OSU shows improvement despite pitfalls

CORVALLIS — This season hasn’t always been easy for the Oregon State football team.

The Beavers have played poorly for a half only to turn around and put together a strong performance.

They’ve looked powerful in the run game and pathetic passing the football.

They went through a low point in a loss at Colorado and followed up with a big win over California.

On Saturday, the Beavers nearly put together a two-game win streak but wound up losing to No. 19 Utah 19-14.

The Beavers took the Utes down to the final play. But OSU could not overcome an ineffective passing attack that produced 1 yard through the first three quarters and several special teams meltdowns, including a bad snap on a punt attempt that resulted in a safety and two missed field goals.

The passing game picked up when Marcus McMaryion took the field.

McMaryion was 5 for 9 for 76 yards and a touchdown. The score came with 1 minute, 40 seconds to go and gave the Beavers a shot at pulling out the win.

“Marcus was out there, he came in, did a nice job and gave us a chance to win the game,” coach Gary Andersen said.

McMaryion’s performance was encouraging, particularly when considering the possibility that he might be the starter for at least the time being.

He was pressed into duty on Saturday after both Darell Garretson and Conor Blount went down with injuries in the fourth.

Several other OSU players were knocked out of the game, including Ryan Nall, who had one run of 32 yards before heading to the sideline.

“It hurts to see your brothers go down,” receiver Victor Bolden Jr. said. “We’re a family and the next guy has your back. He’s going to step up there and get the job done. We’re a team, tight-knit and make sure that the guys are getting mental reps in practice and stuff like that when that happens, the next guy is prepared.”

Even without Nall, the Beavers were able to put together another big day running the ball.

The Beavers finished with 196 net yards after deducting 49 in losses, 35 coming on the bad snap.

Bolden led the way with 61 yards. Artavis Pierce added 60 and Garretson 35. Paul Lucas had 28 on four carries and Nall had 32.

Defensively, the Beavers struggled against the Utes’ run game in the first half but closed down after that. It was another example of playing at a high level for two or three quarters, but after stopping Cal’s high flying pass offense the week before, the Beavers seem to be near a breakthrough.

Sooner would be far better than later. OSU is headed to No. 5 Washington next.

“This is a different Oregon State Beaver football team,” linebacker Manase Hungalu said. “Home or away, I think we’re just getting better every game and we continue to improve and I think that they should never underestimate the Beavers.”

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