CORVALLIS, Ore. | Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion and Colorado’s turnover-prone offense ended the Buffaloes’ hope for their first 3-0 start since 2008.
Mannion passed for 414 yards and a school-record six touchdowns and Oregon State won its fourth consecutive game Saturday with a 44-17 victory over Colorado.
The Buffaloes (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) never got untracked in their first game at Corvallis. Colorado’s offense managed 300 yards, but only 124 through the first three quarters. Paul Richardson, who came into the game as the country’s leading receiver with an average of 208.5 yards per game, was held to five receptions for 70 yards. Quarterback Connor Wood completed 14 of 34 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Worse for Colorado was four turnovers, including two on kickoff returns during the third quarter that led to two Oregon State touchdowns.
“Turnovers, that’s probably what the difference in the game was. Kickoff turnovers, we’ve got to make sure we handle that. That kind of flipped the game for us,” Colorado coach Mike McIntyre said.
Colorado played its first game in three weeks. Flooding postponed the Buffaloes’ Sept. 14 game against Fresno State, in addition to a bye week, causing McIntyre to say earlier this week that “it seems like three years ago since we last played.”
Wood didn’t blame the layoff or gusty winds throughout the game.
“You can’t put your finger on one thing that went wrong because it was there in all facets of the game,” Wood said.
Richardson was all but taken out of the game by OSU’s defense. The junior receiver caught only one pass for 2 yards during the first three quarters.
“Their coaches had a good defensive game plan and it worked out for them,” Richardson said.
On the plus side, McIntyre liked Colorado’s running game, which generated 154 yards. Michael Adkins led the way with 14 carries for 98 yards.
“If we didn’t have a couple big sacks, we would have had over 200 yards rushing, which is pretty good,” McIntyre said.
Oregon State’s offense dominated Colorado. Mannion, who leads the country with 2,018 passing yards this season, completed 27 of 52 passes. Junior receiver Brandin Cooks caught nine passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns for the Beavers (4-1, 2-0).
Oregon State’s offense generated 542 total yards.
Caleb Smith also caught two touchdowns passes for the Beavers, who never trailed in the game.
The Beavers led 17-3 at halftime. OSU scored on its opening possession on a 36-yard field goal by Trevor Romaine, then added touchdowns on Mannion passes of 3 yards to Smith and 8 yards to Cooks.
Oregon State put the game away during the third quarter on a combination of its offensive efficiency and Colorado’s special teams miscues.
Mannion and Cooks connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass on the Beavers’ opening drive of the second half for a 24-3 lead. Oregon State then converted two Colorado fumbles on kickoff returns into touchdowns, on passes of 42 yards to Terron Ward and 10 yards to Smith, to take a 38-3 lead.
Mannion broke OSU’s single-game touchdown passes record on an 11-yard throw to Connor Hamlett with 6:48 left in the fourth quarter.
Colorado scored two touchdowns during the fourth quarter, on Wood passes of 24 yards to Tyler McCullough and 28 yards to Richardson.
Mannion has thrown for at least 350 yards in each of his five games this season, an OSU record, and his 52 career touchdown passes tie him for third all-time with Erik Wilhelm.