The No. 13 Utah Utes (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) defeated the Oregon State Beavers (2-6, 0-5 Pac-12) 27-12 on Halloween in Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah's annual blackout game. This is the second time Utah has blacked out Oregon State (the other being in 2011), and Utah is 2-0 in blackout games against the Beavers. After a fast start, Utah went into an offensive lull until the fourth quarter. Utah failed to record a turnover for the second straight game. The offense did not turn the ball over during the game. Quarterback Travis Wilson, running back Devontae Booker, and the Utah defense all played well in the Utah win. Defensive back Reggie Porter recorded four pass breakups in the game, and defensive back Tevin Carter tied a career high with nine tackles.
"It was good to get a win. 7-1 was the objective coming into tonight and that was the only thing we were concerned about. We remained first place in the Pac-12. Bottom line is we are 7-1 and head to Seattle next week with sole possession of the Pac-12 south," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "[The offense] just bogged down. There was nothing different. We wound up 370 yards of offense but that was just in the first and fourth quarters. We didn’t do much in the second and third quarters, maybe 70 yards total. Consistency is something we have to figure out.
Wilson, after struggling and throwing four interceptions against USC, was efficient against OSU, finishing 14-of-17 for 198 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Booker ran for 121 yards on 25 carries and had one touchdown. He caught three passes for 25 yards as well. The Utah defense was strong, allowing only 12 points to the Beavers offense. The defense got a boost with the return of senior, team captain, linebacker Jared Norris, who missed the USC game. Defense end Hunter Dimick did not play in the game for Utah though.
"[Wilson] did a pretty good job. I thought he was accurate. He started out 9-of-10 and finished 14-of-17. We did not throw the ball that much. He completed over 75-percent of his passes, had two touchdowns, no interceptions and over 200 yards. Those are not big numbers but when we asked him to throw, he did successfully. We probably should have thrown the ball more. That seems to be the theme now," said Whittingham.
The Utes started the game off strong with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a one-yard Booker touchdown run. Utah scored again to take a 14-0 lead when Wilson found Harrison Handley for a 39-yard touchdown pass. After the strong start, the Utah offense stalled for the rest of the half.
The Oregon State rushing attack, led by quarterback Nick Mitchell and wide receiver Victor Bolden got going in the second quarter. The Beavers twice drove into the Utah red zone but came away with two field goals. The Beavers tried an onside kick after their first field goal, but Utah recovered. The Utes could not capitalize on the good field position and turned the ball over on downs when Booker was stopped short on a fourth and one in Oregon State territory. Oregon State took the short field and got their second field goal.
Booker rushed for 81 yards in the first half. Wilson only threw one incompletion in the first half, going 9-of-10 for 93 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
"I think they couldn’t stop me early so the coaches believed in me and kept giving me the ball," said Booker
Neither team managed to score in the third quarter. The Utah offense finally got moving at the end of the quarter and scored on a 49-yard Andy Phillips field goal early in the fourth quarter. Utah scored again on a two-yard touchdown run from Wilson to take a 24-6 lead. Oregon State managed to get the game to answer with a touchdown of their own. The score was set up by a 75-yard reception from Jordan Villamin, but they failed to convert the two-point conversion. Utah added a 45-yard field goal from Phillips to give the final score of 27-12.
“Congratulations to Utah. Obviously, they are a quality team. A lot of big moments and big plays. There are some good things we can learn from on that tape, no question. We fell down and we fought. All of those things that we’ve done all year, it’s good to see those things. But again, we have to be able to make the special plays in the special situation. And a lot of the plays that weren’t made, especially at the beginning of the game, weren’t routine plays. It’s hard to tackle a guy in the open field, but you have to tackle a guy in the open field. It’s hard to sack the quarterback when you’re coming off the edge, but you have to sack the quarterback when you’re coming off the edge. And those are just a couple points," said Oregon State head coach Gary Anderson.
Utah will next travel to Seattle, Wash. to take on the Washington Huskies on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. MT on Fox.