SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Cameron Rising threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns and added 73 yards and a score on the ground to lead No. 12 Utah to a 42-16 victory over Oregon State on Saturday.
The Utes (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) forced four turnovers to avenge their only Pac-12 loss from last season. It was the first time Utah finished with four interceptions in a game since a 52-45 victory over UCLA in 2016.
Two of those takeaways came in the red zone.
“We found our toughness,” senior safety R.J. Hubert said. “This team has guts, passion, they’re tough, and I love these guys.”
Third-string quarterback Ben Gulbranson threw for 177 yards and two interceptions to lead the Beavers. Gulbranson played the final three quarters after starter Chance Nolan left with a neck strain.
Oregon State (3-2, 0-2) suffered its second straight loss despite rolling up 417 yards and 21 first downs.
“I don’t want to say we took a step back, but we definitely didn’t take any steps forward,” senior safety Jaydon Grant said.
Utah broke open a close game with a pair of third quarter touchdowns. Devaughn Vele fought scored on a 16-yard catch. Then, R.J. Hubert picked off a pass from Gulbranson in the end zone and returned it 70 yards to set up Jaylen Dixon’s 22-yard scoring run.
A 4-yard toss from Rising to Dalton Kincaid gave the Utes a 42-16 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Clark Phillips III intercepted Nolan twice in the first quarter, becoming the first Utah player since Julian Blackmon in the 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl to have multiple interceptions in the same game. The sophomore cornerback finished with three interceptions – the first Utah player to do since Robert Johnson had three picks against Colorado State in 2009.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Phillips combines natural speed and quickness with unrivaled preparation to make his mark on the football field.
“There’s nobody who studies more film than Clark and that leads to big plays,” Whittingham said. “The more film you study, the more big plays you’re going to make.”
Phillips snagged his first interception on Oregon State’s second play from scrimmage to set up Dixon’s diving 19-yard catch three plays later that gave Utah a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
The Beavers answered on their next drive. Silas Bolden took a pitch and ran 29 yards untouched on a reverse to even the score. Phillips jumped a route for his second interception and returned it 38 yards to put Utah back in front midway through the first quarter.
“We noticed formational tendencies and (defensive coordinator Morgan) Scalley put us in position to be able to capitalize on that,” Phillips said. “I just so happened to be the outside corner on that (pick-six) play. As soon as I saw the ball snapped and the quarterback looked, I said this is the one and hopefully we score.”
Rising stiff-armed a defender, danced along the sideline, and dragged a would-be tackler to the pylon at the end of a 24-yard run to extend the Utes’ lead to 21-7 early in the second quarter.
Atticus Sappington made three field goals – two from 26 and one from 31 yards out – to help Oregon State trim the deficit to 21-16 early in the third quarter.
The Beavers never drew closer after ending a pair of second-half drives with end-zone interceptions.
“We can’t turn it over,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said. “Again, I think we’ve got guys that can help us score points. We just got to do a better job of it.”
Oregon State: The Beavers experienced some early success running the ball against Utah’s defense. Oregon State tallied 130 rushing yards by halftime while averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Utah: The Utes have forced a turnover in seven consecutive games. Utah scored its first 14 points off two takeaways, providing a cushion against a sluggish offense that went 3-and-out on four of the team’s first seven drives.
Rising finished as Utah’s leading rusher after averaging 10.4 yards per carry on only seven carries. Oregon State didn’t account for his elusiveness when plays broke down and the junior quarterback made the Beavers pay.
His 73 yards were his second highest total of the season – trailing only the 91 yards he gained in the season opener against Florida.
“I think a lot of people don’t really look at me as a runner,” Rising said. “Any chance I get, I like to take advantage of it.”
SHUTTING IT DOWN
Utah forced a turnover on its opponent’s opening drive for the second time this season. The Utes have not allowed an opponent to score on their opening drive in all five games so far.
Utah could move closer to the Top 10 in the AP Top 25 Poll.
Oregon State visits Stanford on Saturday.
Utah visits UCLA on Saturday.
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