Buffs snap Pac-12 losing streak with 17-13 win over Beavers
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) The victory secured, Colorado’s players dashed en masse to a corner of Oregon State’s field where they led a small group of visiting fans in a loud rendition of their school’s fight song.
The streak was finally over.
The Buffaloes snapped a 14-game losing streak in the Pac-12 with a 17-13 victory over the Beavers on Saturday night. Colorado’s last league win was on Nov. 16, 2013, when the Buffs beat Cal 41-24 in Boulder.
The victory over the Beavers also snapped a 13-game losing streak on the road against conference foes, with the last coming on Sept. 22, 2012, at Washington State, 35-34.
”It was a total relief,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. ”It was just joy from my toes to the top of my head for our kids, for our coaches, for our fans, for my family, for everybody.”
Sefo Liufau threw for 140 yards and a touchdown, and ran for another score for Colorado (4-4, 1-3), which had lost three straight going into the game.
Ryan Nall ran for 122 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers (2-5, 0-4) who are the last team in the Pac-12 without a conference win. The Beavers have lost four straight.
Oregon State was expected to struggle this season as new coach Gary Andersen installs his new system. The Beavers were picked in the league’s preseason media poll to finish last in the Pac-12 North, while Colorado was picked to finish at the bottom of the South.
”It’s tough, no question about it,” Andersen said. ”I don’t have a bunch to say.”
The Beavers shook things up a bit, starting redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell at quarterback, handing off to usual starter Seth Collins on the team’s first offensive play. Collins re-took the reins on the next play, but the two rotated throughout the game.
Mitchell was the Beavers’ third-string quarterback, behind Collins and Marcus McMaryion, at the start of the season. But he has impressed the coaches in practice and this week moved up the depth chart.
Andersen said the dual-quarterback system would continue going forward.
On the Beavers’ opening drive, true freshman Collins also completed an 11-yard pass to Mitchell before Ryan Nall’s 1-yard scoring run put Oregon State up 7-3.
Colorado took the early lead with Diego Gonzales’ 21-yard field goal on its first drive of the game.
Beavers starting cornerback Treston Decoud was injured when he was inadvertently hit by a teammate early in the second quarter and had to be taken from the field by ambulance. He was taken to a local hospital and Oregon State reported he was moving his extremities.
Andersen said Decoud was back in the locker room following the game.
Receiver Nelson Spruce pulled down a 15-yard scoring pass from Liufau to give the Buffaloes a 10-7 lead, before Oregon State’s Garrett Owens kicked a 42-yard field goal to tie it.
The Buffaloes leaned on Spruce in the absence of Shay Fields, who led the team with 504 receiving yards, because of a high-ankle sprain he sustained on a late touchdown against Arizona.
Spruce, who already holds school record for receptions and receiving yards, is also running up the Pac-12 career receptions list with 256, closing in on Arizona’s Mike Thomas, who had 259 (2005-08) for the league record.
Spruce finished the game with six catches for 60 yards. He said afterward that the team planned to sing the fight song again, when the team’s plane landed back in Colorado in the wee hours of the morning.
Both teams missed field goals in the third quarter, and Oregon State was hurt again with the loss of starting left tackle Sean Harlow, who was carted off the field with an apparent injury to his right lower leg.
Liufau’s 4-yard scoring run gave the Buffaloes the lead with 12:31 left in the game. The Beavers narrowed it with Garrett’s 34-yard field goal, but couldn’t get closer.
”It’s just one game, and we definitely want to get more in the Pac-12 and be able to go to a bowl,” MacIntyre said.
Mitchell completed 9 of 24 passes for 122 yards for the Beavers, while Collins was 4 of 7 for 77 yards, and ran for 50 more yards.
Mitchell was intercepted to end Oregon State’s final drive of the game.
”There at the end of the game, I’ve got to make those throws to help our team out,” Mitchell said.