After watching Oregon State play extremely well last week against then No. 1 USC, Utah came as another test for the young Beavers.
Fans around the country turned their heads to watch the upstart Beavers, wondering if they were indeed a legitimate Pac-10 contender.
And after Thursday night, many believed they are not. But not so fast. Utah was an out of conference game, and though the Beavers dropped to 2-3 on the season, they have yet to continue the majority of Pac-10 play.
The Beavers kept Brian Johnson/Asiata/Mack and the exciting Utah offense to only 337 total yards, including a meager 30 in the third quarter. So what happened?
In the first half, the Beavers missed an extra point, then failed on a two point conversion. Then, in the fourth quarter, after Johnson hit Brent Casteel for a touchdown, safety Greg Laybourn was called for pass interference. And the Beavers showed no drive as they went three-and-out on their next drive.
Utah then utilized Super-All-American K/P Luis Sakoda to win the game on a late FG.
But for the Beavers, the loss is not as bad as it seems. Lyle Moevao was 21-of-31 for 313 yards and two touchdowns, and Jacquizz Rodgers finished with 101 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Rodgers bros, James and Jacquizz, finished with 82 and 75 receiving yards respectively. Sammie Stroughter only caught two passes for 32 yards, and was bothered by an injury much of the night.
The Beaver defense was very strong at times, stuffing Utah's dual-threat running attack, and forcing Brian Johnson to make some poor throws as well. But they were unable to stop Johnson as he put 11 points on the board in the waining minutes of the fourth quarter. Disappointing? Very. But this defense is growing, and for a while it looked like the '07 Beavers had returned.
Utah's vaunted rush defense was solid, at times it appeared like they maybe were a little too blitz-happy, and the secondary was mediocre at best. But the same could be said for Oregon State, who's secondary gave up too many big plays at important times in the game.
Offensively Oregon State had the edge, but failed to convert on enough third downs, and of course, special teams was huge. Utah WR David Reed took a kickoff down the Oregon State 15, and on the day Oregon State was one for three on PAT's. That is not going to win you games.
The season continues for both teams, as the Beavers take on Washington State next week, and the Utes face off with Wyoming.