BYU football: Defense falters against Oregon State
Provo • Oregon State faced plenty of questions prior to its game at BYU. The big one: How would the Beavers' backup quarterback, Cody Vaz, fare in the face of a defense that had allowed just four touchdowns all season?
The final score, 42-24, provided all the answers.
Vaz, who made his first collegiate start in place of injured Sean Mannion, resembled an All-American more than a player who hadn't thrown a pass since 2010 in mop-up duty against Stanford.
"I don't think anybody in our locker room was particularly surprised Cody played well," OSU coach Mike Riley said. "I think they've had faith in him as a teammate for a long time. I knew this was going to be a hard venue to step into, but I thought guys helped him out and made plays."
Starting from the opening drive which took six plays and covered 75 yards the 10th-ranked Beavers didn't miss a beat. Vaz completed his first five passes, including an 11-yard touchdown strike to Markus Wheaton.
In fact, early on, the only passes Vaz didn't complete were knocked down at the line of scrimmage. BYU did that three times.
Oregon State riddled BYU's secondary as Vaz completed 20 of 32 passes for 332 yards and three scores. Granted, the touchdown pass that put OSU in front for good came via a fluke tipped pass in the end zone, but in the words of BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley, that's football.
The Beavers gained 450 total yards.
"They had a really nice plan and executed it really well," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Oregon State's ability to throw it over the top of us, big pass plays, was the difference in the game. They were able to execute a lot of critical situations and just giant chunks."
BYU came into Saturday's game not allowing a touchdown in 13 quarters. The Cougars had allowed only two scoring drives of more than 39 yards, and one of those was from Weber State.
The shortest of the five Oregon State offensive touchdown drives was 67 yards and that was a two-play effort, including a 43-yard pass to receiver Brandin Cooks.
Mendenhall credited OSU with providing seven- and eight-man blocking schemes that allowed receivers to get open downfield.
"Their plan exceeded that of ours," Mendenhall said.
• Making his first career start, Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz completed 20 of 32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
• BYU, which hadn't allowed an offensive touchdown in 13 quarters, gave up five Saturday.
• Oregon State had five scoring drives of 67 yards or more.