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Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon Attendance: 33,585
Luton leads Oregon State past Cal Poly 45-7
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By GARY HOROWITZ
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) The smallest player on the field had perhaps the biggest impact.
Oregon State wide receiver Champ Flemings, a 5-foot-5, 141-pound redshirt sophomore, had five catches for 142 yards and two long touchdowns from quarterback Jake Luton, leading Oregon State to a 45-7 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday.
The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Beavers (1-2).
"He's been waiting on a couple opportunities," second-year OSU coach Jonathan Smith said. "We've been giving him (opportunities) in the return game, but he got a bunch of time today at wideout and he made due on that."
Flemings had four receptions for 68 yards last season, receiving the bulk of his playing time on kick returns.
Both of Flemings' touchdowns Saturday came late in the second quarter as the Beavers increased a 24-7 lead to 38-7 at the break.
Flemings outjumped a defender at the goal line for a 47-yard score, which was the first touchdown of his college career.
"Jake just trusted me and he put the ball up," Flemings said. "The defender did go up and tried to pick it off, but I just felt like I could outjump him. So, I jumped up there, was able to track the ball with my eyes and make a good catch."
Flemings' second score came on a 75-yard catch and run with 21 seconds left in the first half. He also had a 66-yard kickoff return.
Luton passed for 255 yards and four first-half touchdowns - tying the school record for most touchdown passes in a half - and the Beavers' offense amassed 549 total yards despite the absence of leading rusher Jermar Jefferson, who was out with a foot injury.
Luton was coming off a subpar performance in last Saturday's 31-28 loss at Hawaii, but he was on target from the outset against the Mustangs. The sixth-year senior completed 17 of 22 passes.
He played one series in the third quarter before giving way to backup quarterback Tristan Gebbia.
"We're trying to build some depth and we're heading that way," Smith said.
The Mustangs (1-2), who lost 41-24 last week at Weber State, played a Pac-12 school for the second time in school history.
Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh said his biggest concern entering the game was the size of OSU's offensive line against the Mustangs' defensive front.
"Too many mistakes on the defensive side of ball, especially in the run game that gave us no opportunity to compete defensively in the first half," Walsh said.
Cal Poly had some success moving the ball between the 20-yard lines, but it struggled in the red zone.
Jefferson came into the game averaging 135 yards per game to rank ninth nationally. B.J. Baylor led the Beavers ground game with 101 yards on seven carries, including a 74-yard scamper in the third quarter. Artavis Pierce got the start and added 90 yards on 12 carries.
"It's not new for me," said Pierce, who ran for 84 yards in the first quarter, helping the Beavers build a 21-7 lead. "I always prepare myself the same way every game. When my number is called it's on me and I just felt like I did a good job today and helped the team out."
The Beavers did a solid job defending Cal Poly's triple option, holding the Mustangs to 315 total yards. Cal Poly averaged 467.5 yards and 38 points in its first two games, albeit against lower-division competition. OSU sacked quarterback Jalen Hamler three times and recovered a fumble on one of the sacks.
Duy Tran-Sampson led the Mustangs with 137 yards on 29 carries.
"We moved the ball down the field, it's just when we get into the red zone we've got to put points on the board," said Hamler, who was 5-of-10 passing for 112 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was limited to 27 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Cal Poly kicker Colton Theaker missed 36- and 42-yard field-goal attempts in the second quarter when the Mustangs were still in the game.
OSU took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards in six plays, with Luton hitting Isaiah Hodgins for an 8-yard touchdown.
Cal Poly answered on its first possession. Hamler connected with wide receiver J.J. Koski on a 53-yard strike, setting up an 8-yard touchdown pass to running back Xavier Moore.
Hodgins' 11-yard touchdown reception on the ensuing possession put the Beavers back in front at 14-7 with 5:39 left in the first quarter.
OSU increased its lead to 21-7 late in the first quarter on Baylor's 6-yard run. On the final play of the opening quarter, linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. sacked Hamler and forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Omar Speights at the Mustangs' 21-yard line. That led to a 26-yard field goal by Jordan Choukair.
OSU played reserves most of the second half.
It was the first meeting between OSU and Cal Poly. The Beavers lost to lower-division opponents Sacramento State (2011) and Eastern Washington (2013) in recent years.
Oregon State: The Beavers dominated an FCS opponent, but they're about to find out if they can compete on a consistent basis against Pac-12 teams. OSU is 1-17 the last two seasons in conference play. . Gebbia threw a third-quarter interception for the Beavers' first turnover of the season. . Senior wide receiver Trevon Bradford (foot), who had 56 catches in 2018, has yet to play this season. . In addition to Jefferson, the Beavers had an assortment of players out with injuries including sophomore safety David Morris (foot), sophomore wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey (leg), junior center Nathan Eldridge (ankle), senior defensive end Jordan Whitltey (knee) and sophomore linebacker Matthew Tago (knee). . Sophomore linebacker Addison Gumbs (knee) is out for the remainder of the season. . Former OSU catcher Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles, was at the game.
Cal Poly: Cal Poly's only other game against an active Pac-12 school was against Arizona State in 2015, a 35-21 loss. . The Mustangs' coaching staff has several ties to the state of Oregon beginning with head coach Tim Walsh, who was head coach at Portland State from 1993-2006 compiling a record of 90-68 with four FCS playoff berths. . Offensive coordinator Jim Craft also coached at Portland State. . Wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator Dan Ferrigno was special teams coordinator at Oregon State from 1987-95. . Aristotle Thompson, who coaches slot backs and fullbacks, was an assistant coach at Eastern Oregon and Grant High School in Portland.
Cal Poly: The Mustangs will be at Southern Utah on Sept. 28.
Oregon State: The Beavers host Stanford on Sept. 28 in their Pac-12 opener.
Updated September 14, 2019