By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Our 2021 previews of University of Hawaii football opponents continue, this time spotlighting the Oregon State Beavers of the Pac-12 Conference. While OSU has struggled in recent years and likely won’t be considered a bowl-caliber team this season, the program has shown flashes of promise under head coach Jonathan Smith. This will be the Beavers’ home opener of the 2021 campaign. Hawaii is 0-2 in games played in Corvallis.
Game Date: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 @ Oregon State (5:00 p.m. HST)
2020 Record: 2-5 (4th in the Pac-12 North Division)
Head Coach: Jonathan Smith (4th season, 9-22 overall, 7-18 in the Pac-12)
♦ The Beavers lead the all-time series with Hawaii, 7-4. The two school’s last played in 2019, when the Rainbow Warriors overcame a two-touchdown deficit to prevail, 31-28. UH receiver JoJo Ward snared four TD receptions to lead the home team to victory. The Hawaii defense held OSU scoreless in the second half.
♦ Last season, Oregon State averaged 28.9 points per game but surrendered an average of 33.3 points per contest. They have a balanced offensive attack (258 running plays, 233 passing plays; 197.6 avg. rushing yards, 211.3 avg. passing yards).
♦ Head coach Jonathan Smith was a four-year starter at QB for OSU (1998-2001). He was a sophomore in 1999, when the Beavers took on Hawaii in the Oahu Bowl. The UH defense sacked Smith six times as Hawaii won, 23-17, to cap June Jones’ first season as UH head coach. Smith was 19 for 40 in the contest, passing for 269 yards and no TDs.
♦ Oregon State hasn’t played in a postseason bowl game since beating Boise State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, but Coach Smith feels that could change soon. “We know we’ve made huge strides and we’re confident in what we’ve got as a program,” he said during the recent Pac-12 media days. “But we know we have work to do to be able to get over that hump and win all these really close games.” (A Pac-12 media poll predicts OSU to finish fifth in the conference’s North Division.)
♦ OSU’s defensive line coach is Legi Suiaunoa, who served two seasons as a UH assistant under Nick Rolovich. Suiaunoa was Hawaii’s defensive coordinator in 2017 after serving as defensive line coach in 2016.
♦ Teagan Quitoriano has been named to the preseason watch list for the John McKay Award, which is annually given to college football’s tight top end. In the abbreviated 2020 season, the caught 14 passes for 185 yards and a TD. He is regarded as a top-flight run blocker.
♦ Although the Beavers had a losing season in 2020, they did beat their arch rival, Oregon, for the first team in four seasons. The 41-38 home win was the program’s first over a Top 25 team since the 2014 season. (The Ducks were ranked 23rd coming into the game.)
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