For a game where both offenses spent about three-plus quarters spinning their wheels in knee-deep mud, for as many turnovers and flags were thrown in the first half, this turned into a barn-burner.
Oregon State struck first in the fourth, with a 72-yard TD pass from Sean Mannion to Jordan Villamin. The redshirt-freshman wideout had a crucial drop earlier, and was well covered on this play by the corner plus he had safety help over the top.
But Villamin extended his arms and made a fingertip grab, kept on running and OSU took a 13-9 lead on the game's first touchdown.
The Beaver D got a three-and-out and OSU's offense put together a 13-play drive -- but it stalled just inside Utah territory. The punt put Utah back on their own six-yard line and with how the Beavs had been playing all night, things looked good for the black and orange.
But then it was Utah's turn for the big play.
Oregon State's defense had played valiantly all night, but Devontae Booker finally shook loose for a 53-yard run and Utah found the end zone for the first time with 4:06 left in the game.
Trailing 16-13, Oregon State drove to the Utah 26-yard line but could go no further. A sack on third down pushed OSU back to the 32-yard line and Trevor Romaine came out for his third field goal attempt from 49-yards out to send it into overtime. Like the 37- and 45-yarders that came before it, he drilled it through.
The first overtime saw both teams score touchdowns, Oregon State's again came on another gorgeous grab on fourth down, dragging a foot and holding on tight as he fell out of bounds. But now it was becoming ever more apparent that Booker was finding large holes.
In the second overtime, OSU again faced fourth down and called on Romaine to make his fourth field goal. From the left hash, he was wide right from 37-yards, his first miss of the season.
Utah faced a third-and-four on their possession and Booker ripped off a 19-yard run into the end zone to end the game.
And every Beaver player undoubtedly realized at that moment the harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. Oregon State and Utah worked awfully hard on Thursday night. Someone was going to win, someone was going to have their hearts broken.
It was a completely different feel at the end of the first half. After two quarters, OSU had 105 total yards on offense. And Utah had compiled just 81. Utah had 63 hashes on the ground, Oregon State had 62.
Oregon State finished with 391 yards of total offense, while Utah had 351. Utah switched quarterbacks at the half, bringing in Travis Wilson in place of Kendal Thompson but Utah finished with just 62 passing yards.
After being held in check in the first half, Booker finished with 229 carries on 32 touches, and scored all three of Utah's touchdowns - one in regulation and two in overtime.
There are several members of the Oregon State defense that deserve mention, including Michael Doctor, Lavonte Barnett, Dylan Wynn and on and on. But redshirt freshman reserve safety Justin Strong was simply nails. Hard hits, pass breakups, you name it, he seemed to be everywhere and played one whale of a game.
A heart-stopping, heartbreaking loss for OSU
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