Hey Duck fans, it’s that beautiful time of year again. A time dedicated to stuffing yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie, spending time with family and friends and, most importantly, showing our little brother who the king of Oregon football really is.
After a playoff-crushing defeat last week against Arizona State in the desert, Oregon looked to regroup and refocus against their northern neighbors.
First Half Domination
Although at times it wasn’t pretty, Oregon’s offense looked like itself in the first quarter against Oregon State. The Ducks opened their first offensive possession with a 16-play, 56-yard drive that ended in a field goal. After repeatedly converting on third and fourth down, the Beavers answered with a field goal of their own and knotted up the score at 3-3.
This was the closest the Beavers got to knocking off the Ducks.
In the ensuing possession, freshman cornerback and return man Mykael Wright burst out of the gate with a 98-yard kick return touchdown to put the Ducks up 10-3.
Later in the half, senior quarterback Justin Herbert found Johnny Johnson III for a beautifully caught 28-yard touchdown. After the play, the Ducks went into the half with a commanding 17-3 lead.
A Sloppy Second Half
The second half opened with mediocre play and uneventful possessions. Both teams were unable to score in the third quarter.
The Beavers eventually made it a one-score game when Jermar Jefferson ran in for a three-yard touchdown. On the following drive, it almost seemed like the Ducks wanted to keep the game close, as Jaylon Redd fumbled in the endzone, setting up an Oregon State touchback.
The Beavers had their best chance in three years to get revenge on the Ducks. They had the momentum, the ball and a golden opportunity to score.
Jefferson looked to play hero ball, and, instead of accepting a 10-yard gain and a first down, he attempted to hurdle Thomas Graham Jr., which resulted in a fumble, recovered by senior Brady Breeze. The Ducks would go on to score on a 20-yard run by Cyrus Habibi-Likio to put the game out of reach.
An Unsatisfying Civil War
For the third time in a row, and the 11th in 12 years, the Ducks beat their little brother, Oregon State. As satisfying as it is to win against a rival, this one didn’t seem right. The offense played similarly to how it performed the first three and a half quarters against Arizona State. The Ducks looked passive and struggled to convert on crucial third and fourth downs.
Overall, Oregon was quite sloppy in all facets of the game, which is something they need to clean up and clean up fast with Utah looming in the Pac-12 Championship next Friday.
As for Oregon State, although they didn’t get the result they would have liked, they played far better than they have in the previous two years. The Beavers look like an improved program under Jonathan Smith and clearly are moving in the right direction.
Thank You Seniors
Although it would have been nice to blow out the Beavers like we have in years past, we as Duck fans should have a ton of gratitude for our senior class. Next year, the Ducks are going to have many holes to fill, not only from an X’s and O’s standpoint, but they will need to find leaders to fill the shoes of these great seniors.
Thank you to Justin Herbert, Troy Dye, Dallas Warmack, Shane Lemieux and so many other seniors. Your dedication to the Oregon football program is why we are where we are today. These seniors set a precedent for excellent football and have prepared Oregon for future success.
Let’s be real. The Ducks played sloppy, but were able to get the win against an inferior opponent. In a college football landscape in which upsets happen every day, we should be thankful to finish the regular season 10-2. The Ducks will be playing a far more talented and disciplined Utah team in less than a week.
The Playoff is out of the picture, but the Rose Bowl is still within reach. If we want to beat the Utes, the offense needs to be far more in sync and the entire team needs to play with more urgency.
But don’t count us out … or do, if you want. That’s how we like it.
Eugene, OregonTop Photo by Tom Corno
Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in digital marketing in Chicago, Illinois.
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