Beavers Survive Las Vegas, Defeat UNLV

Final Score: Oregon State 23, UNLV 21 (Box score)

Déjà vu, anyone?

The Beavers defeated the UNLV Rebels 23-21 on Saturday night. It came down to a last-second field goal by Justin Kahut that clinched the win for the Beavers. Earlier in the game, Kahut missed a field goal off an upright, and then missed an extra point. 

Sound familiar yet?

On November 22 of last year, Justin Kahut missed an extra point following a Beaver touchdown, then hit a 24-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Arizona 19-17. 

As Justin told the Oregonian's Paul Buker after the game, "I was on the sidelines when they were up by one, thinking, 'well, it's happened before, why not again? I feel like everything happens for a reason."

"I feel like God has something in store for me," Kahut continued. "Didn't know if it was going to be today, but I knew I was going to grow from it.''

Kahut, who had to be frustrated from missing two kicks earlier in Saturday's game, put it all behind him  for the final field goal. 

"I was feeling very calm. I was very confident."

*  *  *

The Beavers struggled to move the ball on their initial three drives. The only points of the first half came when Sean Canfield's lob toward the end zone found junior Tight End Brady Camp. Outside of their lone scoring drive in the second quarter, Oregon State only had 48 yards of offense in the first half. However, the 70-yard drive made the first half respectable. 

The Beavers would score touchdowns on their first two drives of the second half, drawing accolades to OSU's game with UCLA last year. Against the Bruins, the game was tied 3-3 at halftime before the Beavers exploded for 31 points in the second half, and won by 28. 

However, the game soon became more reminiscent of OSU's win over Arizona from last season, as UNLV charged back with three second-half touchdowns, taking their first lead of the game with 6:56 remaining. 

For the second week in a row, the Beavers relied heavily on James and Jacquizz Rodgers. Jacquizz rushed for 166 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown, and James caught six passes for 48 yards and scored once as well.  

"We're just going out there and playing for ourselves," James Rodgers told televison cameras after the game. "A lot of people doubt us. We didn't play to well today. And I thought the defense did great. Offense, we still have a lot of work to do."

The Oregon State defense held UNLV to only 82 rushing yards, but starter Omar Clayton and eventually backup Mike Clausen had their way at times with the OSU secondary. Clayton threw for 170 yards and a touchdown, while Clausen came in to throw for 58 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  

Safety Lance Mitchell came through for the defense and was involved with both turnovers recovered by OSU. Mitchell intercepted a pass by Clayton in the first quarter, and later delivered a blow to UNLV WR Rodelin Anthony, causing a fumble that was recovered by Keaton Kristick. 

Senior quarterback Sean Canfield completed 25 of 31 passes for 198 yards. He threw two touchdown passes (Camp, James Rodgers), and was sacked on three occasions. Canfield was 10 of 11 passing in the first half. 

In addition to the aforementioned players, Damola Adeniji, Jordan Bishop, and Casey Kjos also caught passes in the game for the Beavers. The most memorable was Bishop's 14-yard reception from Canfield in which he was upended by a UNLV defender, did a complete flip in mid-air, but retained possession of the ball. Jordan fishished with 5 grabs for 43 yards in the game. 

With the win, the Beavers picked up their 29th win in their last 41 contests, the second-best mark in the Pac-10 behind only USC. Also, they begin with their first 2-0 start since 2005, when the Beavers beat Portland State and Boise State to begin the year. 

I'm sure most of you will agree with this sentiment-- I'm just happy that the Beavers will leave Vegas with a win, but there's still lot of improvement to make. Let's hope that what happened Saturday night in Vegas stays in Vegas. 

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

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