BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- Oregon State had a chance to pull off the biggest upset of the young college football season and kicked it away.
Freshman Alexis Serna missed three extra points, including one in overtime that allowed No. 3 Louisiana State to escape with a 22-21 victory over Oregon State in the season opener for both teams.
"I am really sick about the loss because we'll look back and see too many missed opportunities," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said.
"We've got a lot of work to do as a team," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "I think everyone knows that. Maybe it's a good omen that everybody understands that now."
The defending national champions, LSU did not look sharp as it trailed virtually the entire game while Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell were equally ineffective at quarterback. combining to complete just 16-of-44 passes for 211 yards.
Huge favorites, the Tigers were down, 15-7, and looked dead when Russell returned to overthrow Skyler Green in the end zone on 4th-and-goal from the 2 with less than three minutes to go.
But the defense forced a punt, and Russell hit Dwayne Bowe with consecutive passes for 64 yards and a touchdown with 1:05 left. Russell scrambled for the tying conversion, thrilling the Tigers faithful, including alumnus Shaquille O'Neal.
In overtime, Oregon State was called for a pair of defensive holding penalties. Randall returned after Russell cramped up and ran five yards for a touchdown.
Derek Anderson, who was 26-of-47 for 231 yards and three TDs, found tight end Joe Newton on 4th-and-4 for a 19-yard TD, and the game appeared headed to a second overtime.
But Serna, who pushed his first two extra points right, did so again, ending Oregon State's upset hopes. He threw his helmet, then dropped to his knees and began ripping up grass from the soggy field in anger.
"I told him there's not a lot you can say," Riley said. "Sometimes things go bad on you."
"You can't point the finger," Oregon State linebacker Jonathan Pollard said. "Everyone makes mistakes. We'll pick him up."
Serna, who kicked a 40-yard field goal to give OSU a 9-0 halftime lead, did not speak to reporters after the game.
The game was delayed 50 minutes by nearby lightning. Once it started, the Beavers were clearly more ready, forcing a fumble by Green on the opening kickoff that Anderson turned into a six-yard TD pass to George Gillett.
Russell, who was 9-of-26 for 145 yards, came on in the third quarter and directed a 79-yard drive capped by a 16-yard TD pass to Green.
"If we have a starter, a middle reliever and bring some back as a closer, this ain't baseball," Saban said. "You are allowed to bring them back in once you take them out." Anderson answered with a 65-yard march culminating in his four-yard TD toss to Anthony Wheat-Brown with 48 seconds left in the period. But Serna missed a second extra point, leaving OSU with a 15-7 lead - and LSU still within a score and a conversion.
Dwight Wright had 85 yards on 17 carries and Newton made seven catches for 71 yards for the Beavers, who hurt themselves with 11 penalties.
"It really hurt. I'm not going to lie," Anderson said. "We went out there and fought today."