Game Recap: BYU Survives Sloppiness To Win 38-28

The Brigham Young Cougars scored 14 points on their first two possessions, and 17 on their final three possessions. In between, the Cougars relied on Oregon State turnovers and missed field goals to come out on top, 38-28.

The final score doesn’t indicate it, but this was a sloppy game. BYU did set a season high for points and total offense (499 yards), but it could have been a lot more. The Beaver defense was the worst that BYU has faced all year. Turnovers and penalties cost BYU at least nine more points, and gave Oregon State an extra seven. Fortunately, the Beavers were even sloppier.

BYU could not be stopped its first two drives. The Cougars went 82 yards in 12 plays and took a 7-0 lead when running back Michael Alisa scored on a 10 yard touchdown run. A Kyle Van Noy interception gave the offense the ball at midfield. BYU covered the 50 yards in 9 plays. J.J. Di Luigi got the touchdown this time with a three yard run.

Oregon State answered with a touchdown to make it a 14-7 game. BYU turned the ball over on its next two drives. First, a fumble by Alisa gave Oregon State the ball in field goal range at the BYU 27-yard line. The Cougar D limited Oregon State to three yards. BYU escaped unscathed when the Beavers’ placekicker missed a 41-yard field goal attempt.

Second, in the two minute drill, Riley Nelson threw an interception that was returned 51 yards for a touchdown. That tied the game at 14 with 1:18 to go before halftime.

BYU used that final 1:18 to move into position for a 50-yard field goal attempt. Oregon State blocked it. Without the interception, BYU could have at least attempted the field goal from a more manageable distance and had a 10 point lead at the break. Instead, it was a tie game and the Beavers had the momentum.

The Cougars came out crisp to start the second half and took the momentum back. Nelson connected with Cody Hoffman for 34 yards on the first play. After five consecutive running plays, these two connected again, this time for a 12-yard touchdown.

Oregon State was unfazed by the touchdown, and returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards. The Beavers were, however, fazed by a Brandon Ogletree interception four plays later. After Oregon State moved 15 yards to the BYU 24, Ogletree ended this Beaver threat with his first interception of the season.

Nelson completed a 46-yard pass to Hoffman to move BYU down to the Oregon State 30-yard line in one play. A holding penalty moved BYU back 10 yards, and caused the drive to stall. Justin Sorensen attempted another long field goal (53 yards) that was unsuccessful.

The BYU defense go the ball right back by recovering a fumble on Oregon State’s first play. BYU was in great position to score starting at the Beavers’ 39-yard line. A holding penalty and a substitution infraction on BYU killed this drive and forced the Cougars to punt.

Oregon State turned the ball over for the third straight time on another fumble (both fumbles were forced by Ogletree) that BYU recovered at the Oregon State 36. This time an Oregon State penalty moved BYU close enough to score on a 33-yard field goal. It was now 24-14.

Just as they had done all year, the Beavers wouldn’t go away easy. Oregon State came right back and scored on a 59-yard pass with 2:08 to play in the third quarter. The quarter ended with the score 24-21.

That is when the BYU offense came roaring back to life. The Cougars drove 66 yards in 12 plays and consumed 6:29 off the game clock. BYU converted three third downs on the drive and regained a 10 point lead with a Nelson to JD Falslev touchdown pass.

The Beavers were done turning the ball over, but they weren’t done with their sloppy play. A false start on 3rd down and 7 pushed the ball back to the BYU 31-yard line. Following an incomplete pass, the Beavers missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.

With 7:09 to play and leading by 10, BYU could put the game away with another touchdown. J.J. Di Luigi made sure that happened. He broke a 41-yard run to the Oregon State 14-yard line. Three plays later, Nelson threw his third touchdown pass of the game. BYU now held a commanding 38-21 lead, and only 3:37 remained.

In total, this game saw both teams turn the ball over 6 times (BYU 2, Oregon State 4) and miss four field goals (two each). There were 18 penalties committed (BYU 10, Oregon State 8) for a total of 114 yards (BYU 79, Oregon State 55). Nevertheless, great third down efficiency (11-14) and excellent run blocking (5.9 yards per carry on 48 rushes) gave BYU a much needed road win.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Kyle Van Noy interception at the BYU 7-yard line that he returned 43 yards.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cody Hoffman 9 receptions for 162 yards (both career highs) and 1 TD; 2 kickoff returns for 40 yards.

Things to watch for:
  1. Defending Riley Nelson. The Beavers couldn’t do it. They did intercept one pass, but other than that, they had no answer for him. Nelson finished the game 17 of 27 for 217 yards and 3 TD. His pass efficiency rating was 159.7. He also gained 87 yards on 12 carries (7.3 average). Only once Oregon State stop Nelson for a loss (2 yards). 
  2. Is Michael Alisa an A lister? Alisa had 20 carries for 84 yards and 1 TD. He was steady and consistent. That helped put BYU in favorable position on third downs. His longest run was just 10 yards. Even though Oregon State is from the Pac-12, I am not ready to put Alisa on the A list, but he is getting closer.
  3. Will punting play a role? What is punting, again? Each team punted just once. Nothing special happened on the punts, or the ensuing offensive possessions as a result of the punts. 
  4. Pac-12 Redemption. BYU got the win. The team should feel some redemption from this win, but I don’t know how much redemption they will receive from outsiders. This should have been a 47-14, or better, win for BYU. If BYU could have held for a 38-21 final score, that would have helped a lot. The 10 point margin against a now 1-5 Oregon State team won’t get much attention. Although BYU is now 5-2, don’t expect many votes in the top 25.

NEXT: Idaho State
DATE: October 22, 2011

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