Oregon State running back Damien Martinez will be suspended for the team's bowl game after his arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Stopped for allegedly running a red light, Martinez is also accused of reckless driving and reckless endangerment. He was cited for being a minor in possession of marijuana, per Corvallis Police.
"We are aware of the alleged law violations involving Damien Martinez and take these matters very seriously," athletic director Scott Barnes said in a statement. "Damien will not be participating in the upcoming bowl game and we will continue to gather more information about the investigation."
Martinez, a sophomore from Lewisville, Texas, has been Oregon State's most reliable offensive weapon since he stepped foot on campus. He leads the Beavers and is second in the Pac-12 with 1,185 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. His 6.1 yards per carry ranks fourth among Pac-12 running backs with at least 100 attempts.
Martinez was named the 2022 Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Pac 12 first team after rushing for 982 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago. He announced via social media and confirmed to 247Sports that he plans on returning to Oregon State for the 2024 season.
Made a mistake, I am fine , I WAS FINE, I’ll be fine….. 🙏— damien martinez🔸 (@damienfor6) November 30, 2023
Martinez's suspension is another blow for a suddenly reeling program. Coach Jonathan Smith, who spent six years in Corvallis and won 18 games over the last two seasons, left for Michigan State one day after Oregon State's regular-season finale loss to Oregon. The Beavers picked defensive coordinator Trent Bray as Smith's successor, a move that Martinez celebrated on Twitter.
Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is alsofor the second time in his career. Uiagalelei passed for 2,638 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 219 yards and six touchdowns in his lone season with the program.
Where the Beavers turn next
With an 8-4 finish to the regular season, Oregon State is expected to get a decent bowl bid. With Martinez out, the Beavers don't have a ton of experienced options they can turn to. That means former South Carolina transfer Deshaun Fenwick could be in for a heavy workload.
The 6-foot-2 redshirt senior finished second on the team with 90 carries for 500 yards and five touchdowns. This marked his second straight season with at least 500 yards rushing. He has shown some explosive ability throughout his career, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He's never been used much as a bell-cow back, with an average of just around eight touches per game, so he would have to adapt to the new role quickly.
Fenwick is the only other running back on Oregon State's roster with at least 30 carries. Uiagalelei is the Beavers' third-leading rusher, though he isn't expected to play given his decision to transfer.
Freshman quarterback Aidan Chiles could get his first career start. He adds plenty of rushing upside to the offense, with 79 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Sophomore running back Isaiah Newell has 22 carries, but 17 of those came in blowout wins against UC Davis and Stanford.