Oregon State looked the part of its No. 18 preseason ranking, as the Beavers opened the 2023 season Sunday with a convincing 42-17 win over San Jose State at CEFCU Stadium.
In his debut at Oregon State, Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more, helping the Beavers’ offense pile up 473 yards.
This is the first time Oregon State (1-0) has won a road season opener since 1999. The win also capped an impressive opening week for the Pac-12, in which the conference’s teams went 12-0.
Uiagalelei completed 20 of 25 passes for 239 yards and those three touchdowns. Meanwhile, sophomore running back Damian Martinez ran for 145 yards.
The Beavers’ defense gave hope that they could be formidable again after leading the Pac-12 a year ago. OSU held San Jose State to 279 yards, and its only touchdown was set up by a blocked punt then in the final seconds of the game.
San Jose State (0-2) lost its second straight game to a Pac-12 opponent after falling to USC a week ago.
After their four-game performance against USC, San Jose State never threatened the end zone during the first half. OSU’s defense held the Spartans and senior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro to 108 yards during the first half. San Jose State’s only score came on a 41-yard field goal by Kyler Halvorsen.
Oregon State’s offense was efficient and effective in taking a 21-3 lead into the first half. The Beavers scored touchdowns on three of their four possessions in the first half, twice on a 1-yard sneak by Uiagalelei.
The Beavers haven’t strayed too far from their offensive calling card in recent years. OSU ran the ball on 20 of its 31 plays in the first half, with Martinez rushing for 91 yards. It took a quick pass from Uiagalelei, who completed 9 of 11 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown during the first half.
Oregon State took a 7-0 lead after Uiagalelei’s 1-yard touchdown run capped an 81-yard drive. The Beavers increased their lead to 14-3 with 4:23 remaining in the second quarter when Uiagalelei, on third-and-6, fired a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jack Velling. The score became 21-3 with 14 seconds left in the first half when Uiagalelei scored his second goal.
Oregon State made it 28-3 with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter when Uiagalelei, who got some impressive protection from its offensive line, fired a 31-yard touchdown strike to Jeremiah Noga. It was the first touchdown of Noga’s three-year career at OSU.
San Jose State gave the Beavers a brief scare when a blocked punt set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Cordero early in the fourth quarter. Oregon State didn’t let up, as Uiagalelei connected with Anthony Gould for a 28-yard touchdown four minutes later.
With the game in hand, freshman quarterback Aidan Chiles made his OSU debut midway through the fourth quarter. Chiles led the Beavers on the final touchdown drive and finished 2 of 3 for 37 yards, plus a 9-yard run.
San Jose State reserve Jay Butterfield led the Spartans on a scoring drive right before the end of the game, finding Branden Alvarez on a 19-yard TD pass.
DJ Uiagalelei: He is the first Oregon State quarterback since 1996 to throw at least two touchdowns and run for at least two touchdowns in a game.
Damian Martinez: The sophomore ran 18 times for 145 yards, marking the seventh time in his 14-game career he has rushed for more than 100 yards.
Ketan Oladapo: The senior safety led OSU with seven tackles and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter, the Beavers’ only takeaway.
Chevan Cordero: The sixth-year senior quarterback passed for 143 yards and ran for 26 to lead the Spartans.
Martinez left the game late in the second quarter due to a muscle strain. He returned to start the second half. Inside linebacker Calvin Hart Jr. left the game in the third quarter with a hand injury.
In what will be the unveiling of the $161 million west side reconfiguration of Racer Stadium, Oregon State plays UC Davis at 6 p.m. Saturday.
– Nick Dashiell reported from San Jose, California.
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