Oregon State’s four-game winning streak came to an end Saturday afternoon with a 31-24 loss to Washington State in Pullman, Washington.
The Beavers came up 1 yard short on a 4th and 19 play which could have extended their final drive. With 43 seconds left in the game and the ball at the Washington State 23, OSU quarterback Chance Nolan was forced to throw underneath to Trey Lowe. The running back evaded multiple defenders but was tripped up just short of a first down.
The Oregon State defense made numerous big plays in the first half as the Beavers held a 10-3 lead at halftime. The Beavers completely took away Washington State’s running game, holding the Cougars to just 19 yards rushing before the break.
The Oregon State defense also dominated on third down, allowing Washington State to convert just 2 of 8 third downs.
One of the key sequences came just before halftime when the Beaver defense kept Washington State from scoring after a Nolan pass was picked off on the sideline by Cougars defensive back George Hicks III.
Washington State took over at the OSU 28 less than a minute left in the half and two plays later the Cougars had a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. But the Beavers forced two incompletions and on third down, defensive back Rejzohn Wright tipped a pass from Cougars quarterback Jayden de Laura. Linebacker Omar Speights came down with the ball and had a clear path down the sideline for a possible touchdown, but he stepped out of bounds as he gathered his balance after making the catch.
Oregon State did not have the same success defensively after halftime. Washington State scored touchdowns on all four of its second-half possessions prior to a final kneel-down to close out the game.
The Cougars consistently featured five wide receivers, spreading out the Oregon State defense. Often limited to a three-man rush, the Beavers struggled to put pressure on de Laura and he repeatedly found open targets.
The Beavers received the second-half kickoff and drove to midfield before the drive stalled. Facing a 4th and 8, Oregon State went for a fake punt, but a pass from punter Luke Loecher was broken up.
The Cougars took advantage of good field position and tied the game with a seven-play, 50-yard scoring drive.
On their next possession, the Beavers put together a strong march downfield and were in position to regain the lead. But receiver Zeriah Beason couldn’t control a short pass across the middle from Nolan and the tipped ball ended up being intercepted by defensive lineman Brennan Jackson.
Pinned at their own 5, Washington State moved down the field on a seven play, 95-yard scoring drive. The Cougars scored on a 55-yard pass from de Laura to Joey Hobert to take a 17-10 lead.
The Beavers responded with a two-play scoring drive of their own. B.J. Baylor gashed the Cougars for a 50-yard gain on the first play and Deshaun Fenwick followed with a 15-yard touchdown run to tie the game.
After Washington State regained the lead, the Beavers once again relied on their ground game to pull even. Three carries by Baylor and two by Fenwick resulted in a five-play, 50-yard scoring drive.
Baylor ended the game with 145 yards on 18 carries. Fenwick totaled 127 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. As a team, the Beavers averaged 6.9 yards per carry.
But the Oregon State passing game was inconsistent. Nolan completed 11 of 25 attempts for 158 yards with two interceptions.
For the Cougars, de Laura completed 32 of 46 pass attempts for 399 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Oregon State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12 Conference) has a bye this week and will return to action at home on Oct. 23 against Utah.