CORVALLIS, Ore. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes defense could carry the team for only so long before the team’s offensive struggles caught up with them.
Silas Bolden caught a 27-yard touchdown pass and ran 45 yards for another score and No. 19 Oregon State handed No. 10 Utah its first loss of the season with a 21-7 victory Friday night.
Damien Martinez added an early touchdown dash and the Beavers (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) rebounded from last weekend’s close loss to No. 16 Washington State.
Utah (4-1, 1-1) was still without quarterback Cam Rising, who warmed up with the team but was in street clothes at kickoff.
Rising, a sixth-year senior who has led the Utes to back-to-back Pac-12 titles, tore his left ACL during the Rose Bowl in January and needed surgery. He has been practicing with the team, splitting reps with Nate Johnson, but hasn’t been cleared to play.
Johnson, making his third straight start, completed just three of 12 passes for 35 yards before he was replaced with Bryson Barnes in the third quarter. Last weekend after Utah’s 14-7 victory over UCLA, Johnson apologized on social media for the lackluster performance.
But Johnson returned in the fourth quarter and threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Yassmin with just over five minute left to avoid the shutout.
The Utes offense has scored just two touchdowns in the last two games combined.
“Oregon State came right out from the get go, excellent game plan, both on O and D. Give them all the credit. They made plays,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We didn’t make plays. We had one touchdown and not even 200 yards of offense. We’re going to win exactly zero games doing that.”
DJ Uiagalelei threw for 204 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers, while Bolden caught six passes for 100 yards.
Jonah Elliss had two more sacks to lead the Utes defense, and now has a nation-leading 7.5 sacks through five games.
After Utah turned the ball over on downs on its first series of the game, the Beavers scored on Martinez’s 4-yard run. Martinez was leading the Pac-12 with an average of 108 yards rushing a game. But Utah held him to 65 yards.
Going into the game, Utah’s rushing defense was ranked third in the nation, allowing an average of just 51 yards a game and only 2.02 yards a carry.
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith mixed things up a bit, bringing in freshman quarterback Aiden Chiles for a series in the second quarter.
Before halftime, Bolden dove to bring down a 40-yard pass from Uiagalelei but the Beavers couldn’t capitalize and were forced to punt.
Bolden connected with Uiagalelei for a 27-yard touchdown strike early in the third quarter. Uiaalelei pitched to Bolden for the 45-yard scoring run on fourth-and-1 before the quarter was over.
“We’re waiting for doctors to give us the thumbs up,” Whittingham said about Rising. “We just don’t have that yet. Cam wants to play badly, but it has to be a medical decision.”
Utah will drop in the rankings and have a bye week before hosting Cal on October 14 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.