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Turning Point - 4th and 9

In Oregon State's victory against the Utes there were a multitude of gamechanging plays, but a 4th down conversion stands out above the rest.

What a game.
What a game.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah game was full of momentum shifts as both defenses mostly failed to stop anything in the second half except for the three interceptions. Each touchdown on its own could be the play of the game, but there were a couple other moments that stood out as well.

After Steven Nelson's first pick Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks for a screen pass that he turned into a 55 yard touchdown, complete with a tightrope act down the sideline. This would have had a greater effect if the Utes had not just marched down the field and scored again. Once they kicked off back to the Beavs, they got into a 4th and 1 situation. WIth the defense being completely untrustable, Riley decided to go for it. The Beavs ran a sweep, or so everyone thought until Terron Ward threw the ball back to Sean Mannion and he launched it downfield to Cooks. This turn of momentum was negated by only earning a field goal, and then Utah scored again anyways. These sort of plays continued with each score continuing to shift momentum a little more to Utah until they finally broke through and took the lead.

After Utah took the lead with 4:25 left in the game, it looked like things had finally fallen Utah's way. Mannion missed on the first three downs and it led to a 4th and 9. After witnessing the Eastern Washington debacle things felt dire, as it appeared the Beavs would come up short once again, but Mannion and Richard Mullaney got it done. Mullaney caught a deep pass over the middle on a fantastic reaching grab to bring it in, and the Beavs would not struggle for the rest of the drive.

The two point conversion that followed and the overtime stop and score in overtime were big plays as well, but that 4th down conversion was the one spot where it felt as if the Beavs had no chance and were likely to lose, but that turned into a glimmer of hope again. There were other critical moments, but this was the one that wrested away the surge of momentum that Utah had earned. It was pivotal moment in an important game for the Beavs.