated their first win of 2020.
- Jermar Jefferson ended the game with 196 yards and a touchdown. But if you take away his two long runs Cal bottled him up pretty nicely.
- Who deserves the game ball? Jefferson? Gebbia? Irish? Arnold? McCartan? My vote is Jesiah Irish for the blocked punt.
- Cal was essentially missing 80% of their starting offensive line and other players on offense; but they still managed 439 yards of offense. I’m ready for the Beaver defense to take a leap forward, but I haven’t seen it yet.
- Omar Speights and Avery Roberts continue to be bright spots on defense.
- Hamilcar Rashed, Simon Sandberg and Jaydon Grant all seemed to suffer injuries. I don’t think any of them are serious, but those are three of the top players on defense for the Beavs.
- At one point the FS1 crew highlighted a stat that the Beavers have unsuccessfully stopped 11 straight opposing 4th downs when the opponents choose to go for it. Thankfully the reverse-jinx worked as the Beavers finally stopped Cal.
- Overall Cal had way more yards, first downs and they dominated in time of possession. Good job by the Beavers to find a way to win this football game.
- It’s officially Civil Conflict week (or I don’t know what we are calling it). The Beavers take on the Ducks on Friday at 4:00 pm. The Ducks just barely squeaked by UCLA without their starting QB. Go Beavers!