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CORVALLIS, Ore. — The University of Utah football team arrived at Reser Stadium Saturday night, cordially invited, dressed all in white. The Beavers of Oregon State, ranked No. 8 with an unblemished 5-0 record, had requested Utah's presence to contribute to their "unbeaten foundation," an event that hadn't happened at Oregon State this late into the football season since 1907. Such an elegent affair occuring for the first time in 105 years?
The Utes were honored to make their presence known.
And they donated generously. Magnanimous philanthropists, the Utes were, giving freely and abundantly to aid Oregon State in its journey to remain unbeaten in hopes of qualifying for a BCS bowl this upcoming holiday season. Good cheer permeated the arena.
The contributions began with Utah QB Travis Wilson's first-quarter interception, tossed high toward DeVonte Christopher, who couldn't squeeze it tight enough. The ball sailed into the arms of OSU safety Michael Doctor, who took it to the Utah 16-yard line, setting up an easy Storm Woods rushing touchdown.
And thus the spirit of giving was upon us.
Wilson made a second pledge shortly after when OSU defensive end Rudolf Fifita appealed for more. Wilson obliged, coughing the ball up for Dylan Wynn to fall on it for Oregon State, leading to another easy Woods touchdown run.
During the third quarter, Utah had an ideal chance at tying the score. But so much in the giving mood was Christopher that he made another offering to the Oregon State unbeaten fund. He gave the ball up again, despite having a clear path to the end zone for a would-be equalizer.
Eventually the fourth quarter arrived, a fine time for giving! Utah safety Brian Blechen began to feel very generous, giving up a 15-yard helmet-to-helmet foul after the Beavers had failed to come up with a first down on a third-and-13. The automatic first down paved the way for yet another— you guessed it! — easy Woods touchdown run. Everyone in the stadium applauded Blechen's altruism.
Other noteworthy contributions for the night included Coleman Peterson's missed field goal, another late interception throw by Wilson, a dropped third-down pass by John White when he had yards and yards of green grass ahead of him, and a multitude of other dropped passes and penalties.
At the lavishing night's end, the Beavers thanked the charitable Utes for their kindness and bade them a good night and safe trip home, hoping for another glorious meeting soon thereafter.
On a serious note, this author wants to make one thing clear. The Beavers came out and played hard and relatively mistake free, capitalizing efficiently on virtually all of Utah's errors. Oregon State, therefore, fully deserved the win — no doubt about it.
But when the Utes give up so many opportunities due to undisciplined play and still somehow manage to be in the game during the fourth quarter against a top-10 ranked team — having gained 80 more yards, allowed only 53 rushing yards and possessed the ball for nearly ten minutes longer — one can only wonder what could have been.
"You can't turn the ball over four times," Utah head coach Kyle Wittingham said. "You just can't do it. The name of the game, other than points, is 'winning the turnover margin.' And we're just not doing that right now."
Still looking for its first victory in conference play this season, Utah will welcome Cal to Rice-Eccles Stadium next Saturday night. The Utes will need to clean up the undisciplined errors, or the Bears may think they were invited to generously contribute to Utah's 'Pac-12 winless fund.'