Chance Nolan returns to practice, Ben Gulbranson in line to earn start vs. Washington
Chance Nolan opened Oregon State’s season as the starting quarterback, but he hasn’t played since the end of the first quarter against Utah on Oct. 1. In his place, Ben Gulbranson has started three straight games — all of them wins.
Coach Jonathan Smith said Monday that Nolan has returned to practice this week, though he’s limited.
“Still limited,” Smith said. “Didn’t do the whole thing, so we’ll see how he kind of responds and works through the week.”
Smith said that if he had to make a decision on the starter right now, he’d likely go with Gulbranson again.
A redshirt junior, Nolan had started 17 straight games for the Beavers before an injury knocked him out of action. He suffered a neck injury against Utah that also sent him into concussion protocol. Through the first four games of the season and a quarter against the Utes, Nolan had thrown for 939 yards and seven scores.
In his last two outings, though, there were concerning signs. Nolan was picked off four times by USC in a 17-14 loss at Reser Stadium on Sept. 24. Utah picked off two of his first seven passes before he left the game. Neither outing featured a touchdown pass.
The Beavers have lost their top receiving threat in tight end Luke Musgrave, but Gulbranson has been growing in comfort since taking over for Nolan. He was also picked off twice by the Utes, but has just one interception to five touchdowns in the three games since.
In other injury news, Smith also announced that guard Marco Brewer is out for the season after leaving the Beavers’ win over Colorado with an undisclosed injury. Smith said Brewer would be sidelined for a couple of months. Musgrave is likely out for the year as well. Running back Trey Lowe did light work on Monday, Smith said, but he’s not expected to be available against Washington.
No. 24 Oregon State (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12 travels to Washington (6-2, 3-2) Friday night to face the Huskies. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.