Corvallis – As Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas ran off the field following Oregon’s 37-20 win over Oregon State he yelled out, “we ain’t done yet.” The Oregon Ducks (12-0, 9-0) are ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings and are headed off to play for the National Championship. As stunned Beaver fans left the stadium, chanting Oregon fans exclaimed “BCS, BCS.”
(PHOTO) Darron Thomas (1) gives the Oregon faithful an "O" signal following Oregon's 37-20 win over Oregon State. (Photo by Chris Wilson)
The game itself was what one would expect of the 114th Civil War. Hard hitting, turnovers and great plays and it were the Ducks that made the fewer mistakes. Oregon racked up 491 yards of total yardage helped out by a great effort from LaMichael James (134 yards, two touchdowns) and Kenjon Barner (133 yards, one touchdown and one receiving score) as the Ducks.
“Being there for him (James), he’s there for me,” said Barner of the running combination with James. “Whenever he gets tired I go in and I do what I can for the team and I know that LaMichael is going to make it happen so I have to come in and try to keep up with him.”
While the Oregon defense played its normal hurry up style, mistakes in the form of two fumbles kept them from storming out in front during the first half. However, the Oregon defense came out strong and set a tone for the game with hard hits. The first big hit was on the very first play of the game when linebacker Casey Matthews leveled Beaver quarterback Ryan Katz as the signal caller was ready to launch a pass. The hit caused the ball to flutter harmlessly to the ground, but Katz was also on the turf, withering in pain.
“I loved Casey (Matthews) hit (Ryan) Katz like that,” said defensive end Terrell Turner. “It set the tone that we meant business.”
Oregon forced the Beavers to punt on the first possession, but Cliff Harris coughed up the ball on the return and it looked like the Beavers were in business at the Oregon 28. Katz came back in the game after one Jacquizz Rodgers carry, Katz (who was able to reenter the game) had his pass tipped and intercepted by Turner. The Ducks offense came on the field and drove the ball from the Oregon 30 to the OS 34 and the the fumble bug struck again. This time it was on an exchange between Darron Thomas and Josh Huff.
Oregon State came up and did a good job,” said Thomas of the game. “They played a physical game.”
The Beavers took the ball back down the field and scored a touchdown on a drive that lasted 15 plays and 62 yards, but OS could not cross the goal line again until the game was safely out of reach for Oregon late in the game.
“They played like the No. 1 team,” said Oregon State cornerback James Dockery of the Ducks. “They won; they are 12-0 and going to a National Championship. It’s just frustrating. I felt every big team we played this year – we played a touch schedule I felt like we were right there. I thank Coach (Mike) Riley for putting that type of schedule together for my senior year. It was fun to be out there.”
Oregon came back and scored a touchdown on Thomas hit Barner culminating a nine-play, 62-yard drive. However Robby Beard’s point after was blocked and the score was 7-6 Oregon State. Beard later kicked a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter following an interception of a Katz pass by Talmadge Jackson III, putting the Ducks up 9-7. Still later in the quarter Katz was picked off again, this time by Michael Clay. Oregon drove the ball 74 yards in seven plays and was finished off with James’ first touchdown of the day, an 8-yard run. Oregon had one more drive before halftime and moved the ball 73 yards on 11 plays but Beard missed a 25-yard attempt and the half ended with Oregon up 16-7.
The good news for Oregon is that they are 16-0 under Chip Kelly when they have a halftime lead.
Oregon scored three touchdowns in the second half while Oregon State was forced to kick two field goals and finally a touchdown reception by Marcus Wheaton with three minutes left in the game and trailing by the final score of 37-20.
The first touchdown of the second half came at the 8:09 mark of the third quarter. The Ducks had gone 79 yards in six plays and the seventh play of the drive, Thomas notched his second scoring toss of the day hitting Drew Davis for a 19-yard score. Following the PAT Oregon was up 23-7. The big play of the drive was a gutsy call by the Oregon coaching staff when on fourth down and on the Oregon 28, snapped the ball directly to Michael Clay in punt formation. Clay rambled 64 yards and even though a personal foul penalty knocked of 15 of those positive yards, the Ducks were in scoring position. Did Kelly have any doubts about making such a gutsy call?
“No,” replied Kelly to the question. “If it hadn’t worked I might have questions about it.”
Oregon State answered with a Justin Kahut 26-yard field goal to make the game 23-10. Kahut tacked on another field goal another OS drive was stalled by the Oregon defense making the score 23-13 after the 22-yard kick. Oregon though launched another long drive of 71 yards at the start of the fourth quarter and when Barner crossed the goal line after a 23-yard run the Ducks went up 30-13 following the PAT. Oregon’s last scoring drive of 43 yards came following an interception of Katz by John Boyett at the Oregon 39. James scored his second TD of the day to top off the drive on a 10-yard run and following the PAT Oregon had a 37-13 advantage. The final scoring was the Wheaton pass and the game ended with Oregon winning 37-20.
Thomas finished the day with a respectable 14-for-24, 145 yard, two-touchdown day passing. Jeffery Maehl was the Ducks’ leading receiver with seven catches for 86 yards. Davis had three grabs for 47 yards and the touchdown.
Ryan Katz was 23-for-40, 224 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Rodgers had 87 yards net rushing on 22 carries and had one touchdown reception.
Defensively Spencer Paysinger and Talamadge Jackson III both had eight tackles (four solos). Jackson also had an interception and return of 52 yards following a Matthews’ tip. Matthews was given credit for five tackles including a sack and an additional tackle for loss. Zac Clark also had two tackles for loss including a sack. Bryson Littlejohn and Clay also had interceptions.
Suaesi Tuimaunei was the game’s leading tackler with11 (six solos) followed by Lance Mitchell’s 10 (seven solos) for the Beavers.
Now it is on to the BCS. Kelly, typical of his style was cool and calm after the game, even though he had been doused with a bucket full of ice water on a chilly day in Corvallis and his reaction to all of this?
“We have a lot of work to do,” said the Oregon headman.
Thomas though was more talkative and expressed appreciation to his teammates, coaches and even the fans.
“I’m just really happy, really happy for everybody,” said the sophomore quarterback. “The offensive line did a bang up job all year. They finished with the same starters that we started with and I think they did a good job. Our defense also came out this year and did a tremendous job. I’m just happy for everybody; happy for the Duck fans, and happy for everybody who supported us.”
- James set the Pac-10 sophomore record for rushing at 1,682 yards.
- James also set a school record of 22 touchdowns with two scores today.
- Thomas moved into second on the school’s single-season list for touchdown passes now at 28.
- Barner’s 133 yards rushing is the second game of over 100 yards this season.
- Turner and Clay’s interceptions were the first of each.
- Maehl now is tied for second in single-season receptions at Oregon wit 68 and ninth in receiving yards at 943. Maehl’s record against OS is 22 catches for 389 yards but this game was the first time in four games he failed to catch a touchdown pass.
- Oregon is now 24-3 in Pac-10 play since the start of the 2008 season.