Last season, Oregon State was the only Pac-12 team to defeat Utah.

If that’s not enough to get the No. 12 Utes’ attention Saturday (noon MDT, Pac-12 Network) when the Beavers visit Rice-Eccles Stadium, look at what OSU did last week.

“We’ve got a maturity to us that they understand that losses are tough. We put a lot into this thing. I think they’ll come back ... with the approach that they’ve got to learn and improve and go back to work. There’s still a long season ahead of us.” — OSU coach Jonathan Smith

Looking to start 4-0 for the first time since 2012, Oregon State seized a 14-10 lead with 4:41 remaining against No. 6 USC in Corvallis.

The Beavers slowed down a Trojans team that had been averaging 50.7 points and 520 yards per game. They held quarterback Caleb Williams to a season-low 180 yards passing. 

However, Williams threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Jordan Addison with 1:13 left to hand Oregon State a heartbreaking setback.

“Overall if you told me we were going to give up 17 points, we’d feel pretty good,” said OSU coach Jonathan Smith.

The Beavers also had four costly turnovers against USC. 

It would have been a landmark victory for Smith and Oregon State, but it wasn’t to be. 

Now, OSU is trying to regroup. 

“We’ve got a maturity to us that they understand that losses are tough. We put a lot into this thing,” Smith said. “I think they’ll come back ... with the approach that they’ve got to learn and improve and go back to work. There’s still a long season ahead of us.”

Related
What stands out about the Utes to Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith
‘I found my joy again’: How a Utah quarterback, Ja’Quinden Jackson, became a running back
Brant Kuithe spoke about his season-ending injury. Here’s what he said

Oregon State offensive lineman Brandon Kipper expressed his disappointment with Saturday’s loss.

“It pains me that our story has to start this way. But I know this is just the beginning. I know in that locker room right now there is no quit,” he said. “I’ve never had an opportunity to play in a game like that. … This team, this place, Corvallis, this is my heart and soul. The wins and losses mean a lot to me. That one is going to be one that sticks with me for a while.”

Now, the Beavers have another shot to knock off a nationally ranked team when they take on the Utes.

“Oregon State is coming to town. It’s an outstanding football team that played USC right down to the wire,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “Jonathan Smith’s doing a great job up there. He’s really built up that program the right way. We’ll have our hands full this week. It will be a great Pac-12 contest at Rice-Eccles.”

Unfortunately for OSU, it will be without one of its biggest weapons — tight end Luke Musgrave, who isn’t expected to play due to injury. 

Of course, Utah’s own star tight end, Brant Kuithe, is also out after suffering a season-ending injury last week at Arizona State. 

But the Beavers have a potent rushing attack, averaging 180 yards per game. 

The Utes’ defensive game plan is pretty clear.

“Definitely stop the run. They’re a tough, physical team that will try to run the ball. That’s the biggest thing,” said Utah defensive lineman Gabe Reid. “They’ve got good running backs, a good quarterback.”

Related
Why Kyle Whittingham calls safety Cole Bishop ‘one of the best in the country’

Utah held Arizona State to just six yards rushing last week. 

Oregon State, meanwhile, is a physical team that plays a similar style to Utah. 

“They’re a tough, gritty team. They run the ball down your throat and you’ve got to be able to stop the run,” said Gabe Reid, a Stanford transfer. “They beat us at Stanford last year. In terms of their offense, it’s being more physical, setting the tone and stopping the run. That’s the biggest thing.”

Whittingham noted Oregon State’s offensive balance. 

“They’re a lot like us offensively with a balanced attack. They employ the tight ends a bunch,” he said. “They use multiple tight ends. Play-action pass game. There’s a lot of characteristics of their offense that match up to our offense. They’ve been running that scheme well for a few years now.”

Quarterback Chance Nolan has completed 64 of 104 passes for 913 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

OSU’s balance is what makes the Beavers so tough to defend. 

You can’t load up for the run or load up for the pass because they do both equally well,” Whittingham said. “Their running backs run hard and their offensive line is coached as well as anyone in the country. And they’re scrappy on ‘D’. They fly to the ball and they bring enough pressure to keep you on your toes. They have a complete football team.”

Certainly, Oregon State is looking for a more complete performance Saturday if it is to upset Utah Saturday. 


Utes on the air

Oregon State (3-1, 0-1) at No. 12 Utah (3-1, 1-0) 

Saturday, noon MDT

Rice-Eccles Stadium 

TV: Pac-12 Network 

Radio: ESPN 700