Canzano: Sun Bowl debacle sets stage for Trent Bray era
Notre Dame drubs Oregon State 40-8.
Oregon State was in over its head on Friday in the Sun Bowl. No way around it. Notre Dame had better players, a full-time coaching staff, and walked off with a 40-8 victory in El Paso, Tex.
The most memorable play for me was an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter. So if you’ll humor me, I’d like to gloss over the complete Irish domination and focus on that one harmless throw.
Ben Gulbranson got the start for OSU. I was happy for him. He served as the third-string quarterback all season and had exactly one pass attempt in the regular season — a six-yard completion in mop-up duty during a blowout win over Stanford.
It would have been a fun story, yeah?
Gulbranson has a degree in public health. He stuck around this season to throw passes in practice and be a solid teammate. He didn’t rush into the transfer portal last spring and scramble to some needy Big Sky or Mountain West program. Gulbranson stuck it out, knowing he was unlikely to get snaps behind transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and freshman Aidan Chiles.
His former head coach, Jonathan Smith, worked hard to pacify both of those guys. When Uiagalelei struggled — and he did, at times — Smith backed him. And the coach also gifted the promising Chiles one series per game. It was a tricky balancing act, but the Beavers pulled it off.
He got table scraps.
All season long.
Never said a peep.