Jack Colletto scored a touchdown on the final play of the game to give Oregon State a 35-32 win at Fresno State on Saturday night in a nonconference football game.
The Beavers trailed 32-29 with 3 seconds left on the clock and the ball at the Bulldogs’ 2-yard line. Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith had the option of sending out the field-goal unit and playing for overtime, but elected to put the ball in the hands of his versatile redshirt senior.
Colletto took the direct snap and found space on the right side of the offensive line. Tight end J.T Byrne made his block to secure the edge and Colletto bowled over a Fresno State defender at the goal line.
The victory is the first in program history for Oregon State at Fresno State. The Beavers were 0-6 in road games against the Bulldogs entering Saturday night’s game.
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The Beavers (2-0) got off to a strong start, taking the lead midway through the first quarter on a 2-yard scoring run by Colletto. The Bulldogs answered, tying the game on a 42-yard run by Jordan Mims.
Oregon State regained the lead in the second quarter on a five play, 80-yard drive. Deshaun Fenwick and Damien Martinez ran the ball effectively and Anthony Gould got past a defender and drew a defensive pass interference call.
Oregon State sophomore receiver Silas Bolden capped the drive with a 36-yard touchdown run on an end-around. That gave the Beavers a 14-7 lead with 8:57 left in the second quarter.
Fresno State dominated possession for the rest of the half and through much of the third quarter. The Bulldogs kicked two field goals late in the second quarter to cut the lead to 14-13 at halftime.
Fresno State kicked a field goal on its first possession of the second half to take the lead, 16-14. The Bulldogs forced Oregon State to punt on the next possession and then drove for a touchdown to stretch their lead to 23-14.
It appeared the hosts had taken control of the game, but the Oregon State offense stepped up on its next drive. Quarterback Chance Nolan found Gould for a 42-yard gain on first down and four plays later Fenwick pushed into the end zone for a 4-yard scoring run to cut the Beavers’ deficit to two points, 23-21.
Fresno State kicked another field goal early in the fourth quarter to stretch its lead to 26-21.
The final minutes of the fourth quarter were an offensive frenzy as both defenses began to sag at the end of a very warm night. Oregon State took the lead with just under two minutes left to play on a 17-yard catch and run by Tre’Shaun Harrison. The wideout caught a flanker screen on the right side and cut across the middle, eluding multiple defenders on his way into the end zone. Bolden caught a pass from Nolan for the two-point conversion and the Beavers took a 29-26 lead.
Fresno State wasted no time marching down the field. Senior quarterback Jake Haener found Jalen Moreno-Cropper for a 45-yard gain to give the Bulldogs first-and-goal. Two plays later, Haener connected with Erik Brooks for a 4-yard score. Fresno State missed the extra-point attempt and Oregon State received the ensuing kickoff trailing 32-29 with 58 seconds left to play.
That set up the Beavers’ game-winning drive. Nolan connected with Harrison on two passes to get the drive going and then found Jesiah Irish for a 23-yard gain. On the next play, Nolan completed a 28-yard pass to tight end Luke Musgrave.
A defensive penalty in the end zone gave Oregon State the ball at the 2, setting the stage for Colletto’s scoring run.
Oregon State will host Montana State at 5 p.m. Saturday at Providence Park in Portland.