Corvallis, OR- The Brigham Young University Cougars traveled to Corvallis to face coach Bronco Mendenhall’s Alma Mater The Oregon State University Beavers. Riley Nelson showed improvement over last week, but he was still a little rough around the edges. However that wasn’t a factor as the Cougar’s running backs stepped it up and the receivers, especially Cody Hoffman who caught nine passes for 162 yards, made some plays to create the best offensive night of the season for BYU. They never trailed in the 38-28 victory that felt even better than the scoreboard indicated.
Michael Alisa helped establish the Cougars running game on BYU’s first drive as he picked up 26 yards and capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run that put them up 7-0.
After the touchdown, the Beavers had a nice drive going behind running back Malcolm Agnew who picked up 40 yards on the drive which got to the BYU 6-yard line before Kyle Van Noy intercepted a pass from Sean Mannion and returned it to the 50-yard line to put the Cougars in good position. A few plays later Nelson threw a 19-yard pass to Hoffman to set up the three yard rushing touchdown by JJ Di Luigi to put the Cougars up 14-0.
The Beavers had no problem moving the ball on the next possession as they shifted from the running game to the passing game. This shift in play calling came because Markus Wheaton kept finding soft spots in BYU’s zone defense. During the drive, which ended with a one yard rushing touchdown by Mannion, Wheaton caught passes for 19, 16, and 26 yards.
With 1:38 left in the half, the Cougars got the ball back and attempted to get a quick score in before halftime. The drive started with a nice run by Nelson for 22 yards, but on the third play of the drive Nelson’s pass was intercepted by Jordan Poyer and returned for a touchdown to tie the game up.
The Cougars got the ball back on their own 20-yard line with 1:18 left in the half. They had no problem moving the ball, but they didn’t have enough time to get as close as they wanted. Justin Sorensen attempted a 50-yard field goal, but it was blocked.
The first play of the second half was a 34-yard pass from Nelson to Hoffman. The Cougars then ran the ball five times with Hoffman, Alisa, and Nelson getting the carries to pick up another 34 yards. They ended the drive with a 12-yard pass from Nelson to Hoffman for a touchdown to go up 21-14.
Later in the third quarter, the Beavers had the ball on their own 37-yard line. Mannion passed to Colby Prince who dropped the ball as he was tackled by Brandon Ogletree. Matt Putnam recovered it to give the Cougers the ball in Beaver territory. BYU wasn’t able to get anything going, but started close enough that they were able to knock in a field goal to make it 24-14.
Oregon State responded three plays later when Brandin Cooks broke away from his defender and Mannion hit him for a 59-yard touchdown to make it 24-21.
BYU responded with a 66-yard drive that spread the ball around as they used four different running backs. Each gained chunks of yardage to chip away at the field. The drive was assisted by an 18-yard pass from Nelson to Hoffman and ended with a pass from Nelson to JD Falslev, who was wide open in the end zone, for a touchdown to make it 31-21.
Down by ten with about ten minutes left in the game, the Beavers turned to their passing game to try and gain some traction. They pulled off a 52-yard drive, but were stopped at the BYU 31-yard line and missed a 48-yard field goal.
Several plays later Di Luigi turned on the afterburners as he completed a 41-yard run to help set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Kaneakua Friel to put the game out of reach for the Beavers with less than 4 minutes left in the game.
BYU’s offense is finally starting to appear and it had better continue developing if they want to beat TCU, the newest member of the Big 12 conference, in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in two weeks.
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