DUCKS 55 - BEAVERS 15
The Oregon Ducks (8-4, 5-4) beat the Oregon State Beavers (2-10, 1-8) in the pouring rain at Reser Stadium. Duck fans across the nation had flashbacks of the Alamo Bowl when Oregon sent out the backup quarterback in the second half, but unlike that most-terrible of bowl games, the Ducks came together as a team and coasted to an easy 40-point victory.
Justin Herbert: 9/12 - 102 YDS - 1 TD
Braxton Burmeister: 1/2 - 16 YDS
Oregon had a meager 118 yards in the air, but when you finish with 392 yards on the ground you don’t really need to throw it very often. And since Justin Herbert sat on the bench for the entirety of the second half, it makes sense that the game plan would become run-heavy, though few would expect a win with 16 total passing yards in the second half.
Herbert led the Ducks to a 21-0 lead before he was sacked by Doug Taumoelau, and overall, the potential NFL first-rounder complimented the Ducks’ highly-successful run game. But the hard hit had Herbert cradling his right shoulder, which led to backup quarterback Braxton Burmeister earning his most minutes of the season.
What is there to say about Burmeister besides he played a good Burmeister game. Cristobal saw the advantage Oregon had in the run game and elected to largely abandon throwing the ball. In fact, the Ducks threw the ball three times in the second half: an incompletion on 3rd & 4, a failed two-point conversion, and a 16-yard completion to Ryan Bay for a first down.
To Burmeister’s credit, he didn’t turn over the ball (but he did have a fumble), and the offense actually scored more while he was on the field, though the credit should mostly go to the Ducks’ defense and running backs.
Jacob Breeland: 2 rec - 40 YDS
Jaylon Redd: 3 rec - 24 YDS
CJ Verdell: 1 rec - 21 YDS - 1 TD
Ryan Bay: 1 rec - 16 YDS
Dillon Mitchell: 1 rec - 9 YDS
Johnny Johnson III: 1 rec - 4 YDS
Travis Dye: 1 rec - 4 YDS
With the departure of Herbert, Oregon’s passing game was nearly nonexistent, amassing only sixteen yards of offense.
That being said, it makes sense that the Duck receivers had underwhelming numbers. Perhaps the most notable stat line is Mitchell’s single reception for nine yards. The junior receiver was a mere 36 yards from Oregon’s single-season receiving record, but missed the first quarter due to disciplinary measures (late to a meeting), and by the time he returned to the game Burmeister was at QB.
Mitchell will have another opportunity to break the record should he elect to play in Oregon’s bowl game.
Travis Dye: 32 car - 199 YDS - 2 TD
CJ Verdell: 23 car - 187 YDS - 4 TD
Braxton Burmeister: 3 car - 11 YDS
Justin Herbert: 3 car - (-5) YDS
Oregon State came into this game averaging 271.8 rushing yards allowed per game, and Oregon beat that mark by 121 yards. The Ducks had such a dominant run game that all seven of their offensive touchdowns came on drives in which they passed the ball less than three times.
To illustrate this point further, look at Oregon’s first possession of the third quarter, where Travis Dye and CJ Verdell led an 11-play, 85-yard, run-only drive to give the Ducks a 28-3 lead.
The duo also racked up a slew of records in their route of the Beavers:
- Tied Oregon’s single game TD record of five in the modern era (Verdell)
- Career-high in rushing (Verdell & Dye)
- Oregon freshman rushing record (Dye)
- Verdell’s fifth +100-yard rushing game
- Dye’s third +100-yard rushing game
- First time two Ducks have rushed for over 180 yards.
The Beavers inability to stop the run crushed any chance of a comeback.
Jake Luton: 21/37 - 282 YDS - 2 TD - 2 INT
Jermar Jefferson: 21 car - 64 YDS
Isaiah Hodgins: 8 rec - 133 YDS
Timmy Hernandez: 6 rec - 87 YDS - 2 TD
Trevon Bradford: 5 rec - 71 YDS
Champ Flemings: 6 KR - 137 YDS - 22.8 AVG
Once it became clear that Justin Herbert would not return to the game, the home fans became revitalized, smelling blood in the water. Oregon’s trouble with backup quarterbacks is well known, so a 21-3 halftime deficit suddenly didn’t seem as insurmountable as before.
But the Beavers were unable to stop the Ducks’ running backs, even when they knew that Oregon wasn’t likely to pass the ball. After Oregon’s 85-yard drive in which they didn’t attempt a single pass, Oregon State responded with a three-play scoring drive that brought the game back to within three scores after a failed two-point conversion.
Outside of the third quarter 22-yard touchdown pass to Timmy Hernandez, Oregon State only scored two other times: a 45-yard field goal right before the half, and a garbage-time touchdown once again to Hernandez (where they once again failed on a two-point conversion.)
What truly sunk the Beavers was their four turnovers. The first took place in the second quarter, when Nick Pickett intercepted a Tebow-esque pass on the goal line. Then, in the third quarter, Flemings fumbled a ball on a lateral pass, one of the Beavers’ many trick plays of the game.
Then, Thomas Graham Jr. decided to improve his 2018 stats by snatching, not one, but two interceptions in the fourth quarter. The first one was returned for a 38-yard touchdown and the second one was icing on the cake, as the Ducks were already up 48-9.
BEAVER PASSING: 282 YDS - 2 TD - 3 INT
BEAVER RUSHING: 54 YDS
TURNOVERS: Ducks 0 - Beavers 4
Going into this game, Oregon State’s hopes of an upset rested on the shoulders of their star running back, Jermar Jefferson. The freshman came into this game with 1,316 yards and 12 touchdowns on 218 carries. The Ducks’ battered linebacking corps seemingly presented an opportunity for a Beavers team that is dependent on a successful run game.
Well, that plan didn’t work so well, as the Oregon defense held Oregon State to just 54 yards on the ground. To be fair, negative plays by Champ Flemings (-26 YDS) and Jake Luton (-6 YDS) took away a good chunk of positive rushing yards.
Once the game got out of hand, the Beavers were forced to find yardage through the air, which resulted in three picks for the Ducks: one by Nick Pickett and two by Thomas Graham Jr.
ALL-GANG GREEN TEAM
- Thomas Graham Jr - The defensive MVP grabbed two Interceptions, one for a pick-six, and six tackles.
- Nick Pickett - Had an interception in the endzone and four tackles.
- Troy Dye - Six tackles, one sack, and two tackles for a loss.
- Sampson Niu - After a couple of up-and-down starts, Niu had his best game of the season, finishing with five tackles, a sack, and three tackles for a loss.
- Deommodore Lenoir -Led the team with seven tackles.
Justin Herbert did not return after the half due to a shoulder injury caused by a sack. Tony Brooks-James was seen on crutches after a hit in the third quarter. Jalen Jelks did not play due to an injury suffered against ASU.