After beginning the season ranked in the Top 25 and coming off a 2012 season where they won nine games, expectations were high for the Oregon State Beavers this season, or least the hope was for more than six wins. Book-ended around those six wins were an embarrassing season-opening loss to FCS school Eastern Washington and a regular season-ending five-game losing streak, punctuated by a loss to their bitter rival in the closest Civil War in more than 30 years.
Following that loss, I expected to find an Oregon State locker room hanging its heads, only to find that the team, while disappointed, inspired by its performance despite the loss. Oregon State head coach Mike Riley seemed echoed the team’s sentiment of wanting to improve following an embarrassing loss in their home finale last Saturday against Washington.
“From where we came from last Saturday until Friday night was a long way, which is a good thing,” he said. “They can be very proud of the fact that they competed like crazy tonight. They made a lot of plays on both sides of the ball, as did Oregon.”
“We just left a little too much time on the clock.”
While Riley was candid in stating his attempts to keep the ball away from Oregon, “we were already starting to burn the clock down,” he admitted, it was not a sentiment shared by Beaver senior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds.
When asked if there was too much time left on the clock, Reynolds said, “I have extreme confidence in our defense, I knew that we were going to go out there and make plays,” adding, “I was confident our guys could get it done.”
Yet in a one-point loss, a few plays here or there make the difference. When asked about the 4th-and-1 call from the Oregon five-yard line late in the third quarter when Oregon State failed to convert, Riley jokingly confided, “right now, I’d kick the field goal.”
Still, Oregon State’s coaches and players seemed upbeat despite the close loss.
“I told them, ‘now at least we can all look in the mirror, and you can look at each other and be proud,'” said Riley.
That’s not all that the Beavers are looking forward to doing. As for whether Oregon State will play in a bowl game, Riley sounded confident that the Beavers still have a postseason contest remaining: “Oh, we should be [in a bowl game], there’s no doubt that somebody wants us.” When asked if he would be surprised if the Beavers weren’t selected for a bowl game, Riley answered emphatically, “Absolutely.”