Well, what to say about the Civil War? Although it was a loss for the green and yellow, there was still a lot of good stuff. It was nice to see that it was a good game--the last two Civil Wars have been blowouts, so seeing that this one came down to the end was a welcome change. The Ducks also showed more heart than they have in a while. Last week, they simply packed it in against Arizona. This week, they battled until the very end. Finally, Brady Leaf showed us that he probably should have been starting the last few weeks, and that he definitely deserves to start the bowl game. This was easily the best quarterbacked game in a long time.
However, there were also some very concerning things, which led to the loss. Obviously, the special teams stand out. Jonathan Stewart was great on kick returns, but what the hell happened to Paul Martinez? Misses from 34 and 36? Those are chip shot field goals, and should be nearly automatic. We're used to seeing better, and its a shame that had to happen to a senior, but you've gotta make those kicks. Can't really fault Matt Evenson on the last kick--that's a tough situation to be brought into, especially having only two attempts on the year.
Equally concerning were untimely turnovers. Again, the Ducks put it on the ground on the first drive, and Brady Leaf also had a pick returned for a score. Now, the difference is that Leaf was able to make adjustments and not turn it over again, but early turnovers have killed the Ducks, and led to 14 Beaver points in this game. Take away those 14 points, and the score is 28-16. Add those two missed field goals, and its 34-16, which is what the score should have been.
Finally, I want to comment on the defense. They played very well in some tough situations all game, but then folded on that last possession, allowing the Beavers to quickly drive down for the game winning FG. That was very concerning. They played loose. Knowing that OSU has the best kicker in the nation, you needed to play tight there. Serna is the best kicker in the country, and was the difference in the game.
It was a tough game to lose, made tougher by the fact that I am not convinced that the better team won. But perhaps the smarter team won. The good news is that there is a lot to like about the game, and those positives give a lot of hope for the bowl game. Brady Leaf will start. If we can kick, we should be okay.