CORVALLIS – Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said Monday that he’ll take a few days of practice before deciding on a starting quarterback for Saturday’s home opener against Hawaii.
Sam Noyer started the season opener at Purdue, but was pulled late in the third quarter following an ineffective performance. Chance Nolan played the final 18 minutes, leading the Beavers on two scoring drives in a 30-21 loss to the Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Smith said they would assess the play of Noyer and Nolan in practice this week, and make a decision based on which quarterback best fits the game plan,” Smith said.
Strictly based off the Purdue performance, Nolan appeared to play better. But Smith prefers the body of work, not a snapshot.
“Chance came in and yeah, he probably played a little bit better than Sam … But at the same time, we had fall camp, we went with Noyer, and there were reasons for that,” Smith said. “It’s like, why rush this decision. Let it play out a couple days.”
Noyer, a sixth-year senior who transferred from Colorado, directed Oregon State on a touchdown drive on the Beavers’ second possession. But of OSU’s seven first-half possessions, five ended with a punt and one an interception. Only two of the seven first-half drives went longer than three plays.
Smith said some of Noyer’s issues were the pass protection, and particularly, blocking Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis. But Noyer also had several plays with ample time, and he made an inaccurate throw. Noyer completed 10 of 21 passes for 94 yards.
“Sam, he’d tell you, there’s a few throws there he needs to make. We had guys open and we didn’t get it there,” Smith said.
Nolan completed 10 of 16 passes for 157 yards, and directed drives that led to touchdowns on runs by Tyjon Lindsey and B.J. Baylor.
“Gave us a spark, ultimately. Still had a couple he’d like to have back,” Smith said.
Hawaii’s quarterback position is more settled. Chevan Cordeiro, a 6-foot-1 junior, will challenge OSU with his arm and legs. Cordeiro led Hawaii in rushing last season. Through two games, Cordeiro has completed 43 of 72 passes for 525 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Cordeiro also ran 25 times for 77 yards, though that’s after deducting 48 yards for sacks.
The last time the teams played was 2019, when Hawaii edged the Beavers 31-28 in Honolulu. This is only the third time OSU and Hawaii have played in Corvallis. The Beavers won easily both times, 45-7 in 2008 and 33-14 in 2013. Hawaii has lost 10 consecutive road or neutral site games against Pac-12 opponents.
Tristan Gebbia, the fifth-year junior who started four games for Oregon State last season, will not be in the mix this week. Gebbia continues to struggle with hamstring soreness. He was noticeably limping while walking out to the field prior to Saturday’s game.
“I wish he was closer but he’s just not,” Smith said of Gebbia. “He’s doing everything he can, but that thing is continuing to hold him back.”
Quarterback play was only part of the issue for an Oregon State offense that struggle to generate momentum against Purdue. The running game never got going, as the Beavers managed just 78 yards on 25 attempts. The longest run from scrimmage was 11 yards.
“Offensively, just inconsistencies and it was really each guy taking his turn,” Smith said. “Looking at our pass protections, could have been a lot cleaner for the quarterback. The run game efficiency wasn’t where we needed to be.”
Daschel writes for oregonlive.com