Gebbia leads Beavs to comeback win over Cal
CORVALLIS (AP) — Oregon State quarterback Tristan Gebbia passed for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown and was on the receiving end of a score in the Beavers’ 31-27 victory Saturday over California at Reser Stadium.
Gebbia is the first Pac-12 quarterback since 1996 to account for touchdowns via the air, ground and as a receiver.
“That was definitely the first time I caught a touchdown pass,” said Gebbia, who completed 12 of 20 for 147 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. “That was pretty cool.”
Gebbia’s 1-yard touchdown run with 4:30 remaining, set up by Jesiah Irish’s blocked punt, gave Oregon State its final lead.
California drove to the Beavers’ 10 late in the fourth quarter, but on first-and-goal Chase Garbers’ pass was tipped by Hamilcar Rashed Jr. and intercepted by fellow linebacker John McCartan.
“Very unfortunate play,” said Garbers, who passed for 315 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. “Defensive back came free off the edge. Tried to throw our hot route to (Trevon) Clark. Tipped it straight up in the air, hoping it would just go backward or off to the side. But worst-case scenario, it went straight up in the air.”
Jermar Jefferson’s 65-yard run with just under a minute to go sealed the win for Oregon State (1-2, 1-2 Pacific 12), which opened the season with losses to Washington State and Washington.
“After I passed the second level I was like, ‘This game. We won it,’” Jefferson said.
Jefferson ran for 196 yards, including a 75-yard jaunt on the game’s first offensive play.
Oregon State led 24-20 in the fourth quarter and had possession, but safety Elijah Hicks intercepted a Gebbia pass and returned it 30 yards to the Beavers’ 32.
The turnover led to Garber’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Tonges and a 27-24 California lead with 8:01 remaining.
Tyjon Lindsey’s 7-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Gebbia gave the Beavers a 24-20 lead with 13:35 left.
California (0-2, 0-2) gained 439 total yards to 360 for the Beavers, but the Bears will have to wait at least another week for their first win.
“It’s a very frustrating loss, it’s frustrating for everyone,” California coach Justin Wilcox said. “There were parts of the game where we did some things pretty well. Unfortunately, the critical errors in every phase were too much to overcome.”
The Beavers take momentum into their annual rivalry game against 11th-ranked Oregon.
“The guys putting in the kind of effort to get the result they wanted, it will definitely help morale,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said.
California: The Golden Bears’ first two scheduled games, against Washington and Arizona State, were canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks and Cal was much improved from last week’s 34-10 loss at UCLA.
California hurt its own cause on special teams. Nikko Remigio’s 88-yard first quarter punt return was called back due to an illegal block, and he had a 90-yard kickoff return in the third quarter negated by a holding call.
Oregon State: The Beavers showed they can win a close game. Oregon State continues to rely on running back Jermar Jefferson, who had his third straight 100-yard game.
Gebbia threw two interceptions and will need to improve moving forward if the Beavers hope to have any chance of upsetting No. 11 Oregon next week.
California hosts Stanford Friday
Oregon State hosts No. 11 Oregon Friday.