Oregon State came up about a foot short on 4th & 19 with 33 seconds left, when Trey Lowe was hauled down just shy of the first down that would have at least allowed the Beavers to try to pull out a win Saturday in Pullman. It continued a trend where Oregon State had come up short in a number of situations as the afternoon went along. The result was a 31-24 come from behind Washington State win.
An awful pass that resulted in an interception late in the first half didn’t wind up hurting Oregon State, mostly because the Beaver defense came up with one of their own to preserve a 10-3 halftime lead.
But after a baffling fake punt call that ended in a wildly incomplete pass that gave Washington State the ball at midfield, which the Cougars converted into a game tieing touchdown by Max Borghi (a sequence eerily similar to how the game ended the last time the Beavers were in Pullman), the same Oregon State defense that had all but shut out the Cougar offense in the first half didn’t counter-adjust to Washington State’s halftime adjustments, also didn’t stop the Cougars again, until the victory formation kneel down on the last play of the game.
The result was a Cougar passing effort that fell 1 yard shy of 400 yards, and squandered an over 300 yard Beaver rushing effort, that saw BJ Baylor, above, roll up 145 yards on 18 carries, and an similarly impressive 127 yard, 2 touchdown afternoon for Deshaun Fenwick, below.
Compounding the problem for the Beavers was a second consecutive poor outing for QB Chance Nolan. After starting the season strong against sub-par defenses, 2 of the best in the Pac-12, both from Oregon State’s nearby neighbors to the north, have been a whole different pair of animals.
Nolan, above, completed only 44% of his passes, connecting on only 11 of 25 passes, for only 158 yards, and a pair of ugly interceptions.
In contrast, Cougar QB Jayden de Laura, below, had a mostly pressure free afternoon, and completed 32 of 46 passes, 70%, for those 399 yards, and 2 second half touchdowns.
The win improves the Cougars to 3-3 for the season, and 2-2 in the Pac-12, with Stanford headed to the Palouse next Saturday evening.
Oregon State stumbled to 4-2, and 2-1 in the Pac-12, and into their bye week, having had their 4 game winning streak stopped, and their losing streak against the Cougars extended to 8 games.
The break comes at a good time, with the Beavers needing to assess both their passing game and their defensive scheme, before their Homecoming in 2 weeks against Utah, who defeated USC 42-26 tonight, for their first win over the Trojans ever in the LA Coliseum. The Utes (3-2, 2-0) will first have a showdown with Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) for first place in the Pac-12 South.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)