( GAME RECAP ) OREGON OUTLASTS OSU 24-10 IN 123RD PLAYING OF THE CIVIL WAR – Ducks End Regular Season with 10-2 Record and Opportunity for a Conference Title
If the Ducks needed a bounce back win, this was certainly the one they needed.
After last weeks deflating 31-28 loss to Arizona State, and losing any opportunity to reach the college football final four, the No. 14 Ducks fought and scraped their way to a 24-10 win over Oregon State in the 123rd playing of the Civil War in front of 56,243 at Autzen Stadium. Oregon running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio gave the Ducks their tenth win of the season with a game clinching 20 yard touchdown run with 1:15 remaining on the clock.
Quarterback Justin Herbert ended his Autzen Stadium career completing 18 of 30 passes for 174 yards and a single score.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After their disappointing road loss to Arizona State, the Ducks looked to come back strong on senior day and make a statement before heading south to the Pac-12 Championship game.
After a slow 3-3 start to begin the game, the Ducks scored fourteen unanswered points to take a 17-3 lead into the break.
The first Oregon touchdown came by the way of special teams. After allowing the Beavers to tie the game at three at the 3:00 minute mark of the opening quarter, Duck return man Mykael Wright put his stamp on the game with a 98 yard return to push Oregon’s lead to 10-3.
It was the second game this season Wright scored on a kickoff. Just four weeks earlier at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against USC, Wright returned a kick 100 yards for a score.
Early in the second quarter the Oregon offense would strike again. At the 12:55 mark, Herbert dropped deep in the pocket and connected with Johnny Johnson III in the end zone for a 28 yard score giving the Ducks a 17-3 lead which they’d take into the break.
The scoring pass by Herbert was his 31st of the season.
In the second half both teams had trouble finding any offensive rhythm and went scoreless in the third quarter.
The Ducks certainly had their opportunities to pad their lead but were unable to convert in opportunistic situations.
With 6:15 remaining in the third, Herbert over shot an open Juwan Johnson in the end zone forcing the Ducks to attempt a 24 yard field goal. Camden Lewis pulled the chip shot wide and gave the ball right back to the Beavers.
OSU would also have an opportunity late in the third but couldn’t convert inside the Oregon 40 yard line.
In the fourth quarter, the Beavers pulled within seven points at 17-10 when OSU running back Jermar Jefferson took a delayed handoff and rushed 19 yards up the middle for the touchdown with 11:03 remaining on the clock.
Then with 7:50 remaining and the Ducks offense on the move, and Herbert facing a 4th and 6 from the Beaver 25 yard line, he connected with receiver Bryan Addison coming across the middle. Addison’s 4th down reception got the ball to the Oregon State eight yard line where the Ducks had a 1st and goal.
Twenty four seconds later at the 7:26 mark, receiver Jaylon Redd grabbed a screen pass from Herbert and appeared to score from eight yards out.
However on the play, Redd lost control of the football just prior to reaching the end zone. The ball came out of Redd’s hands, bounced off the pylon and dropped out of bounds. What appeared to be a touchdown went to review. After the replay confirmed Redd lost the ball it was ruled a touchback giving the ball back to the Beavers at their own 20 yard line.
It was a significant mistake by Redd and lost opportunity for the Oregon offense which had mostly sputtered to this point.
On the ensuing OSU possession the Oregon defense once again came to life and halted the Beaver drive at midfield.
On a 4th and 4, Oregon corner Thomas Graham made a terrific open field tackle just shy of the sticks to force a Beaver punt and give the ball back to the Oregon offense.
But the Ducks again couldn’t generate any offense and were forced to punt from the OSU 47.
After the game, head coach Mario Cristobal admitted his offense was out of sync most of the afternoon.
“We weren’t hitting on all cylinders like we’re used to doing” Cristobal said.
“ I felt like we were moving the ball well but we really stalled.
“We’ve got to do a better job coaching it. We got to get back to our style of offense. The right kind of style of offense. Those guys,… we know we can do better.”
With 2:22 remaining in the game, Oregon State had the ball at their own 15 yard line with plenty of time to drive the field for the game tying score.
On the second play from scrimmage, OSU quarterback Tristan Gebbia completed a screen pass to Jermar Jefferson, who during the run, attempted to leap over Oregon CB Thomas Graham but the ball came loose and was recovered by safety Brady Breeze.
The Ducks had the ball with 2:07 to play at the Beaver 27 yard line.
Three plays later Oregon RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio drove the dagger home with a 20 yard run up the middle to seal the 24-10 win and the 123rd playing of the Civil War.
The win gave the Ducks their third consecutive victory over the Beavers in the Civil War. It also gave the Ducks a ten win season, something they haven’t achieved since 2014.
The series now stands in Oregon’s favor at 66-47-10 and the Ducks 33rd win over the Beavers in Autzen Stadium.
MOST VALUABLE PERFORMANCE
While he didn’t have his best game, quarterback Justin Herbert played solid and led the Ducks to the win. Herbert completed 18 of 30 passes for 174 yards and the single touchdown. Herbert also delivered on key third down receptions to keep drives moving especially late in the contest. Herbert also had key runs out of the pocket to move the chains including one 11 yard run in the fourth quarter to move the chains in OSU territory.
Herbert ends the regular season with 31 touchdown passes completing 258 of 382 for 3,140 yards. Herbert has now thrown 94 career touchdown passes during his four seasons.
POST GAME MEDIA BRIEFING WITH MARIO CRISTOBAL