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Jake Luton

Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton threw five touchdown passes and ran for another in Saturday's win at UCLA. He was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the week for his performance.

Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton tossed five touchdown passes and ran for another on Saturday night in a 48-31 win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

On Monday, the Beavers’ sixth-year senior was named the Pac-12’s offensive player of the week. It’s his second career honor (Colorado last season).

Luton is one of three players to account for six touchdown in one game, joining Terry Baker (Iowa State, 1962) and Sean Mannion ((Colorado 2013).

“He’s really improved his game from last year and I think he’s playing with a ton of confidence and he’s got a ton of confidence with the guys around him because I think those guys can play at a high level,” coach Jonathan Smith said.

Luton completed 18 of 26 passes for 285 yards and the five scores on Saturday, also rushed five times for 27 yards and sealed the win with a 19-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left.

He is fourth in the conference, averaging 259.4 yards per game and has tossed 14 touchdowns (third in the conference).

Luton, who has yet to throw an interception, has now thrown 166 consecutive passes dating back to last season without one. He is one pass behind Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa for the longest streak in the nation.

“He’s just making some great decisions with it,” Smith said.

Luton wasn’t the only Beaver to receive a weekly honor as punter Daniel Rodriguez earned his first special teams player of the week award.

Rodriguez punted three times for 143 yards, an average of 47.7 per kick, had a long of 62 and one downed inside the 20.

But it was his drop kick early in the first quarter that helped the Beavers take a 21-0 lead.

Up 14-0 and kicking off at the 50 following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on UCLA, Rodriguez popped up the drop kick that David Morris recovered. One play later, Luton hit Teagan Quitoriano for the touchdown.

For the season, Rodriguez is averaging 47.9 yards per punt and has had five downed inside the 20. He is the first Beaver to receive the special teams honor since Trevor Romaine in 2013.

“He’s been big,” Smith said. “He’s punted the ball really well. … He’s got a unique skill set. We’re not always kicking it the same every time we’re punting the ball. We’re moving him at times, sometimes we’re keeping him in the pocket. So he works really hard at his craft.”

Injuries

Smith said there were no major injuries coming out of Saturday’s win at UCLA. Safety Jalen Moore did not take the field but was close to playing. Smith said he is hopeful to have Moore (hamstring) back this Saturday.

Running back Jermar Jefferson gave it a go again at UCLA but had just five carries for nine yards. He’s still dealing with a foot injury suffered at Hawaii.

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“He hasn’t been 100 percent the last couple weeks and hopefully he’s closer to that this Saturday,” Smith said.

Closing drive

When UCLA cut the deficit to 41-31 with 8 minutes, 39 seconds left Saturday, the Beavers needed to chew up some time to salt away the road win.

They did that and more.

Oregon State put together a 14-play drive that covered 75 yards with Luton taking it the last 19 yards for the touchdown. It also took 6:57 off the clock.

The approach was to get as many first downs as possible and eat the clock.

Oregon State passed on three of the first four plays then ran it the last 10 with Luton (3 for 27), Artavis (6-17) Pierce and Tyjon Lindesy (1-8) getting it done.

“The O-line did a great job and we were able to run the ball a little bit,” Smith said. “I thought (offensive coordinator) Brian (Lindgren) called some good plays because it wasn’t all just dive inside. … Diversity in the play calling to win the game.”

Back to work

The Beavers celebrated well on Saturday night but it was back to work on Sunday after returning home.

“We talked about the approach was not changing on Sunday,” Smith said. “We didn’t play perfect football. There is a bunch to clean up. They should gain some confidence though. That’s what you’re working to do is finish games. We finished that game.”

Smith added that the players are more than aware of what is coming on the schedule, beginning with Utah this Saturday at 5 p.m. inside Reser Stadium for Homecoming.

The Utes are tops in the conference in total yards allowed per game at 282.4 yards per game, including an impressive 53.8 on the ground.

“It comes to preparation during the week and then trusting that preparation on Saturday,” Smith said. “Execution is going to be of the utmost importance. This is a good football team we are playing on both sides and on teams. They’ve got good athletes. Nothing is going to be easy or given, we’re going to have to go earn it.”

Cal kickoff

Oregon State’s game on Oct. 19 at California will kick off at 11:30 a.m. and be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

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Sports Editor

Sports editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times