Gritty, tough, blue-collar.
All words used this year to describe Oregon State, a program which, admittedly, Jonathan Smith has helped to transform.
But on Friday evening, those words more aptly described Oregon’s defense, as they ran roughshod en route to a 31-7 drubbing that put them back in the Pac-12 title game and earned them their much-anticipated rematch with the Washington Huskies.
Nix/Penix Part 3 anyone?
Wanting to show right away that things this year would be vastly different than in 2022, when the Beavs ground away at Oregon for an upset win, the Ducks controlled the tempo and kept their offense on the field for almost the entire first half.
Even after scoring to cut the lead to 14-7, any hope the Beavers had of making a game out of it were squashed as it took Oregon only a little over a minute to march all the way down the field and score off of a very Heisman-like back shoulder toss from Nix to Troy Franklin to make it 21-7 at halftime.
And though Oregon only tacked on 10 points in the second half, their defense had Oregon State completely flabbergasted. Star running back Damien Martinez was swallowed up on majority of his runs, and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei took more hits than a punching bag.
The seven points OSU managed were by far their lowest output of the year.
The win secures another undefeated season at Autzen and also a rematch with the hated Huskies, who pulled off a last-second victory over Oregon in Seattle in October.
Since then, their performances seemed to have dipped while Oregon’s have elevated.
The game this coming Friday should be a telling one for sure.