BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — D.J. Uiagalelei threw three of his five touchdown passes to Jack Velling and No. 15 Oregon State beat California 52-40 on Saturday night.
The Beavers (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) struggled to slow down the Golden Bears (3-2, 1-2) for most of the night but did more than enough offensively to get off to their best start to a season since 2013.
Uiagalelei completed 19 of 25 passes for 275 yards, backup Aidan Chiles threw a TD pass on a one drive cameo in the first half and Damien Martinez ran for 89 yards and a score.
Oregon State scored touchdowns on five straight drives and pulled away with two TDs in the opening three minutes of the fourth quarter to open up a 49-32 lead.
Martinez scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down and then Uiagalelei found defensive lineman Isaac Hodgins for a 2-yard score following a fumble by Ashton Stredick.
Fernando Mendoza threw two TD passes in his first start and Isaiah Infanse scored three times for the Bears, who haven’t beaten a ranked team since the 2020 season.
The Beavers led 14-3 when a bold decision backfired and quickly put them in a hole. Coach Jonathan Smith called for a surprise onside kick that Ryan McCulloch recovered and returned to the 19. That set up a 9-yard TD pass from Mendoza to Infanse.
Silas Bolden then lost a fumble on the first play of the next drive and Cal turned that into a 1-yard TD run for Infanse and a 17-14 lead.
Smith remained aggressive and it paid off late in the first half when Uiagalelei found Velling for his second TD of the game on fourth down from the 3 to give the Beavers a 21-17 lead at the half.
Both teams scored twice on their only possessions of the third quarter before the Beavers took control in the fourth.
Oregon State: The Beavers came into the game fifth in the nation in run defense but were gashed for 128 yards in the first half with starters James Rawls and Calvin Hart Jr. serving a penalty for targeting last week. They gave up 241 yards rushing for the game.
California: The Bears went to their third starting QB of the season with Mendoza getting the nod over Sam Jackson V and Ben Finley. Mendoza played well but it wasn’t enough as Cal started a stretch of five straight games against teams currently in the AP poll with a loss.
Oregon State: Hosts UCLA on Saturday night.
California: Visits Utah on Saturday.