With 5:31 left in the game, and Oregon State trailing 17-10, Sean Canfield dropped back to pass on 2nd and 8. He saw a wide open James Rodgers, streaking for the end zone, a full two steps ahead of Arizona defensive back Marquis Hundley. Canfield couldn't have thrown a better ball: The Versus announcer yelled Touchdown Beavers. I yelled Touchdown Beavers. Then, the ball fell right through the hands of James onto the turf.
No big deal, right?
James was an integral part of Oregon State's 19-17 win over the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday evening, it's just that a 41 yard, potentially game tying touchdown reception wasn't in the formula. The eldest Rodgers found the seams in the Wildcat defense in brilliant fashion on fly sweeps, rushing for 102 yards on just 10 carries with a touchdown.
On the next play, 3rd and 8 from the Arizona 41, Canfield hit Sammie Stroughter four yards beyond the line of scrimmage on a slant route. Sammie reversed his course, picking up the first down and much more, getting the Beavers inside the ten yard line.
Austin Hall consoles Justin Kahut after missing a PAT. Source.
Sammie would eventually be on the receiving end of a seven yard touchdown pass from Sean Canfield three plays later, bringing the score to 16-17 in favor of Arizona.
And then, just when you thought your anxiety couldn't get any higher, Justin Kahut missed the extra point.
Oregon State's fourth quarter touchdown drive included the majority of the adversity the Beavers were forced to overcome in Arizona Stadium.
Arizona got the ball back deep in their own territory with just under four minutes left. Oregon State's defense contained Keola Antolin to a gain of one on first down, then sacked quarterback Willie Tuitama on second down, setting up a UA third and nine attempt. Tuitama scrambled past several OSU defenders for what could have been a heartbreaking first down. The Beavers then forced Antolin to minimal gains on the next three plays, but not before burning all three of their precious timeouts.
Arizona punter Keenyn Crier booted a 56-yarder that was downed in the end zone for a touchback, giving Oregon State the ball on their 20 yard line with 1:19 left to play in the game.
On 1st and 10 from his 20, Canfield rolled out left, then threw down the right sideline to Jeremy Francis, who pulled in catch for a 20 yard first down pickup.
Kahut is congratulated after nailing the game-winning field goal
On the ensuing 1st down play, Canfiled again threw to Francis, this time directly over the middle. Francis took off laterally for the sideline, but soon ran out of room as Devin Ross and Corey Hall closed in to make the tackle. Just before getting tackled, Francis lateraled the ball to James Rodgers, who caught the ball on the sideline and stepped out of bounds, stopping the clock at 0:56.
On 2nd and 4, Canfield threw a beautiful 47-yard deep pass to Sammie Stroughter down the sideline, setting the Beavers up with 1st and goal and 0:38 remaining.
McCants picked up five yards on first down, then Canfield lost five yards on second down as he took a knee to line up the ball for a left of center snap to placekick holder Taylor Kavanaugh. An eternity later, the 24-yard Justin Kahut field goal went through the uprights.
"It was really good for him to have a second chance, and it was great for him to capitalize on it" Mike Riley said after the game.
Oregon State will return home to Corvallis this week to take on the Ducks in the 112th Civil War.
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