DJ Uiagalelei during NCAA college football game (Image: AP)
DJ Uiagalelei looked once again looked like the heralded recruit who showed so much promise early in his career at Clemson in his debut for Oregon State.
Uiagalelei got off to a fast start for his new team, throwing three touchdown passes and running for two more to lead No. 18 Oregon State to a 42-17 victory over San Jose State on Sunday.
The former five-star recruit lost his starting job at Clemson late last season and transferred to Oregon State where he had a spectacular debut.
“I had fun today,” he said. “It was exciting. It was just fun to be out there and be able to play football again.”
Uiagalelei completed all three passes on his opening drive and capped it with a 1-yard TD run. He added a 14-yard TD pass to Jack Velling on his third drive and ran it in again from the 1 on the next possession to give Oregon State a 21-3 lead over the Spartans (0-2).
He then added two deep strikes in the second half, a 31-yarder to Jeremiah Noga in the third quarter when he had about 5 seconds to throw the ball without any pressure.
“I could have made a sandwich back there,” he said. “The o-line played an unbelievable game today, the running backs ran really well. I thought it was a good team win today.”
He added a 28-yarder to Anthony Gould in the fourth quarter to match his career high with five combined touchdowns.
Uiagalelei finished 20 for 25 for 239 yards to help the Beavers start the season on the right note as they try to build on last year’s 10-win campaign under coach Jonathan Smith.
“I thought he saw it well, played with composure,” Smith said. “He distributed the ball, got us in the right run plays, got a couple protection checks that were critical on some throws. Without watching the tape, I thought he was really efficient.”
Damien Martinez added 145 yards rushing for the Beavers.
The Spartans followed last week’s 56-28 loss at No. 6 Southern California that offered some promise offensively with a rough performance in their home debut.
San Jose State didn’t reach the end zone until scoring two TDs in the fourth quarter after the game was already out of reach.
“They have a fantastic football team,” Spartans coach Brent Brennan said. “They’re sound in all three phases, extremely sound. They play a unique brand of football. They’re incredibly physical. In the days when everyone is spreading you out and throwing it 60 times a game, they’re kind of the opposite of that.”
The Spartans fell to 1-31 against ranked opponents since the start of the 2001 season with the only win in that span coming in 2013 against Fresno State.
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