BYU’s offense played well enough to win, but BYU’s defense made too many mistakes as Oregon State defeated BYU 42-24 in the homecoming game Saturday.
After kicking a field to cut Oregon State’s lead to 28-24, the Cougars were in a position to get the ball back with time to take the lead. However, two pass interference penalties gave the Beavers extra chances to score the game sealing touchdown. With the score 35-24, the Cougars attempted to come back only to see a Riley Nelson pass bounce out of the hands of Ross Apo and into the hands of Jordan Poyer of Oregon State, who ran for a touchdown.
BYU’s defense had been ranked No. 5 in the nation in total defense coming into this game. However, it was the Cougar’s vaunted defense that struggled, giving up a season-high 450 yards.
“They just played better than us today,” said senior defensive back Preston Hadley. “They were able to spread our defense out and get some easy throws for their quarterback. We naturally had to back off, and our coverage just didn’t hold.”
Making his first career start in place of injured starting quarterback Sean Mannion, Cody Vaz played like he had been starting all year. The junior threw for 332 yards and three touchdown passes.
“I knew we couldn’t play BYU just slugging it out up front, and I knew Cody could throw the ball,” said OSU Head Coach Mike Riley. “BYU is a very good defensive team, and I thought we handled that part pretty well and allowed Cody to do what he can do.”
Brandin Cooks ran wild through BYU’s secondary, accumulating 173 yards and receiving on eight receptions.
Nelson returned after missing the last two games with a back injury to start at quarterback for BYU. Nelson put any doubts about his health to rest by opening the game with a 16-yard quarterback draw. The senior finished the game with 302 yards and a touchdown. Turnovers remained an issue as Nelson threw three interceptions.
Cody Hoffman was Nelson’s main target throughout the game. The junior was a terror downfield once again, following his nine-catch, 162-yard performance in 2011 with eight catches for 102 yards. With 102 yards Hoffman became the 15th player in school history to have at least 2,000 career receiving yards. Hoffman also extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 26.
Freshman running back Jamaal Williams continued his great play, filling in for injured starter Michael Alisa. Williams chipped in only 37 yards rushing but did have two touchdowns. Williams also played a big role in the passing game, catching four passes for 76 yards.
Despite the struggles by the defense, the offense feels they could have put their team in a better position to win rather than settling for a field goal.
“When you’re on the ten yard line in a game like that, if they’re gonna score touchdowns you’ve gotta score touchdowns,” Nelson said.
With the loss BYU’s record falls to 4-3. OSU improves to 5-0 for the first time since 1939 after beating BYU.
BYU will head to South Bend, Indiana, to face Notre Dame a week from today. Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation and remains undefeated after beating Stanford 20-13 in overtime.
“It’s a new week and a new team,” Hadley said. “Each week the goal is to go 1-0. So we’re gonna prepare like crazy and get ready for (Notre Dame). We’re gonna bring the fight to them.”