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Oregon State Watches Upset Bid Vanish

Beaver kicker Serna misses three extra-point attempts, including one in overtime, as No. 4 Louisiana State escapes with a 22-21 victory.

September 05, 2004|From Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State got lucky, and Nick Saban knew it.

"We've got a lot of work to do as a team," the Tiger coach said. "I think everyone knows that."

Oregon State's Alexis Serna missed three extra-point attempts Saturday night, including one that would have forced a second overtime, and No. 4 LSU escaped with a 22-21 victory over the Beavers in the season opener for both schools.

"It was a crazy finish," LSU defensive end Marcus Spears said.

"We fought as long as we could fight, and fortunately he missed that extra point. I'd like to think that we had something to do with that. We got a lot of pressure up the middle and I guess he took his eye off it."

The defending BCS champion Tigers trailed throughout the game, were shut out in the first half and were behind, 15-7, with 1:38 left.

The Tigers seemed sure to lose when they drove to the Oregon State two-yard line and failed to score with 3:39 left. But their defense gave them another shot.

LSU got the ball back for their last possession of regulation with 1:38 left. After JaMarcus Russell threw two incompletions, he hooked up with Dwayne Bowe for a 26-yarder then a 38-yard touchdown to cut Oregon State's lead to 15-13 with 1:05 left.

"I told the QB to trust me," Bowe said. "I said I'm not even going to run the route you call, I'm just going to get open. I was able to do that and in two plays I scored."

On the conversion, Russell ran to the left, stretched out the football and leaped into the end zone for two points to tie the score at 15-15 and force overtime.

Oregon State won the toss but deferred in overtime. LSU scored on its first possession. Marcus Randall, who started the game at quarterback, went in when Russell was injured, and ran for a five-yard touchdown, giving LSU it's first lead of the game, 22-15 with the extra point.

The Beavers weren't done.

Derek Anderson found Joe Newton down the middle with a 19-yard scoring pass, pulling the Beavers to 22-21.

Serna, a redshirt freshman and former Fontana A.B. Miller High standout who had kicked a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter, sent the extra-point try wide right, giving LSU the victory. Serna also missed attempts in the first and third quarters.

"I told him there is not a lot you can say," Oregon State Coach Mike Riley said. "It feels bad."

Riley said he tried to call a timeout before the attempt to consider whether to kick or try for a two-point conversion, but was unable to get the officials attention.

"I just wanted to think about it," Riley said. "I didn't have my mind made up. But we had one timeout in the overtime period, so I was going to use it."

Anderson, who passed for 4,058 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in 2003, completed 26 of 47 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. He had one interception and was sacked four times.

"This really hurt," Anderson said. "I'm not going to lie. We went out there and fought. I love my team and appreciate everything we did. We tried hard out there and just came up a little short."

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