Tipped passes tip the scales in favor of Oregon State

The Brigham Young Cougars (4-3) and Oregon State Beavers (5-0) were tied 21-21 going into the fourth quarter. Two tipped passes in the final quarter resulted in touchdowns for Oregon State, and allowed the Beavers to pull away from BYU and win 42-24. 

In a game that was expected to be a defensive battle, both offenses drove 75 yards on their first possessions and scored touchdowns. Backup quarterback Cody Vaz started the game for Oregon State in place of injured Sean Mannion. Vaz was 5 for 5 on the opening drive for 75 yards. His fifth pass was an 11-yard touchdown and gave Oregon State a 7-0 lead.

BYU, with Riley Nelson back at quarterback after missing the last two games with a back injury, answered with a 10 play drive. On the first play of the drive, Nelson scrambled for a 16-yard gain. The drive ended with Jamaal Williams scoring on a 1-yard run. Nelson was 5 of 6 for 48 yards on this game tying drive.

After trading punts, Oregon State scored on a 28 second drive. It was two pass plays. The first for 43 yards, and the second 24 yards for a touchdown.

The first quarter ended with Oregon State leading 14-7. Vaz was having a field day. He was 8 of 10 for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Beavers offense was expected to take a step back without its starting quarterback, but it didn’t skip a beat in the first quarter.

It was a different story in the second quarter.

BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy sacked Vaz on the first play of the second quarter. That play seemed to change things. Oregon State netted just 32 yards of total offense, and one yard rushing in the second quarter. Vaz completed just 4 of 8 passes for 31 yards.

BYU tied the game at 14 with 3:25 to play before halftime on a Nelson to Devin Mahina 2-yard pass on 4th and Goal. Earlier in the quarter, however, the Cougars were in scoring territory, but Nelson threw an interception.

Oregon State had just 19 yards rushing in the first half. In the third quarter, Beavers coaches recommitted to the run. It paid off midway through the quarter when Oregon State regained the lead on a 16-yard run. The drive was 10 plays and covered 81 yards. Five of those plays were runs for 43 yards.

BYU came right back and tied the game. Two big pass plays to tight ends gained a total of 41 yards—Mahina for 22 and Richard Wilson for 19. Each play was followed by a five-yard penalty on Oregon State. Nelson completed a 7-yard pass to Cody Hoffman to the Oregon State 13-yard line. Two plays later, Hoffman drew a pass interference penalty to give BYU a 1st and Goal at the 2-yard line. Williams scored his second touchdown on the very next play.

Oregon State completed a 59-yard pass to the BYU 5-yard line on the second to last play of the third quarter. It appeared the BYU defense would force a field goal, or even get an interception, when Van Noy tipped Vaz’s third down pass at the line of scrimmage. Instead, the ball landed in the arms of an Oregon State player just across the goal line. That was the first tipped pass that changed the game.

Now ahead 28-21, the Oregon State pass rush gained new life. Nelson was sacked for a loss of 9 on 1st down. That sack killed the drive. After the BYU defense forced Oregon State to punt, BYU used a shovel pass to slow down the Beavers pass rush. Nelson’s forward pitch to Williams turned into a 30-yard gain. The drive stalled, however, after another sack. On 3rd and Goal from the 10-yard line, Nelson was sacked forcing BYU to kick a field goal.

Although placekicking has been very troubling for BYU lately, Justin Sorensen’s kick was right through the uprights from 35-yards out.

Oregon State responded to BYU’s field goal with another touchdown to take a 35-24 lead with just 5:30 to play. That really put the pressure on BYU.

A 31-yard shovel pass to Williams moved BYU out to its 45-yard line. On the next play, Nelson’s intended receiver slipped on the wet turf. Before the receiver completely fell down, the ball hit him and was tipped into the air. That gave the Oregon State defender in coverage enough time to intercept the ball and then race 47-yards for a touchdown. The PAT made it 42-24.

Although 4:58 still remained, it was clear that the game was over. The way the game had gone, there was no way BYU was going to overcome the 18-point deficit.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Riley Nelson 2-yard touchdown pass to Devin Mahina on 4th and Goal to tie the game 14-14.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jamaal Williams—15 rushes, 36 yards, 2 TD; 4 receptions, 76 yards

NEXT: at Notre Dame
DATE: October 20, 2012
TIME: 1:30 PM (Mountain Time)

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com


  1. Once again Riley Nelson and the Cougars fall to a competent team! 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles, 54% passing completion rate and 13 carriers for 2.3 yards each, Riley is the modern day Bob Jensen!

    1. The difference is Bob Jensen beat a decent team in Texas. Riley has beaten Utah State and Tulsa and a bunch of NOBODIES!


Post a Comment