CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — With a bold fourth-and-1 play for a touchdown, No. 19 Oregon State showed it wasn’t going to let one loss define the season.
Out of a tightly-bunched formation, Beavers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei faked a quarterback sneak and pitched to Silas Bolden, who ran 45 yards for the score that all but sealed the Beavers’ 21-7 victory over No. 10 Utah on Friday night.
“You’ve just got to play with no fear. Go out there with confidence. Make plays,” Bolden said.
In addition to his touchdown run, Bolden aught a 27-yard touchdown pass. 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 after Barnes was hurt and threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Yassmin with just over five minute left to avoid the shutout.
“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, who lost 38-35 at Washington State last weekend. Bolden caught six passes for 100 yards.
“I think they were excited to play,” Beavers coach Jonathan Smith said about his team’s rebound. “They knew the challenge, how good these guys were.”
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. Uiagalelei pitched to Bolden for the 45-yard scoring run on fourth-and-1.
“Seeing that from the backfield is unbelievable. You just throw your arms up,” Uiagalelei said. “It’s an easy play for a quarterback, I don’t really got to do too much. It’s a snap and I just pitch it to one of my guys.”
The Beavers dipped a bit in the AP Top 25 after the loss last weekend to the Cougars, but the victory over another top-10 opponent should see then move up a few sports. The Utes, meanwhile, are off next week, so it’s possible Rising will return Oct. 14 against California.
“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: The Utes also are without tight end Brant Kuithe, who like Rising hasn’t played this season while recovering from a torn ACL. … Defensive end Logan Fano was injured in the second quarter and had to be helped off the field. … There was no update after the game on Barnes’ injury, but he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Oregon State: The Beavers wore head-to-toe Orange uniforms for the first time since 2018. … The game was declared a sellout with standing room only. … It was Oregon State’s seventh straight win at Reser Stadium. … Calvin Hart. Jr. was ejected early in the fourth quarter for targeting.
Utah: At California on Oct. 14.
Oregon State: At California on Oct. 7.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll