CORVALLIS, Ore. — On the biggest play of this abbreviated college football season, the Oregon State Beavers turned to a player taking his first college snap.
Backup quarterback Chance Nolan scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal with 33 seconds left to give Oregon State a 41-38 upset win over No. 9 Oregon on Friday night.
“How about that — Chance Nolan goes in for his first college football play in Division I — probably the biggest play of the game — and he gets it done,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said.
It was Oregon State’s first win in the rivalry since 2016 and dealt a big blow to Oregon’s playoff bid.
The Beavers (2-2) marched 53 yards on 10 plays for the winning score, but the last few yards did not come easily.
After Jermar Jefferson ran four yards to the Oregon 2-yard line, starting quarterback Tristan Gebbia was stopped on back-to-back quarterback sneaks.
Gebbia suffered a hamstring injury after being stopped on the second play, so Smith called on Nolan, a redshirt sophomore, instead of Camas product Jack Colletto, who often gets the call at quarterback in short-yardage situations.
“The play we were going to run, Chance had way more reps” in practice, Smith said, referring to the quarterback sneak from under center. “We did consider Colletto for the short yardage like we had done earlier in the game. But we decided on the sneak again, and that’s Chance’s play.”
Oregon State’s upset bid looked about to fall short after the Ducks got a fourth-down stop at their own 15-yard line with 2:18 left.
But the OSU got a huge defensive stop, leading to an Oregon punt with 1:55 left.
“We just challenged ourselves to do your job and trust your teammates,” linebacker Andrez Hughes-Murray said. “Man, this was a great team win all the way around.”
Jefferson got the Beavers off to another hot start, taking his first carry of the game for a touchdown — this time going 82 yards. He finished with 226 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns.
“I just feel like this is No. 1,” Jefferson said when asked how this game ranked with his performances at OSU. “This game is really big game. Rivalry game, you know. One of the biggest games I’ve played in.”
Gebbia passed for 263 yards. Kolby Taylor had seven catches for 114 yards and Trevon Bradford had eight catches for 93 yards.
“He made some big time plays,” Smith said of Gebbia. “That scramble for a first down late in the game. The kid’s resilient. He keeps working. Our passing game showed up tonight I thought. Receivers making some plays for him, he made some nice throws, made some plays with his feet. He played well enough for us to win the game.”
Trailing 24-13 at halftime, Oregon State took the lead early in the fourth quarter by scoring two touchdowns in a little over a minute.
Gebbia sneaked the ball over from 1 with 13:26 left, cutting Oregon’s lead to 31-26.
Two plays later, Nashon Wright intercepted Oregon’s Tyler Shough at the Oregon 33. The Beavers then took a 34-31 lead on Jefferson’s 2-yard touchdown run and Gebbia’s run on the conversion.
But the Ducks drove 75 yards to regain the lead 38-34 on Cyrus Habibi-Likio’s 1-yard touchdown run with 8:27 left.
Then the OSU defense produced consecutive 3-and-out stops to give the Beavers a shot at the win.
Shough threw for 285 yards on 20-of-31 passing and two touchdowns for Oregon (3-1). Travis Dye rushed for 93 yards, and Devon Williams had four catches for 101 yards.
The two teams combined for exactly 1,000 yards of offense — 532 for Oregon State and 468 for Oregon.
And as Smith addressed the media after the game, cars could be heard honking all around Reser Stadium.
“(This win) means a ton,” Smith said. “And I actually told the team that in locker room. It means a ton to a lot of people, not just the guys sitting in that locker room. It’s too bad Beaver Nation couldn’t have been filled in Reser Stadium right now and to have a win like this, (and see) the celebration that took place.”
Oregon St. 41, No. 9 Oregon 38
Oregon 14 10 7 7—38
Oregon St. 7 6 6 22—41
ORE—Redd 37 run (Katleman kick), 11:52.
OSU—Jefferson 82 run (E.Hayes kick), 10:59.
ORE—Shough 1 run (Katleman kick), 5:21.
OSU—FG E.Hayes 34, 13:38.
ORE—D.Williams 60 pass from Shough (Katleman kick), 10:57.
OSU—FG E.Hayes 48, 5:55.
ORE—FG Katleman 33, :46.
OSU—Beason 8 pass from Gebbia (run failed), 8:57.
ORE—Kampmoyer 4 pass from Shough (Katleman kick), 6:43.
OSU—Gebbia 1 run (E.Hayes kick), 13:26.
OSU—Jefferson 2 run ( run), 12:23.
ORE—Habibi-Likio 1 run (Katleman kick), 8:27.
OSU—Nolan 1 run (E.Hayes kick), :33.
RUSHING—Oregon, Dye 12-93, Redd 1-37, Verdell 9-36, Habibi-Likio 4-11, Shough 8-6. Oregon St., Jefferson 29-226, Lindsey 2-15, Bradford 2-14, Gebbia 6-6, Baylor 3-4, Colletto 1-3, Nolan 1-1.
PASSING—Oregon, Dye 0-1-0-0, Shough 20-31-2-285. Oregon St., Colletto 0-1-0-0, Gebbia 23-37-0-263.
RECEIVING—Oregon, Johnson III 5-50, D.Williams 4-101, Redd 4-21, Kampmoyer 3-42, Habibi-Likio 2-31, Verdell 1-14, Hutson 1-8. Oregon St., Bradford 8-93, Taylor 7-114, Musgrave 2-20, Quitoriano 2-13, Jefferson 2-9, Beason 1-8, Flemings 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.