CORVALLIS, Ore. — Colorado’s season didn’t come down to the final minutes against Oregon State, but the Buffaloes certainly understood the importance of a victory over the Beavers.
Steven Montez threw a 13-yard touchdown to Bryce Bobo with 1:34 left and Colorado hung on for a 36-33 victory Saturday over Oregon State, which was playing its first game since the sudden departure of head coach Gary Andersen.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and gave the Buffaloes their first win in Pac-12 conference play.
“It was a pretty big game. I mean, on the road, 0-3 in the Pac and we came in here and we needed to win.” Montez said.
Montez threw for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass from Bobo, who finished with nine catches for 126 yards. Phillip Lindsay ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns, falling just 5 yards short of reaching 1,000 yards rushing for the second-straight season.
Jordan Choukair’s 52-yard field goal attempt for the Beavers with 10 seconds left was short, denying Oregon State of a shot at the upset. Ryan Nall finished with 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns in one of the team’s most competitive games of the season.
Andersen and Oregon State unexpectedly parted ways Monday, and cornerbacks coach Cory Hall was appointed in the interim to guide the Beavers for the rest of the season.
The Beavers (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12) were coming off a particularly rough stretch, with losses to three straight ranked teams, Washington State, Washington and USC. Oregon State’s lone victory this season came over lower-division Portland State.
“I felt that they fought hard, I felt that they showed a different side of Beaver football than I’ve seen since I’ve been here, and I couldn’t be more happier for them,” Hall said despite the loss. “Just to see the right kind of emotion after a game like that. Times are changing.”
The Buffaloes (4-3, 1-3), who finished atop the Pac-12 South last season and met Washington in the league title game, were coming off a 45-42 loss to Arizona.
Nall, who missed last week’s game at USC because of an ankle injury, returned for the Beavers and ran for a 4-yard touchdown for the early lead. But Lindsay answered for the Buffaloes with a 74-yard scoring run.
It was the second-longest of Lindsay’s career, after a 75-yard TD run against Arizona last year. Last week Lindsay had a career-high 41 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns against the Wildcats.
“Everybody knows that Phil’s a freak. Phil’s a freak of nature. The hardest runner you’ll ever see, for real. Just totes that rock, makes people miss, and when he runs into the holes and backers are there to try and stop him and hit him, he’s running through them like he was 230 pounds,” Montez said.
The Beavers reclaimed the lead on a trio of field goals from 32, 37 and 20 yards out from Choukair.
Bobo hit Montez with a reverse pass for an 11-yard touchdown, narrowing the game before Choukair added a 31-yard field goal at the end of the half for a 19-14 Oregon State lead.
Oregon State’s momentum was slowed in the second half when Darell Garretson’s pass was intercepted by Evan Worthington and the Buffaloes capped the ensuing drive with Lindsay’s 9-yard scoring run to go ahead 21-19.
Nall’s 13-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter gave the lead back to the Beavers, but Montez found Bobo in the end zone with 9-yard touchdown pass and the two connected again on a two-point conversion for a 29-26 Colorado lead.
Nall also scored on a 4-yard scoring run with 4:22 left in the game.
Lindsay has a rushing touchdown in all seven games this season. He has run for 100-plus yards in 10 career games. Worthington has three interceptions this season.
Soft-spoken Lindsay on chasing records: “It’s not about me,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting that win.”
Colorado plays at Washington State next Saturday night. The Cougars fell 37-3 at California on Friday night.
Oregon State has next weekend off to prepare for a Thursday night game at home against Stanford. The Cardinal were set to host Oregon in a late game Saturday.