Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson (13) runs for a first down against Oregon State in Provo Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.
In what was a much more competative contest than the final score may indicate, the BYU Cougars ran into Hurricane Vaz and a Top-10 Oregon Beavers team that looked every bit of its ranking.
BYU fell 42-24 Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Beavers lost their starting quarterback Sean Mannion prior to this week, but backup Cody Vaz stepped in and didn't miss a beat. Vaz completed 20-of-32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns. BYU's Top-5 defense held a finger in the dike for most of the game, but it was ultimately not able to get the job done.
Riley Nelson was 28-51 for 305 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions were too much for the Cougars to fight through. His first came on a scramble in the first half when he tried to make a play and was hit as he threw a pass to Jamaal Williams as BYU was driving into Beaver territory. The killer was his second of the game. Trailing 35-24 with just over five minutes left in the game, Nelson's weak throw to Ross Apo on the outside was low and as Apo fell to the ground to attempt to make the catch, the ball ricocheted off his chest and hands and popped up to OSU's Jordan Poyer, who returned it 49 yards to drive the nail in the coffin.
Following the pick-six, Nelson attempted to push the ball down the field, only to throw his third interception of the game. Nelson accounted for 334 yards of total offense, but despite his grit and toughness, the bad decisions that have been a calling card for him at times in his career showed up again Saturday.
The Cougars came in to the game as the No. 1-ranked defense against the run, but the Beavers managed to break the century mark on the ground, racking up 118 total yards. Kyle Van Noy was able to pick up a sack to surpass his total number for all of last year at 7.5.
On offense, Williams and Cody Hoffman accounted for 214 of BYU's 386 yards. Hoffman caught 10 passes for 102 yards while Williams hauled in four for 76 yards to accent his 36 yards and two TDs on the ground.
BYU will travel to South Bend, Ind. next week to take on unbeaten Notre Dame, which pulled out a 20-13 overtime win over Stanford Saturday.
Jonathan Boldt is the Editor-in-Chief of the UVU Review at Utah Valley University, and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jboldt24. www.uvureview.com