CORVALLIS, Ore. — Jermar Jefferson said that he dreamed about playing college football all his life. On Saturday night, he had a dream game.
The freshman rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns — including a weaving 62-yard score — as Oregon State beat Southern Utah 48-25 on Saturday night.
In his second game, Jefferson notched the third-highest single-game rushing total for Oregon State.
Jefferson gave his offensive line much of the credit. "They were opening up big holes for me so I could do good stuff in the open field," Jefferson added.
Conor Blount started at quarterback and completed 15 of 22 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers (1-1).
Chris Helbig threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score for the FCS-member Thunderbirds (0-2).
Oregon State matched its win total from last season in Coach Jonathan Smith's first home game.
Smith was a walk-on quarterback who led the Beavers to their best season, with a No. 4 ranking, after pummeling Notre Dame 41-9 in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.
In Oregon State's season opening 77-31 loss at No. 4 Ohio State, starting quarterback Jake Luton suffered a concussion and left the game after the first series. He was replaced by Blount.
On Saturday, Luton was medically cleared, but Blount started. Luton entered the game in the third quarter.
Blount said that he wasn't told directly that he was the starter during the week. "I had a good feeling about it, so I prepared like the starter," Blount added.
Starting running back Artavis Pierce had 91 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Beavers before injuring his elbow early in the second quarter. Smith said he wasn't sure about the severity of the injury, or of the injury of wide receiver Trevon Bradford.
Oregon State led 38-0 and went to the half up 41-7, having scored on seven of eight first-half possessions.
Southern Utah Coach Demario Warren noted that his team continued to fight in the second half.
"Hopefully, we see that if we play together, cheer for each other and have some fun together, we'll have a pretty good team," Warren said.
The Beavers broke an 11-game losing streak and won for the first time in more than a year.
Southern Utah: The defending Big Sky champs went 9-3 last season but are in danger of starting 0-3 this year. The team has never won against a Pac-12 opponent and play at Arizona next.
Oregon State: After a 1-11 season in 2017, fans have reason for optimism. The Beavers should be competitive in their next games against Nevada and Arizona.
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Smith said he will take a bit of a week-to-week approach with choosing the team's starting quarterback. "I think we have two quarterbacks we can move the ball with," Smith said.
THUNDERBIRDS NEW QB
While Helbig had good stats through the air, he also rushed for 37 yards in his second game as a starter for Southern Utah. Warren said the junior college transfer scrambled and escaped trouble "like a magician" to extend drives. "For him to come out there and compete like that, especially in the second half, was fun to see," Warren added.
Southern Utah plays at Arizona on Sept. 15.
Oregon State plays at Nevada on Sept. 15.