Cougars unable to hold on late in 42-24 loss to No. 10 Oregon State

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Box score

PROVO, Utah - BYU matched No. 10 Oregon State with three touchdowns into the third quarter but was unable to hold on in the fourth to drop the contest, 42-24, in front of a sellout crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday.

"Congratulations to Mike Riley and Oregon State. They had a very nice plan and executed it very well on both sides of the ball," head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We believed we had a great chance to compete and win this game, I think we did. We didn’t play well enough to do it."

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Oregon State (5-0) rolled up 450 yards to snap BYU’s (4-3) 12-game streak of holding opponents under 300 yards. The Beavers were the last team to gain over 300 yards against the Cougars, a streak spanning 12 games since last year.

BYU collected 386 total yards with 305 coming through the air.

Freshman Jamaal Williams ran in two touchdowns as part of his 15 carries for 36 yards and did damage on short shovel passes with four receptions for 76 yards. Junior Cody Hoffman was a steady target for the Cougars with 10 completions for 102 yards. The game marks his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season and puts him at 2,004 career receiving yards, the 13th player in school history to do so.

"I thought Jamaal Williams emerged and I actually thought we threw it and caught it better than we had and were more consistent offensively probably through three-quarters of the game, maybe three and a half quarters," Mendenhall said.

The score was tied 21-all at the start of the fourth quarter before the Beavers were able to put the game away.

Senior quarterback Riley Nelson completed 28 of 51 for 305 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

In the opening drive of the game Oregon State marched down field 75 yards to quickly go up 7-0 with an 11-yard touchdown. The score ended the Cougars’ 13-quarter streak of holding opposing offenses without a touchdown.

BYU engineered its own scoring drive on its first possession with Williams trotting into the end zone to tie the contest 7-7 with 9:27 left in the first quarter. A 16-yard pickup by Nelson on the first play and an 18-yard completion by Ross Apo highlighted the drive. The touchdown was the first allowed by Oregon State in a first quarter this season.

The Beavers struck again with a 43-yard completion before a 24-yard touchdown pass put them up 14-7 with 3:01 left in the first quarter.

On 4th and 5 at Oregon State’s 25, Hoffman pulled down a sideline toss for a gain of eight to keep the drive alive. Facing another 4th down, Alex Kuresa came in on the wildcat package and picked up two yards for the conversion. The Cougars converted their third 4th down when Nelson found Devin Mahina in the back of the end zone for a two-yard toss to match the score, 14-14, with 3:18 in the half.

Oregon State strung together a 10-play series capped off by a 16-yard rushing touchdown to regain the lead, 21-14, with 6:26 left in the third quarter.

Nelson went to work on the next possession finding Mahina on 3rd and 10 to move the chains 22 yards. On the next play, Nelson connected with Richard Wilson for a pickup of 19 yards.
Williams finished off the nine-play drive with a two-yard touchdown run to move the score to 21-21 with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks grabbed a pass and took off for 59 yards to set the Beavers up at BYU’s 5. Van Noy got a hand on the pass but Oregon State caught the ball in the end zone to go back up 28-21 with 14:48 on the clock.

Nelson pitched it to Williams for a 30-yard gain before hitting Hoffman for 22 yards to set up Justin Sorenson with a 35-yard field goal to close the gap to 28-24 with under nine minutes to play.

After picking up a 30-yard rush, the Beavers ran into the end zone from 12 yards out to move ahead 35-24 with 5:30 left in the game. Oregon State quickly posted another score after returning an interception to extend its lead for a final score of 42-24.

"We’ll have to get right back up and work extremely hard, and we will have to rally, and focus hard and make little improvements, going into a difficult setting figuratively, and that’s part of the reason of playing coach is fun," Mendenhall said.

BYU travels to South Bend, Ind., to face its second top-10 team in as many weeks against Notre Dame on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised live on NBC.

Postgame notes and quotes

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