Oct. 29, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - John White ran for a career-high 205 yards, Jon Hays tossed two touchdown passes and Utah's defense forced four turnovers as the Utes beat Oregon State 27-8 on Saturday night for their first Pac-12 Conference win.
Utah (4-4, 1-4) busted open a close game with 21 points in a 7-minute span of the second quarter, starting with Hays' 35-yard touchdown pass to Dres Anderson.
White added a 6-yard scoring run four minutes later and Hays put Utah ahead 24-0 with a 3-yard TD pass to DeVonte Christopher.
Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion had a fourth-quarter TD pass but was intercepted three times and sacked six. He finished 27 of 49 for 231 yards.
The game was a defensive struggle early, with twice as many punts as points the first 22 minutes.
Coleman Petersen's career-long 48-yard field goal accounted for the only points until Hays' scoring strike with 7:04 left in the second quarter to Anderson, who split Oregon State's two-deep zone.
Mo Lee followed with his first career interception to set up Utah's second touchdown. Lee jumped a route by Markus Wheaton and returned the interception to Oregon State's 18-yard line. White scored on a 6-yard run, reversing direction on the toss right.
White ripped off a 60-yard run on Utah's next possession to set up Hays' second touchdown pass, the 3-yarder to Christopher, who was back after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury.
Utah has been trying to show it could make the step up to a BCS conference but had gone bust until Saturday night.
White had run for 150 yards against Montana State, 174 against Brigham Young and 171 against Pitt - all wins.
But in Pac-12 play, he had struggled, gaining 56 against USC, 35 against Washington, 85 against Arizona State and just 39 last week against Cal.
He came out strong early against Oregon State, breaking tackles and juking defenders for extra yardage. He made two defenders miss on his 60-yard run, then lowered his shoulder rather than go out of bounds. That run put him over 150 on the night.
Hays also avoided costly turnovers that had plagued him since taking over for the injured Jordan Wynn a month ago. He was 6 of 14 for 62 yards, and didn't turn the ball over.
Utah held Oregon State scoreless the first three quarters.
Mannion 3-yard TD pass to Wheaton came with 14:55 left. It came after the Utes were called for roughing the kicker on a missed 35-yard field goal attempt by Trevor Romaine.
The Beavers pulled within 24-8 on a safety with 12:02 remaining when Utah tight end Kendrick Moeai was called for holding in the end zone. But Oregon State couldn't get any closer.
Petersen added a 20-yard field goal with 1:31 remaining for the Utes.
Now that Utah has that initial win, the Utes have to keep the momentum going to keep alive a streak of eight straight bowl appearances. They finish up with games against Arizona, UCLA, Washington State and Colorado - all second-tier teams in the Pac-12 this year.