One reason why the Brigham Young Cougars lost to the Oregon State Beavers is BYU never seized the momentum. Neither did Oregon State until late in the fourth quarter. With the momentum frequently switching from one side to the other, but never in major proportions, the game stayed close for nearly 55 minutes.
Mo Moment #1
The second play of the game, Oregon State threw a pass to the sideline that was called incomplete. Following the replay review, the call was overturned and ruled a 15-yard gain.
Momentum swing! Rather than facing 3rd and 7 at the 28-yard line, Oregon State had a first down at the 43-yard line. Four plays later, Oregon State was in the end zone. The Oregon State quarterback, who was making his first career start, was 5 for 5 on the drive. No doubt the sideline throw helped build his confidence.
Mo Moment #2
Following the Oregon State touchdown, BYU received the ball for the first time. On the first play of the drive, BYU quarterback Riley Nelson rolled out to pass. Finding no open receivers, he ran the ball for a 16-yard gain.
Momentum shift! Nelson had missed the last two games with an injury. On his very first play he made a statement about his health and how the BYU offense was going to be productive. The drive ended with a touchdown.
Mo Moment #3
With the momentum from Nelson’s run and the subsequent touchdown, the Cougar defense forced an Oregon State punt after batting down passes at the line of scrimmage on second and third downs. The BYU offense took over and started to move the ball. Nelson ran for a first down on two third downs. BYU was 3 for 3 on third down against the nation’s best 3rd down defense. The next 3rd down, Oregon State broke through the line and sacked Nelson for a four-yard loss and forced a punt.
Momentum shift! BYU was driving to take a 14-7 lead. The sack changed all of that. Two plays following the punt, Oregon State had a 14-7 lead after back-to-back completions of 43 and 24 yards.
Mo Moment #4
Although the BYU offense started to sputter, the BYU D buckled down. They forced Oregon State to punt on their next two drives. On the second drive, Oregon State punted and BYU returned it, but it wasn’t a great return. An illegal shift by Oregon State, however, negated the play, moved the ball back, and forced Oregon State to punt again. BYU returned the second punt 27 yards to the Oregon State 45-yard line. A 15-yard penalty on Oregon State for a player continuing to play after his helmet came off moved the ball up to the 30-yard line.
Momentum shift! With the short field, BYU tied the game on a 2-yard touchdown pass on 4th and goal.
Mo Moments #5
Momentum had little influence in the third quarter. However, on the second to the last play of the quarter, with a defender in his face, the Oregon State quarterback completed a 59-yard pass to give Oregon State 1st and goal at the 5-yard line.
Momentum shift! The Beavers had another big play against the BYU defense that had not given up any big plays all season long. On 3rd and goal, a tipped pass still somehow found its way into an Oregon State receivers hands, just inside the end zone. Inspired by the offense’s big plays, the Oregon State defense made a 9-yard sack on the first play of the next drive, which effectively ended that drive before it started.
Mo Moment #6
It was still just a 28-21 game. BYU reached the Oregon State 10-yard line trying to tie the game for the fourth time. After two incomplete passes, the BYU quarterback was sacked.
Momentum boost! The sack forced BYU to kick a field goal. Although the kick was good, it gave the Beavers momentum. The see-saw battle had stopped. Some separation was created for the first time. The Oregon State offense used this momentum boost to increase the separation with a touchdown.
Mo Moment #7
With 5:30 to play, and the game now a two score game, 35-24, BYU had to score in a hurry and couldn’t afford any slip ups. A 31-yard pass on the first play moved the ball close to midfield. The next play was a quick pass to the flat. The field was wet from rain showers leading up to the game, and the BYU wide receiver slipped and fell to the turf. As he was falling, the ball arrived. He was unable to corral the ball while falling. It ricocheted up into the air and was intercepted.
Momentum boost! Not only was the pass intercepted, it was returned for a touchdown. With just 4:58 to play, and three touchdowns needed to win the game, it was game over. BYU started to press, which led to more mistakes.
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