Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield says he's lucky to have a back like Yvenson Bernard around.
Bernard ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns and Oregon State opened the season with a 24-7 victory over Utah on Thursday night.
"He had a heck of a night, as you all saw. Having him out there with his talent and his experience takes the pressure off the quarterback," said Canfield, a sophomore who is competing for the Beavers' starting job. "And the offensive line, I think I only got touched twice."
Canfield completed eight of 19 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers (1-0).
Utah quarterback Brian Johnson completed eight of 13 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, but left at the half with an apparent separated shoulder.
Canfield started the game but Lyle Moevao came in to start the second quarter and his first pass was intercepted.
Utah (0-1) scored on the ensuing drive when Johnson hit Brent Casteel with a 36-yard pass to make it 7-0.
The Utes missed out on an earlier scoring opportunity when Louie Sakoda's 45-yard field goal attempt fell well short.
Moevao helped redeem himself with a gutsy 17-yard pass to freshman Darrell Catchings on a fourth-down play with 7 yards to go. Bernard went on to score on the drive, running in from 9 yards out and knotting the score at 7.
Johnson, who did not play for the Utes last season because of a knee injury, did not return in the second half and was replaced by Tommy Grady.
Wearing a sling, Johnson said he thought he injured his shoulder on an option play.
"Then on the next play we called a pass, and I think I threw it and I think that was the end," he said. "I could feel it, It really hurt after that."
Coach Kyle Wittingham said he expected Johnson to be out three to four weeks.
Canfield came back in for the Beavers in the second half, finding Catchings with a 6-yard scoring pass in the third quarter to put the Beavers ahead 14-7. Alexis Serna added a 37-yard field goal before the quarter's end.
Bernard, who rushed for 1,307 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, scored on a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
"I thought he was outstanding," coach Mike Riley said. "Yv is in great, great shape. He's quicker, faster than ever, and just really playing with a lot of confidence, too. I thought he did a very, very good job."
Canfield and Moevao competed for the starter's nod all through fall camp, but neither sophomore separated himself. Riley was experimenting with a rotation against the Utes.
Moevao completed 3-of-9 passes for 32 yards.
Oregon State went 10-4 last season and beat Missouri 39-38 in the Sun Bowl. The Beavers finished ranked No. 21.
The Utes, of the Mountain West Conference, went 8-5 last season, capped by a 25-13 win over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Johnson was returning from injury after completing 210 of 330 passes for 2,892 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2005. He also ran for eight TDs that year.
Oregon State was still without receiver Sammie Stroughter, although he watched from the sidelines Thursday night wearing his jersey.
Stroughter was set to be the Pac-10's top returning receiver. He has had personal issues and only recently returned to practice.
Utah suffered a blow on offense when sophomore running back Matt Asiata was taken from the field on a cart at the end of the first quarter. He had four carries for 16 yards in the game.
There was no immediate word as to the nature of his injury or condition.
Bernard rushes for 165 yards as Beavers topple Utah