DJ Uiagalelei joked that because of the strong protection by the offensive line, he had enough time to make a sandwich while waiting to launch a touchdown pass in the Beavers' 42-17 season-opening victory over San Jose State.
No. 16 Oregon State (1-0) could feast again when UC Davis (1-0) visits Corvallis on Saturday.
“They have no weakness, they really don’t," said Aggies coach Dan Hawkins, who previously coached Colorado and Boise State. "These guys are loaded. They proved that last year beating Oregon at the end of the season. They’re a top-10 football team at least, so it’ll be a tall order.”
The Beavers have a ways to go to make the top 10, and even a convincing victory over UC Davis won't get them there. Neither would a win next week against San Diego State barring a barrage of upsets of teams ahead of them.
Oregon State begins Pac-12 play in two weeks at Washington State, so these two games are about getting prepared for that part of the schedule. And avoiding an upset that could derail some of their goals.
If Uiagalelei keeps playing the way he did against San Jose State, the Beavers should be fine. He passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two more in his Oregon State debut, the first time a Beavers quarterback has pulled off that feat since 1996.
That's the kind of production Oregon State was hoping for after Uiagalelei transferred from Clemson.
“You better tackle the guy because he’s built like a linebacker," Hawkins said. "He can run and he can move. The quarterback run game is there and then he can make all the throws. Obviously, a phenomenal athlete.”
WANTING TO GO DEEP
Damien Martinez has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven of the past eight games and has made a quick believer out of Uiagalelei.
“Dame’s legit," Uiagalelei said. "He’s making his case as one of the best running backs in the country.”
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said he didn't want his top running back handling the load by himself.
Martinez carried 18 times for 145 yards against San Jose State, and backup Deshaun Fenwick rushed eight times for 33 yards. Smith said he would like to see a little more of an equitable distribution between the two, but noted against the Spartans that “Dame got a little bit of hot hand.”
Third-string back Isaiah Newell didn't carry at all because Uiagalelei was effectively the third rusher.
“We are totally good on Newell," Smith said. "We think he’s really good player. He played a ton on special teams. I’m very confident if he goes into the game we can give him the ball.”
This will be the first game at Reser Stadium since it underwent a $161 million renovation that includes a student welcome center, health center and additional meeting spaces.
Smith said he would make sure to take time to check out the remodeled west side of the stadium before the game begins.
“And I hope our players do, too,” Smith said “I cannot wait for a big-time atmosphere.”
DEFENSE STEPPING UP
Oregon State's defense has continued to show noticeable improvement since Trent Bray became the coordinator over the final four games of the 2021 season.
The Beavers have held opponents to 332.8 yards a game over those 18 games, which is 22nd nationally and tops in the Pac-12. Only three opponents have gone past 400 yards.
That play continued in the opener when the Beavers kept San Jose State to 279 yards, including 56 on the ground. The run defense has been especially effective, holding opponents to a 113.3-yard average under Bray.
A victory would be Oregon State's sixth in a row, matching its longest winning streak in 10 years. The Beavers' current run is tied for the 10th-longest active streak nationally and second in the Pac-12 to Washington's eight.
Oregon State's record is 10 consecutive victories over the 1962-63 seasons. Quarterback Terry Baker won the Heisman Trophy in 1962.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll