Utah State just misses, again
By Vaughan Kinghorn
The script of Utah State's football game Saturday was different than the Aggies' other battles.
Unfortunately the ending was the same.
Quarterback Riley Jensen threw two costly interceptions in the second half, which Oregon State turned into two touchdowns to beat USU 20-16 at Romney Stadium.
The Aggies dropped to 1-4 on the season and are still looking for their first victory against a Division I-A opponent.
"I'd like to curse right now and really swear up a storm," said USU head coach Dave Arslanian. "I feel for them (our players) because they are so close. You need to make plays and we made some and didn't make some."
USU's offense once again struggled to deliver at key moments in the game. Its most costly mistake came on the first play of the fourth quarter, as Jensen was picked off.
Williams' snag gave the Beavers good field position at the Aggies' 40-yard line, which set up an 18-yard touchdown pass from OSU quarterback Terrance Bryant to senior Greg Ainsworth.
That touchdown broke a 13-13 tie and gave OSU the lead for good.
The USU offense looked ready to match the Beavers' score, as it quickly marched up the field behind the rushing of freshman John Roberts and a 34-yard reception by Robert Scott.
With second down and 4 yards to go on the OSU 15-yard line, the Beaver defense ended USU's drive with their first two sacks of the game. USU settled for a 37-yard field goal by kicker Brad Bohn.
While they didn't record any sacks, the Aggie defense kept the game close by causing five Beaver fumbles and recovering three of them.
In the first half, the Beaver offense managed only 3 points and 148 yards of offense.
But USU's biggest defensive stop came on a fourth-down-and-one play with OSU deep in Aggie territory. Middle linebacker Tony D'Amato and defensive end Lindsay Hassell stopped tailback Isaac White on that play, to give the USU offense one final chance.
A Jensen scramble for 20 yards gave the offense a first down at their own 39 yard line. That would be as far as they would get, as they were forced to punt after another Beaver sack.
It was OSU's first win on the road since the 1994 season.
"(The win) was huge for us," said OSU head coach Mike Riley. "I was worried about this game for a month."
For Arslanian and his coaching staff, the road remains uphill. Next week the Aggies will play against nationally ranked Washington in Seattle, their last game before opening the Big West Conference season at home against Idaho.
Senior free safety Johndale Carty injured his shoulder early in the second half and didn't return. Whether he will be able to play next week versus Washington is questionable ... Running back Demario Brown returned against OSU and had 105 receiving yar ds, the most by a USU running back since 1992.