CORVALLIS, Ore. (ABC4 Sports) – It was a fantastic start for Utah, but an even better finish for Oregon State.
After the Utes jumped out to a 14-0 lead, Oregon State scored 42 points in a little over three quarters to end the Utes three-game winning streak Saturday night, 42-34.
Luke Musgrave blocked and returned a punt for a touchdown, while B.J. Baylor rushed for 152 yards and a score, as the Beavers put up 468 yards on the normally stout Utah defense.
The Beavers (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12), who trailed 24-14 at the half, scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half to take control.
Utah (4-3, 3-1) moves into a first place tie with Arizona State atop the Pac-12 South, but the Utes own the tiebreaker by virtue of its 35-21 victory over the Sun Devils last week.
One more win and the Beavers will be bowl eligible for the first time since the 2013 season.
Oregon State, the conference leader in rushing yards per game, rushed for 260 yards. Utah entered the game allowing just 128.3 on the ground.
“First of all, I think they have the best offense in the conference, and statistically that will bear out,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They run the ball better than anybody, they score more points than anybody, convert third downs better than anybody. … Their offensive line is extremely efficient. … They’re well coached, and they have an identity, and they know exactly who they are and what they want to be.”
Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan was 14-for-19 passing for 208 yards and two touchdowns with Trevon Bradford catching six passes for 74 yards and a score. Bradford also had two carries for 20 yards and a touchdown.
“What’s in front of us is bigger than going to a bowl game,” fourth-year coach Jonathan Smith said. “And so the mantra is you try to win a game to make the next game bigger and that’s what we did.”
Utah (4-3, 3-1) led in time of possession but missed a field goal and was stopped twice on fourth down from the 2-yard line. The Utes put up 455 yards of total offense.
Tavion Thomas, who left the game with an injury, led the Utah rushing attack with 74 yards on 21 carries with two scores and quarterback Cam Rising added 73 yards in 10 attempts. Rising completed 22 of 36 attempts for 267 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 73 yards on 10 carries.
The Utes took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards with Rising connecting with Micah Bernard for a 14-yard pass for the score. Rising then fund Brant Kuithe wide open in the back corner of the end zone for an 11-yard scores and a 14-0 lead with 7:19 left in the first.
A 68-yard Baylor run set up a 1-yard pass from Nolan to Jack Colletto and the Beavers cut the deficit to 17-14.
Utah recovered a fumble at the 19 in the final two minutes of the half and Thomas finished the short drive with a 3-yard run for a 24-14 halftime lead.
The Beavers clawed back into it after the half, going 75 yards in 10 plays with Nolan connecting with Bradford for an 11-yard score to make it 24-21.
Oregon State took its first lead, 28-24, thanks to a blocked punt and 27-yard return for a score by Musgrave.
“That thing changes the game,” Smith said. “It wasn’t an all-out rush on the punt, we’re bringing four guys and they’re doing their job and believing they can make a play and they did.”
Utah answered with a 1-yard run by Thomas to regain the lead 31-28 with 5:01 left in the third.
But after Utah star linebacker Devin Lloyd was ejected for targeting, Oregon State could not be stopped.
Bradford’s 10-yard touchdown run put the Beavers back up for good and Baylor later scored from eight yards out to make it 42-31.
Alex Austin then broke up a fourth-down pass with 6:22 to play to give the Beavers possession with the 11-point lead. On third down, Nolan hit Tre-Shaun Harrison for 54 yards to get the Beavers out of a hole and help run time off the clock.
Utah next hosts UCLA October 30th at 8:00 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.