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Oregon Finishes Regular Season 10-2 with Room for Improvement

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Go Ducks!

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

EUGENE, OREGON

OREGON 24 - OREGON STATE 10

The #14 Oregon Ducks (10-2, 8-1) once again defeated the Oregon State Beavers (5-7, 4-5) at Autzen Stadium. The 24-10 victory gives Oregon their first 10-win regular season since 2014 and denies Oregon State a much needed bowl appearance.

The 123rd Civil War was a much more competitive game than many expected due to a poor offensive showing from the Oregon Ducks, but the victory against an ancient rival shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Oregon’s defense held their seventh opponent of the season to under 11 points, and though the offense turned in an uninspired showing, the Ducks are now 10-2 and gearing up for a shot at a PAC-12 title and Rose Bowl appearance.

OREGON PASSING

Justin Herbert: 18/30 - 174 YDS - 1 TD

In his last game at Autzen, hometown-hero Justin Herbert didn’t turn in his most productive performance, but he did put together just enough to make sure he left the program with one more Civil War victory.

During this opening drive, Herbert was 5-of-8 for 52 yards. He managed to find Jaylon Redd (back from injury) on his first pass of the game for 13 yards and Josh Delgado for a pickup of 28 to reach the red zone.

Things were clearly off when left tackle Calvin Throckmorton started the game at center, a sign that Jake Hanson was still recovering from his injury suffered against Arizona State. On Oregon’s opening 16-play, 56-yard drive, the offensive line was called for a false start twice, including once from the Beaver nine-yard line that forced the Ducks to take a chance on a 32-yard Camden Lewis field goal (which he was able to make.)

Oregon State was able to respond with a methodical 12-play, 63-yard drive that finished with a 39-yard made field goal by Everett Hayes, but before Herbert had the opportunity to respond, Mykael Wright took the proceeding kickoff 98 yards for the game’s first touchdown.

After a quick three-and-out, the Oregon offense returned to the field but failed to put together a first down when Herbert threw back-to-back incompletions after a short CJ Verdell gain on first.

The second quarter started with another three-and-out by the Beavs and this time the Ducks took just two plays to score thanks to some favorable field position after a 25-yard Jevon Holland punt return; Oregon reached the OSU 28 with an 11-yard run by Travis Dye then Herbert connected with a well-covered Johnny Johnson III in the end zone for the score.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The last ten minutes of the half included three Oregon punts from within enemy territory due in part to the ineffectiveness of the pass game - Herbert was 1-of-5 for two yards after taking a sack by Omar Speights. But Oregon State was unable to take advantage of the offensive slump and so the home-team took a 17-3 lead going into the half.

The Ducks seemed to reclaim some momentum on their first possession of the second half, traveling 69 yards in 15 plays to set up a short field goal which was unfortunately missed by freshman Lewis. Herbert was only asked to throw three times on this drive due to the success of Dye and Verdell on the ground; two of his passes earned a first down, a 9-yard completion to Juwan Johnson on 3rd-and-8 then an 11-yard completion to tight end Ryan Bay on 4th-and-4 just outside the red zone, but an incompletion on 3rd-and-goal forced the Ducks to settle for the cursed field goal attempt.

A couple passes to Jaylon Redd and Bryan Addison got a late-third-quarter drive started on the right foot, but a loss of seven yards on a John McCartan sack proved too much to overcome after Dye was able to reclaim ten yards on 2nd-and-17 but a pass to Addison was broken up on third down.

The Beavers scored their first touchdown of the game, a Jermar Jefferson 19-yard run, with 11:03 remaining in the fourth quarter and suddenly the pressure was on the Oregon offense to prevent the upset.

Justin Herbert responded to the moment in impressive fashion, completing five of his six passes and gaining 69 total yards, 30 of those yards coming off a couple of rare quarterback runs. But the impressive drive by Herbert was ultimately wasted when Redd fumbled the ball near the pylon which resulted in a touchback for the Beavs.

The senior quarterback would not throw another pass in Autzen as Cristobal elected to run the ball only in Oregon’s final two drives, which resulted in a punt from midfield then a Cyrus Habibi-Likio score to put the game out of reach.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON RECEIVING

Johnny Johnson III: 4 rec - 39 YDS - 28 long - 1 TD

Jaylon Redd: 5 rec - 34 YDS - 13 long

Bryan Addison: 2 rec - 32 YDS - 17 long

Josh Delgado: 1 rec - 28 YDS

Ryan Bay: 2 rec - 19 YDS - 11 long

Travis Dye: 1 rec -10 YDS

Juwan Johnson 2 rec - 9 YDS - 9 long

CJ Verdell: 1 rec - 3 YDS

Coming off the best game of his career in the upset loss to the Sun Devils, Johnny Johnson III led all Oregon receivers by tallying 39 yards and a touchdown. His 28-yard touchdown reception gave the Ducks a two-score lead for a large chunk of the game and the receiver caught four of his seven targets.

The chemistry built between Herbert and Redd seemed to diminish during the receiver’s recovery period as the quarterback struggled to take advantage of the slot receiver. It appeared Redd was ready to score a meaningful touchdown in the fourth quarter, but his costly fumble took away that opportunity in one of college football’s most baffling rules.

Bryan Addison, Ryan Bay and Juwan Johnson each caught two passes apiece. Addison caught both of his passes on fourth down and was able to convert, including a 17-yard reception which he then fumbled out of bounds, setting up Redd’s touchdown/touchback play. Bay also had limited but crucial catches, earning a fresh set of downs on both receptions. Johnson’s recent slump in production is troubling for Duck fans who were becoming accustomed to seeing the large receiver take advantage of smaller secondaries.

Josh Delgado, CJ Verdell and Travis Dye each caught a pass against the Beavers.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON RUSHING

Travis Dye: 12 car - 91 YDS - 38 long

CJ Verdell: 15 car - 50 YDS - 12 long

Cyrus Habibi-Likio: 5 car - 29 YDS - 20 long - 1 TD

Justin Herbert: 4 car - 22 YDS - 24 long

Darrian Felix: 1 car - (-1) YDS

Travis Dye’s carries were scattered throughout the game and he was able to tally four double-digit carries. CJ Verdell received far less touches than he typically has earlier in the season, but alongside Dye, the two were able to combine efforts for a run-heavy drive early in the third quarter that would have produced points if Camden Lewis would’ve made his short field goal attempt. Verdell is now only 37 rushing yards away from another 1,000-yard season.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio received a couple carries in the first quarter and then three consecutive carries on Oregon’s final possession - a three-play, 27-yard drive that put the Ducks up 24 to 10 with a CHL touchdown.

Justin Herbert came up with a couple big runs in the fourth quarter, and Darrian Felix received a single carry, though to the surprise of many Duck fans it came at a crucial moment when a conversion on 3rd-and-3 would have likely sealed the win. The sophomore back instead lost a yard on a reverse.

Oregon State is quickly improving, but development on both sides of the ball is needed if they wish to reach bowl eligibility in the near future.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

NOTABLE BEAVERS

Tristan Gebbia: 26/40 FG - 243 YDS - 7 car - 25 YDS

Jermar Jefferson: 20 car - 81 YDS - 19 long - 1 TD - 3 rec - 24 YDS

Isaiah Hodgins: 8 rec - 85 YDS - 18 long

Trevon Bradford: 6 rec - 53 YDS - 17 long

Omar Speights: 10 tackles - 6 solo - 1 sack - 1 TFL

The Beavers have been the biggest surprise in the PAC-12 this year. They’ve doubled their win total of two from last year and are drastically improved on offense with playmakers like Jermar Jefferson, Isaiah Hodgins and Jake Luton.

In fact, the OSU offense outgained Oregon 380 to 365, but ultimately an inability to reach the good side of the field doomed the Beavers. Hodgins picked up 85 yards but was far less explosive than he had been at times this season, and Jefferson had a productive day by scoring OSU’s only touchdown but also made a fatal mistake by committing their only turnover late in the game down by seven.

Senior quarterback was sidelined due to an injury suffered against Washington State, which resulted in Tristan Gebbia making his first career start. The sophomore mostly looked good in a performance that featured few big plays but also no turnovers and no egregious mistakes. He led a fourth-quarter drive that cut the lead to seven. Coach Jonathan Smith must have liked how his future QB performed in a hostile environment against a team with superior talent.

Oregon State’s defense kept this game much closer than many expected, even allowing for two late-game opportunities to tie the game. Who knows what this game will look like in Corvallis next year, if coach Smith can continue to improve his offense and develop his defense, the Beavers may have a real shot at the 124th Civil War.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON DEFENSE

BEAVER PASSING: 26/40 - 243 YDS - long 22

BEAVER RUSHING: 34 CAR - 137 YDS - 23 long - 1 TD

BEAVER 3RD DOWN: 5 of 16

TURNOVERS FORCED: Ducks 1 - Beavers 1

Oregon’s offense was never able to truly pull away from Oregon State, but the game always felt in favor of the Ducks due to a dominant defensive performance. The Duck defense forced three three-and-outs, six punts, two turnover on downs and a game-sealing fumble.

When Justin Herbert and the Oregon offense were unable to sustain drives, Blake Maimone would mitigate the damage with his golden foot, often pinning the Beavers near their own end zone. Outside of Oregon State’s two scoring drives, they were rarely able to cross midfield, and when they did it resulted in a punt shortly after.

All five of Oregon State’s third down conversions took place in drives that resulted in no points. Two of these conversions took place on a crucial fourth quarter drive in which the Beavers were down by just seven, both were short completions by Gebbia. But after the successful conversions, a near-pick by Mykael Wright on 2nd-and-10 put the Beavers in a tough situation, and following a five-yard gain by Jefferson on third down, Thomas Graham Jr came up with another huge tackle by holding the running back just short of the first down.

ALL-GANG GREEN TEAM

  • Thomas Graham Jr: 8 tackles - 7 solo - 1 TFL
  • Jevon Holland: 8 tackles - 6 solo - 1 PD - .5 sack
  • Austin Faoliu: 8 tackles - 3 solo - 1.5 TFL
  • Verone McKinley III: 5 tackles - 4 solo
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux: 4 tackles - 3 solo - 1 PD - 2 TFL - 1 sack

Austin Faolui and Kayvon Thibodeaux are a major reason why redshirt sophomore quarterback Tristan Gebbia had such a rough time in the pocket. Considering Verone McKinley III’s best play of the day took place on special teams, Graham Jr was likely the best player on defense with his eight tackles, often coming at key moments like when Jefferson attempted to hurdle him but fumbled the ball. Senior Brady Breeze jumped on Jefferson’s fumble, and three plays later Habibi-Likio delivered the win. Plenty of things didn’t go right for the Ducks in this year’s Civil War, but few of those mistakes took place on defense.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

NEXT UP: UTAH

(Dec 6th, Friday, 5 PM, ABC)