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It's A Halloween Blackout For The Beavers And Utes

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The Utes will look to black-out the Beaves tonight.
The Utes will look to black-out the Beaves tonight.

Oregon St. (2-5, 0-4) at #13 Utah (6-1, 3-1) / Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City / 5 PM MDT (4 PM PDT) / Pac-12 / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM / Pac-12 Stream

Game Notes / Utah Game Notes

Oregon State hits the road for Halloween, heading to Salt Lake City for a "Blackout" tonight at Utah.

It's the 20th meeting in the series, which dates back to 1931. The Beavers hold an 11-7 lead, with 1 tie. 8 games besides the tie have been decided by 7 points or less, with both teams taking 4 close ones. The last 2 years, the game has gone to overtime. Oregon State edged Utah 51-48 just about when the clock struck midnight in a 4 hour affair 2 years ago, when the Beavers' Sean Mannion found Brandin Cooks for the game winning touchdown, after clearing the fingertips of a leaping Utah defender by a fraction of an inch with the pass.

Last year, it took 2 overtimes before the Utes prevailed 29-23, on Devontae Booker's 19 yard touchdown run that capped a 32 carry, 229 yard, 3 touchdown performance that's still his career best.

This year, things are going in opposite directions for the programs, though both come in off frustrating losses last week.

Oregon State dropped their 4th game in a row, all in conference, when they dropped a 17-13 Homecoming game decision to Colorado, with 7 Beavers dropping in the process. The win broke a 14 game conference losing streak for the Buffs. The frustration for the Beavers was mostly with their offense, as the banged up bunch (6 of the players to go out were on offense, including LT Sean Harlow, who is out for the season after breaking a bone in his right foot) was unable to capitalize on the best effort of the season by the defense. Despite being without both starting corner backs after Trestan Decoud was knocked out of the game, and into an ambulance, the Beavers held the Buffs under their average yardage output by more than 120 yards, and made 3 consecutive 3 and out stops in the 4th quarter, all with the game still totally up for grabs.

Utah had risen to #3 nationally in running through the first half of the season unbeaten, only to get clobbered 42-24 by USC in the LA Coliseum. Despite a losing streak, and an interim coach, after being picked to contend for the College Football Playoffs, the Trojans decided to "Fight On" anyway, but the biggest reason for not only the upset win, but the sizable margin it was accomplished by, were the 4 interceptions Utah quarterback Travis Wilson tossed.

USC also managed to bottle up Booker, who had 111 yards on 20 touches, only 69 came on the ground, the third lowest total of his Utah career.

The game also marks the return to SLC for Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen, who was a Utah assistant before becoming the Utah State head coach, as well as Defensive Coordinator Kalani Sitake and linebackers and special teams coach Ilaisa Tuiaki, both of whom came over from Utah after last season. DB coach Derrick Odum and defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a both previously coached at Utah as well.

And of course, former Oregon State coach Dennis Ericksen is now the running backs coach at Utah.

Compounding the problem for the Beavers, starting quarterback Seth Collins hurt his knee in warmups for practice Thursday, with no one near him at the time. As a result, Collins stayed behind in Corvallis, and will have to watch the game on tv while resting his knee.

Oregon State is now a 27 point road dog in this one, up from 24 before Collins' mishap, and will be hard pressed to hang in against a Utah squad that still controls their own destiny in the Pac-12 South race, and for the conference championship.

Building The Dam will be on hand in Salt Lake City for the action, and back afterwards with complete coverage and analysis.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com