Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kahut field goal wins Sun Bowl for Beavers

It's not unheard of for a field goal to decide the outcome of a college football game. But when that deciding field goal is the only score of the game, that is unusual. That was the case today, as Justin Kahut's 44 yard field goal late in the first half was the only scoring of the day, in Oregon State's 3-0 victory over the Pitt Panthers in the 75th edition of the Brut Sun Bowl at El Paso, Texas.

Both teams had a lot of trouble moving the ball in the first quarter, as windy conditions played havoc with the passes thrown by both teams quarterback. Finally, late in the second half, the Beavers moved the ball deep into Pitt territory. After the drive stalled, Kahut got his chance and converted from 44 yards out with 2:24 remaining in the first half, giving Oregon State a 3-0 lead. The Beavers had another chance to score, but Lyle Moevao was intercepted in the endzone with 10 seconds left, keeping the score at 3-0 Oregon State, as the first half ended.

In the second half, the wind died down, but both teams played solid defense, stifiling the offenses on both sides of the ball. Kahut missed a 37 yard fieldgoal halfway through the third quarter, after the Beavers had had a first and goal just inside the Panthers 5 yard line. Pitt's best chance to score came with just under 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, but Connor Lee barely missed wide right on a 57 yard field goal attempt. Johnny Hekker pinned the Panthers back at their own 11 with 64 seconds left. Pitt was able to advance the ball out to their own 49 with 11 seconds left, but Oregon State's Slade Norris sacked Panthers Quarterback Pete Bostick to run out the clock, preserving the Beavbers 3-0 win.

Moevao was effective at times throwing the ball for the Beavers, completing 21 of 42 passes for 194 yards, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Johnny Hekker, voted one of the players of the game, punted 10 times for a 45.3 yard average, downing the ball inside the 20 five times. Sammie Stroughter caught 6 passes for 91 yards, Jeremy Francis rushed 15 times for 75 yards. For Pitt, Bill Stull was ineffective, completing just 7 of 24 passes for 51 yards, while getting sacked 3 times. Bostick came on in relief in the 4th quarter, completing 2 of 4 passes for 34 yards, while getting sacked twice.

Oregon State coach Mike Riley won his fifth straight bowl game in command of the Beavers and is now 8-0 all time in bowl games, including a 3-0 mark as offensive coordinator at Southern Cal. Oregon State finishes the season with a 9-4 record. The Panthers also finish at 9-4.

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