Kefense Hynson has been involved in organized football for nearly three decades, the last five of which as a wide receivers coach at Oregon State.
What Hynson saw live Saturday night at Stanford Stadium had him watching on video during the flight home, and repeatedly with players when the team met Sunday afternoon.
“That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen,” Hynson said of Tre’Shaun Harrison’s 56-yard catch and run for a touchdown to give the Beavers a 28-27 win over Stanford .
Harrison sprinted downfield, spinning with Stanford corner Ethan Bonner in front of him and safety Patrick Fields five yards behind. OSU quarterback Ben Gulbranson threw a 20-yard pass intended for Harrison to come up and make a play. Harrison came up and over Bonner, ripping the ball off the helmet from the corner of Stanford then pivoted and raced the remaining 35 yards to the end zone as the Cardinal’s defenders chased in vain.
“We’re talking about going up and getting past defenders…that was, and then some. That was an amazing catch. One of the best catches probably this year,” Hynson said.
Thing is, Harrison’s reception had company. For passing accuracy, catching a ball under duress, athleticism and timing, Silas Bolden’s 21-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter was worthy of a spotlight.
“One of the best takes I’ve ever seen,” Gulbranson said.
Without Bolden’s take, the game probably isn’t all about Harrison. OSU, trailing 24-10, was fourth-and-eight at Stanford 21 with less than a quarter remaining. If the Beavers fail, there probably won’t be enough time to catch and pass the Cardinal like Oregon State eventually did.
First, the room itself. Gulbranson opted to bypass first down and instead, six runs when he saw a peculiar stare from the Stanford defense.
“They gave us a look that we liked. It’s easy when you can take 10 guys off the field and play one-on-one,” Gulbranson said.
Except that Cardinal Corner Nicolas Toomer made it difficult. Gulbranson tossed the ball into tight space, a pass that sailed just over Toomer’s shoulder and into an arm from Bolden.
Catching him was only part of the feat. Bolden caught the ball off the sideline and was able to tap both feet inbounds, though only one is required in college football.
Bolden’s ability to touch his foot in a timely manner is a daily practice during training.
“It becomes muscle memory,” Hynson said. “You combine that with the physical abilities and you get Silas Bolden.”
Gulbranson’s performance: Predictably, Gulbranson had mixed feelings about his first start at Oregon State. The sophomore completed 20 of 28 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns while helping OSU’s running game play at a high level. In contrast, Gulbranson has been sacked four times, twice as many as the Beavers have surrendered in their first five games.
“There are definitely a lot of things I think I could improve on,” Gulbranson said.
Gulbranson felt he was fully prepared for his first start, but admitted: “I was definitely nervous… I was quite nervous throughout the week. The coaches came up with a great plan for me.
No decision has been made on whether Gulbranson or Chance Nolan will start Saturday’s game against Washington State at Reser Stadium. Nolan is currently under concussion protocol after taking a hit late in the first quarter against Utah on Oct. 1. 1.
If it’s Gulbranson, he’ll encounter a decidedly different atmosphere. Gulbranson played three quarters at Utah’s noisy Rice-Eccles Stadium and then at Stanford. This time it will be Reser’s friendly compound.
“We have the biggest Pac-12 fans,” Gulbranson said. “They make so much noise and energy. It will definitely be a great feeling if I have the opportunity to play in front of the fans.
Tongue attached: After six games into the season, one of the most hyped transfers of the Jonathan Smith era has yet to statistically make anything other than three special teams tackles. Makiya Tongue, a former 4-star recruit and transfer from Georgia, played in all six games but few appearances at receiver.
Since transferring to OSU in 2020, Tongue has had one career take, last season against Idaho. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound son of former Beavers guard Reggie Tongue struggled with injuries last season but has adapted for every game in 2022.
Hynson said they had games involving Tongue for Stanford, but they were never called.
“I’m still high on Makiya. He’s a good player,” Hynson said. “He plays hard. He trains hard. He does everything the right way.
— Nick Daschel reported from Corvallis.
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