Photo Credit: Andy Cross/Denver Post
Oregon State’s defensive line had a couple of key injuries early in the third quarter which gave the Rams offense all of the room it needed to operate upfront; while starting quarterback Jake Luton’s three interceptions kept the weakened defense on the field against the explosive Colorado State offense; the end result was a 58-27 season opening loss.
The Beavers defense had been able to contain the run until the third quarter when senior defensive end Barker Pritchard had to be carted off of the field after he went to the ground during a 35-yard pass play that was called back because of an ineligible receiver downfield. After Pritchard went down, the defensive front seven failed to generate any pressure, or stuff the gaps that CSU was trying to open up. It was at this point that the Rams running backs — in particular Rashaad Boddie, he averaged seven yards a carry — began to chew up the front seven, which forced OSU to use its safeties for run support.
With Oregon State’s safeties playing the run, Ram’s quarterback Nick Stevens was able to abuse the Beavers’ corners through the middle of the field and with the play action pass. Stevens would finish the day by completing 26 of 39 pass attempts for 334 yards (8.6 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns.
What made the defensive issues worse were the poor decisions that junior quarterback Jake Luton made throughout the second half. All three of Luton’s picks came in the second half, which led to 17 of CSU’s 34 second half points. The interception that blew the game open came with five and half minutes left in the third quarter; Luton was moved out of the pocket by pressure and threw the ball behind his wideout…whom reached out to grab the ball and tipped into the hands of linebacker Tre Thompson. Thompson then took the rock 44-yards back to the end zone.
After the PAT and kickoff, it took Luton four plays to throw another interception; this one came on a deep pass that was over thrown against tight coverage. Anthony Hawkins got a step ahead of Timmy Hernandez to make the basket catch. Stevens marched his offense down the field in 12 plays to pick up another three points and extend the Rams lead to 17.
As the lead grew, Colorado State’s defensive coordinator Marty English dialed up the pressure to continue to force Luton out of the pocket and his comfort zone. This aggressive pressure exposed how raw the junior quarterback is as he was unable adapt to CSU’s pressure, which caused the Beavers’ to stall. While the Rams offense continued to roll.
Colorado State rolls into its rivalry game against Colorado on September 2nd at 5 PM Eastern on the Pac-12 Network; while the Beavers role into a matchup against recent Big Sky contender Portland State.