Las Vegas, NV —When Oregon State left Corvallis, Oregon and arrived in Sin City, it was strictly business and they handled it as soon as the whistle blew.
Oregon State dominanted Florida to the tune of 30-3 in the Las Vegas Bowl, Saturday afternoon. Adam Mihalek’s 40-yard field goal with 37 seconds left was just a little confidence booster for the Gators.
Oregon State (10-3) won seven of its final eight games, taking control of the contest early in the third by going up 17-0. Florida last were shut out in 1988, a span of 436 games and 57 games longer than any other team.
The ten victories was the third time in program history and the first time in 16 years. They first accomplished the feat in 2000, when coach Jonathan Smith was the team’s quarterback.
The Beavers went 2-10 in 2018, coach Smith’s first season.
“If you were to look back five years ago and say, ‘Hey, you guys are going to have a 10-win season, win the Las Vegas bowl and beat an SEC team,’ there’ll be a lot of people laughing at us,” Oregon State linebacker Jack Colletto said. “But yet we ultimately were able to execute and do it. So five years from now, who knows where we can be?”
Oregon State quarterback Ben Gulbranson threw for 165 yards and got touchdowns both on the ground and passing, running back Deshaun Fenwick ran for 107 yards and was hard to bring down in between the tackles. Fenwick was subbing for Damien Martinez, who went out with a shoulder injury.
Martinez had rushed for at least 100 yards in six consecutive games and needed just 30 yards to become the fourth freshman in program history to gain 1,000 for the season. He had 12 yards on three rushes before the injury.
The Beavers turned a 10-0 halftime lead into a 23-0 advantage seven minutes into the third quarter.
Florida redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Miller looked like a fish without water. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 180 yards. Miller, an Ohio State transfer got the starting nod in the lineup when Anthony Richardson declared for the NFL draft.
The Gators closed their first season under coach Billy Napier with three consecutive losses. This also was their second 6-7 record in a row.
The Gators was 16th in the nation with 213.7 yards rushing per game, but Oregon State also had the 20th-best rush defense in allowing a 114-yard average. This was the fifth time the Beavers didn’t allow an opponent to rush for 100 yards, holding Florida to 39 yards.
Oregon State allowed just 219 yards while gaining 353.
For the first time in 43 years Florida has back-to-back losing seasons, a stat that speaks to the roster issues inherited by coach Napier and his staff just over a year ago. The 1978 Gators went 4-7 in the final season under Coach Doug Dickey and 0-10-1 in the first under Charley Pell.
“It’s my job to have the team ready to play,” Napier said. “We were not as ready to play as we needed to be.”