No. 16 Oregon State Football edges past San Diego State in non-conference finale

Wide receiver Anthony Gould (#2) runs toward the end zone to complete a 75-yard touchdown with help from Silas Bolden (#7)
Wide receiver Anthony Gould (#2) runs toward the end zone to complete a 75-yard touchdown with help from Silas Bolden (#7)
Jason May

The Oregon State football team secured a hard-fought 26-9 victory over the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium. 

“Every time you win, you feel good at the end of it, that’s what you’re trying to do,” said head coach Jonathan Smith after the win. “I did think we had to grind it out, which was not a shock. San Diego State is physical and they can run the ball, they have some good players and challenged our scheme on defense.” 

The win over San Diego State marks seven consecutive wins for Beaver football, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since 2000. The Beavers have now posted a 3-0 non-conference record in consecutive seasons. 

Early in the game, the Beavers broke open the scoring with a 48-yard field goal from Atticus Sappington making the score 3-0 with 7:57 to play in the first quarter. The field goal is a career-long make for Sappington. 

On the ensuing possession, the Aztecs looked to answer the scoring drive from the Beavers, San Diego State kicker Jack Browning missed a 48-yard field goal wide right with the score still 3-0 in the first quarter.

The Beavers added to their lead with a 44-yard field goal from Sappington to make the score 6-0 in the second quarter. 

Oregon State offensive lineman Joshua Gray scored the first touchdown of the game for the Beavers with a three-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 12-0. The last time an OSU lineman scored a touchdown in a game for the Beavers was back in the 1996 season. The touchdown was also the first of Gray’s career at Oregon State.  

“It was very cool, we called it in the huddle. I got in my stance and went to put in my mouthpiece, my hands were shaking and I thought, ‘Oh I have to do this now, but it was easy’,” Gray said about his touchdown. “Probably the last time I scored a touchdown was back in middle school, playing running back in flag football.” 

The Beavers tried to convert a two-point conversion following the touchdown from Gray, but the attempt was unsuccessful, which kept the Beavers lead 12-0 with 8:32 to play in the first half. 

The Aztecs scored their first points of the game with a 52-yard field goal from Browning to make the score 12-3 headed into halftime. 

After halftime, the Beavers extended their lead with a one-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei making the score 19-3 with 7:40 left in the third quarter. 

San Diego State safety Cedarious Barfield intercepted a pass from Uiagalelei to give the Aztecs their first turnover of the game. Before the interception, the Oregon State offense had yet to commit a turnover in a game this season.

Following the interception, San Diego State running back Jaylon Armstead scored a 6-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 19-9 cutting into Oregon State’s lead with 9:01 left in the game. 

The Beavers would respond immediately with a 75-yard receiving touchdown to wide receiver Anthony Gould to make the score 26-9 in the fourth quarter.  

The Aztecs on their next drive, worked down the field to keep the game within reach but Oregon State safety Akili Arnold intercepted Aztecs quarterback Jaylen Mayden to give the ball right back to the Beavers. 

“It was big, but as a unit, we played lights out. Y’know it’s not all about me and making that pick at the end,” Arnold said. “It’s about the front, the backers, and the underneath coverage of all them. I’ll just say with their help it allowed me to make a play.” 

“It was a combination of a few things, there’s a couple of throws that he can make that weren’t as accurate as we like. There’s were a couple of times we weren’t on the same page route running wise,” Smith said. “Give some credit to San Diego State, that scheme is not easy, the way they change looks pre-snap and post-snap. So, they made it hard.” 

Up next, the Beavers open PAC-12 Conference play on the road against Washington State University. The game will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports. 

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