Washington State fends off Oregon State
Travell Harris caught two touchdown passes and rushed for a game-sealing score as Washington State outlasted Oregon State, 38-28, on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
Washington State (1-0, 1-0 Pac-12 Conference) built a 28-7 lead in the third quarter and held on in the season-opener for both teams.
The Cougars took advantage of a sluggish start for the Oregon State offense and appeared headed for a blowout on freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Harris that set the deficit at 21 points.
But the Beavers (0-1, 0-1) chipped away behind running back Jermar Jefferson’s 120 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
All three of Jefferson’s scoring runs came after Oregon State fell behind by its largest margin, including a 15-yard rumble late in the fourth quarter in which he shed a variety of would-be tacklers. Quarterback Tristan Gebbia’s ensuing two-point conversion pass to Trevon Bradford pulled Oregon State within a field goal with just 2:39 to play, 31-28.
Ten seconds later, Harris capped his outstanding game with a 44-yard touchdown rush off a delayed handoff. The long run punctuated Washington State’s 229 rushing yards as a team, led by Deon McIntosh’s 147 yards and de Laura’s 43. McIntosh also scored on a three-yard carry in the first half.
The Cougars’ rushing production underscored the differences in a new offense under first-year coach Nick Rolovich.
Washington State rushed for 885 yards in 13 games last season, third-worst in the country. Going into 2019, the Cougars had finished last or next-to-last in the nation for rushing offense in six of the past seven seasons.
Saturday’s production came without preseason All-Pac-12 honoree RB Max Borghi, who did not make the trip due to an unspecified injury.
Despite its success on the ground, Washington State did not completely abandon the pass. The freshman de Laura went 18-of-33 for 227 yards in his debut.
Oregon State’s Gebbia sputtered initially, throwing incompletions on his first five attempts. He settled in, completing 16-of-18 for a stretch, and finished 34-of-48 for 329 yards with a touchdown pass of seven yards to Bradford.
Bradford led Oregon State with seven receptions for 78 yards.
–Field Level Media