The Beavers of Oregon State made the trek from Corvallis, Ore. to Provo Saturday afternoon to take on the Cougars of BYU. The Beavers were welcomed to LaVell Edwards Stadium by a raucous crowd of blacked-out Cougar fans. BYU wore all black uniforms for the first time and the psychology seemed to be in full force prior to kickoff as fans and players seemed energized and chomping at the bit to get the game started.
Here are three reasons why that all flew out the window and BYU fell, 42-24.
1 - Cody Vaz
All week the chatter on local radio shows and stories in the paper was about how the loss of OSU starting quarterback Sean Mannion was what could push the Cougars over the top and create a victory. Beaver backup QB Cody Vaz would have something to say about that, however.
Before Saturday, Vaz had a total of 48 yards in his career at OSU and had not seen any action since 2010. He came off the pine in a big way Saturday. Vaz completed 5-of-5 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown on the Beavers' first drive of the game. His blazing hot start actually transcended the game itself as he trended on Twitter. He threw for 332 yards while tossing three touchdowns.
2 - Turnovers
Riley Nelson threw for over 300 yards and accounted for 334 total yards of offense, but he threw three interecptions and only one touchdown. BYU lost the turnover battle 3-0, and the nail in the coffin came on a pick-six late in the fourth quarter. Trailing 25-24, Nelson threw a low ball to Ross Apo and it ricocheted off his chest and hands right into the arms of OSU DB Jordan Poyer, who took the ball 49 yards for the final score of the day. With 3:31 remaining and down by 18, Nelson forced a pass deep that was easily intercepted.
3 - Penalties
Trailing 28-24, BYU's defense appeared to be on the ropes as the Beavers were on the move and deep in Cougar territory. On third-and-one, OSU was called for a false start immediately followed by a holding call that pushed the Beavers out of field goal range and into third-and-16.3 comments on this story
The hope that was lit inside Cougar fans would be extinguished almost instantaneously with back-to-back pass interferance calls that put the ball on the 2-yard line for OSU. They somehow pulled off a triple reverse to WR Markus Wheaton in tight quarters to make things desperate for BYU on its ensuing possession.
For as much as Cougar fans may point the finger at Nelson and the defense, nothing can be taken away from Vaz and this Top-10 OSU team. This game was won by the Beavers making plays — not lost by Cougar mistakes.