Where to start?
Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks were simply stellar for the vast majority of the game.
Indeed, the Beavs were like a metronome on offense, steadily moving downfield and putting points on the board. And even when Utah slowed him and the Beaver offense down, Mannion and the Beavs still had enough fits and starts to keep putting points on the board.
A big reason why was Beaver wide receiver Richard Mullaney.
It seemed like every catch he pulled in -- and he had seven of them that went for 142 hashes -- was worthy of a highlight reel. And Cooks, all he did was grab nine passes for 210 yards.
Mannion? He was 27-of-44 for 443 yards and 5 touchdowns.
And it almost wasn't enough.
THE Oregon State defense was outstanding in the first quarter -- Oregon State bullied and blasted Utah into three-and-outs on each of their three possessions in the quarter.
OSU was still okay on D in the second quarter -- they gave up 141 yards but only 10 points, and OSU took a 20-10 lead into the locker room.
But then the wheels didn't just fall off, they were ripped from the rims by serpents and tossed into a sacrificial rubber fire.
Utah ran the zone-read with QB Travis Wilson keeping the ball and running around the right side so often, and so well, they should have bronzed that side of the field in his honor.
And when Wilson wasn't racking up his 142 ground yards, he was finding receivers who were themselves finding more than enough soft spots in Oregon State's coverage.
But say this for the Beaver secondary -- they also grabbed three huge interceptions.
Sean Martin took his back to the house. Steven Nelson had two picks, and Mannion and Cooks cashed in one of them for a quick TD.
It was a collective downturn on D, but the linebackers seemed to have the most problems in the second half, whether that was staying at home, missing tackles or taking bad angles.
Still, having D.J. Alexander back helped. And the win makes it far more palatable. Can you imagine what Utah fans are feeling right now?
IT'S A TESTAMENT to how often the storyline changed in this game that it's taken until now to mention the Beaver offensive line.
Down two starters, OSU nonetheless forged a good pocket around Mannion.
Utah later began to make headway as the game went on because they sent the kitchen sink and because they didn't have to respect the OSU running game, which only showed signs of life briefly in the second quarter before becoming moribund again.
But the starting five up front -- LT Michael Philipp, LG Josh Andrews, C Josh Mitchell, RG Grant Bays and RT
Isaac Seumalo -- as far as pass protetion went, held tough even when they were outnumbered.
Mannion was sacked but once in the game.
51-48: Twists and turns galore in Beavs' win
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