Musgrave and Baylor help Oregon state defeat Utah 42-34
Oregon State took a pretty good shot from Utah in the first eight minutes, but the Beavers never wavered and responded with an overall performance that earned them a spot in a bowl.
Luke Musgrave blocked and returned a punt for a touchdown, BJ Baylor rushed for more than 100 yards and a score, and Oregon State made up for an early deficit to defeat Utah 42-34 on Saturday evening.
The Beavers (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12), trailing 24-14 at halftime, scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half to gain control.
One more victory and the Beavers will be eligible for the first time since the 2013 season.
“What lies ahead is more important than going to a bowling game,” said fourth-year coach Jonathan Smith. “And so the mantra is you try to win a game to make the next game bigger and that’s what we did.”
Oregon State, the conference leader in rushing yards per game, rushed for 260 yards with Baylor, who came in averaging 112.8 yards per game, leading the way with 152.
Quarterback Chance Nolan had 14 passes for 19 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, with Trevon Bradford capturing six passes for 74 yards and one score. Bradford also had two carries for 20 yards and a touchdown.
Utah came in, allowing just 128.3 to rushing.
“First off, I think they have the best offense in the conference, and statistically that will bear out,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They lead the ball better than anyone, they score more points than anyone, convert third downs better than anyone. … Their offensive line is extremely effective. … They are well trained, they have an identity and they know exactly who they are and what they want to be.
Utah (4-3, 3-1).
Tavion Thomas led Utah’s rushed offense with 74 yards on 21 carries with two scores and quarterback Cameron Rising added 73 yards on 10 attempts. Rising completed 22 of 36 attempts for 267 yards and two scores.
The Utes took the opening kickoff and went 75 yards with Rising connecting with Micah Bernard for a 14 yard pass for the score. Rising then funded Brant Kuithe wide open in the back corner of the end zone for 11 yards and a 14-0 lead with 7:19 left in the first.
A 68-yard run from Baylor set up a 1-yard pass from Nolan to Jack Colletto and the Beavers reduced the deficit to 17-14.
Utah recovered from a fumble on the 19 in the final two minutes of halftime and Thomas finished the short haul with a 3-yard rush for a 24-14 halftime lead.
The Beavers regained the upper hand after halftime, scoring 75 yards in 10 games with Nolan connecting at Bradford for 11 yards to make it 24-21.
Oregon State took its first lead, 28-24, thanks to a blocked punt and a 27-yard return for a Musgrave score.
“This thing is changing the game,” Smith said. “It wasn’t a crazy run on the punt, we bring in four guys and they do their job and believe they can make a play and they did.”
Utah responded with a one-yard run from Thomas to regain the 31-28 lead with 5:01 left in the third.
But Bradford’s 10-yard touchdown run put the Beavers back in place for good and Baylor then scored on eight yards to make it 42-31.
Alex Austin then interrupted a fourth pass with 6:22 left to give possession to the Beavers with an 11-point lead. On the third down, Nolan hit Tre-Shaun Harrison on 54 yards to get the Beavers out of a hole and help save time.
Colletto, a former quarterback, has been used a lot this season by the Beavers in short range offensive situations. So it was no surprise when he was on the field with the Beavers at the 1-yard line.
But instead of taking over – he has five rushing touchdowns this season – Colletto came out for an assist and made the first touchdown of his career to bring the Beavers down to 17-14 in the second quarter.
He is the 16th player to have an interception, one touchdown and one receiving touchdown in the same season since 1996, and the second this year (Baylor’s Dillon Doyle).
UTAH: The Utes were fortunate enough to start the conference game 4-0 for the first time since joining the Pac-12. Instead, they are tied with Arizona State for the lead in the South Division.
OREGON STATE: The Beavers were given a week off to recover from a loss in Washington State that ended a four-game winning streak. It didn’t look good in the first five minutes, but the defense made some big saves and the Beavers remain tied for first in the North Division.
Utah: hosts UCLA next Saturday.
Oregon State: Play in California next Saturday.
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