The blackout may have left a sour taste in the mouths of the Cougar faithful, as BYU fell to the Oregon State Beavers in Provo, 42-24.
The game was tied at halftime, and tied after 3 quarters, but the Beavers blew the game open in the 4th. Fueled by 3 Riley Nelson interceptions, Oregon State ended up cruising to victory, effectively spoiling BYU's homecoming blackout.
What was expected by most to be a defensive showdown quickly became anything but. The Beavers racked up 450 total yards and 6 touchdowns on what had been a top-5 Cougar defense. The BYU offense also came alive, tallying nearly 400 yards, 3 TDs and a field goal. Here's a look back at our keys to the game, to see what went right and wrong for the Cougars.
Battle of the Backups. Cody Vaz was clearly the superior quarterback today, filling in admirably for the fallen Sean Mannion. Vaz ended the day going 20/32 for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns. In comparison, Riley was 28/51 (yes, 51) for 305 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Riley Nelson should never throw the ball 51 times. Ever.
Rushing. Neither team was stellar, but Oregon State's RB committee won out, totaling 118 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Their leading rusher was Storm Woods, who carried 11 times for 57 yards. Jamaal Williams and Riley Nelson led the Cougars with 36 and 29 rushing yards, respectively.
Turnovers. BYU lost the turnover battle 3-0 today. It was an awful day for the BYU defense overall, but the season-long trend has been an inability to create turnovers, and it continues to hurt. Riley Nelson continues to be Riley Nelson, taking sacks or throwing odd, hanging passes into coverage when throwing it away would be most appropriate.
Kicking. Happily (or not?), the game did not come down to a kick attempt. But, relegating Riley Stephenson to just punt duty seems to have helped things, because Justin Sorensen was perfect on the day. He ended with a 35 yard field goal and 3 PATs.
What we know about Oregon State (5-0)
The Beavers didn't look like the #10 team for most of the game, but those that didn't watch the game will look at the final score and not understand how close the game actually was. Aided by Riley's Turnovers™ (coming to a location near you!), the Beavers pulled away and showed the Cougars why they are ranked as high as they are. Oregon State is 5-0 for the first time since 1939. Next week they will host the Utah Utes in Corvallis, as they begin the soft part of their Pac12 schedule.
What we know about BYU (4-3)
Today we saw the bizzaro Cougars. They scored 24 points on offense and gave up 42 on defense (sure, offset that by 7 because of the pick-6). I did not see this high-scoring game coming, based on play from both teams, as well as the Sean Mannion injury. The Cougars are heading to South Bend for another tough test next week, where they will face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The question is, which BYU will show up?