CORVALLIS, Ore., -- The Oregon Ducks (11-1, 8-1) felt they needed to get back to normal. Last week, the Oregon’s perfect season went down the drain but on Saturday in the 116th Civil War against Oregon State (8-3, 6-3) things got back to normal as Oregon exploded in the third quarter and beat OS, 48-24 in front of 47,249 the largest crowd ever at Reser Stadium.
(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner (24) runs the ball in the first quarter against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
“This has a huge meaning for us,” said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. “For some reason the fans don’t seem like they like us much when we up here (in Corvallis), but that’s okay. I think our guys do a great job of blocking that out and playing against a real good team. That was a good defense we were able to run the football on and (we were) be able to keep Cooks and Wheaton at bay a little bit.”
Oregon relied on a strong running game by senior Kenjon Barner who rushed for 198 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns. De'Anthony Thomas, demonstrated he is capable to being the every down back by racking up 122 yard on 17 carries and three TDs. Redshirt Freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota dazzled the fans in attendance with two long runs, one for 42 yards and touchdown, the first score of the day for the Ducks and a second for 33 yards in the second quarter. Overall Mariota has 85 yards on 8 carries and the touchdown. For the game, Oregon rushed for 468 yards of the total offense of 570 yards.
“I felt like I did pretty well,” said Thomas in the post-game interviews. “I was just trying to get the momentum going for our team and just trying to make plays, while just trying to have fun.”
Mariota was also 17-of-24 for 140 yards in passing with one touchdown to B.J. Kelley.
“It was a fun atmosphere,” observed Mariota of the game. “The fans can be a little rough but the guys handled it and it is just one of those atmospheres where you want to play (in).”
Junior Josh Huff was the leading receiver for the Ducks with five catches for 68 yards. Senior Will Murphy also had five catches for 35 yards.
Oregon State was led in rushing by Storm Woods’ 70 yards on 16 carries and two scores. Terron Ward was the only other Beaver that rushed for double figure yardage as he picked up 13 on six carries.
Beaver signal caller Sean Mannion had 311 yards and TD on 31-of-49 and a TD but also gave up four interceptions.
OS’s Marcus Wheaton was the leading receiver for the game with 98 yards on seven receptions. Woods had six grabs for 42 yards and Brandin Cooks pulled down five passes for 74 yards. Micah Hatfield had the sole TD reception.
Turnovers though, including the four interceptions were the Beavers’ downfall. Mannion gave up a pick in the second quarter to Oregon’s Brian Jackson. At halftime, the game was still in doubt, 20-10 in favor of Oregon.
Oregon was able to score In the third quarter, the Ducks scored giving them a 27-17 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Oregon kicker squib kicked the ball and OS’s Devon Kell fielded the ball and returned it 10 yards but fumbled and Oregon’s Keanon Lowe pounced on it at the OS 27. Four plays later Thomas crossed the goal line and with the PAT, Oregon led 34-17.
“We weren't kicking the ball real well deep and it was hurting our coverage so we decided we’d knock it down,” admitted Kelly on why the Ducks squib kicked the ball. “We had done it early in the year; probably should have done it a couple more times, but it certainly worked for us in the second half.”
The two teams traded possession and when Oregon punter Jackson Rice punted the ball to Wheaton, but he fumbled and Lowe recovered his second fumble of the game. While no points were lost as a result of the second fumble, when OS regained possession of the ball after a Rice punt, Mannion gave up an interception to Ifo Ekere-Olomu, and on Oregon’s possession, the Ducks scored to put the game out of reach, 41-17 following the PAT.
On the very next possession, Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso picked off Marrion at the OS 23. Four plays later, Mariota hit Kelley. Following the PAT Oregon increase its lead to 48-17. For the game, OS had a total of four interceptions and two lost fumbles while Oregon did not turn the ball over.
“You can’t win with turnovers, especially with a really good team on the other side of the ball,” admitted OS Head Coach Mike Riley. “We had turnovers in the kicking game and we had turnovers on the offense. I don’t think that we played great defense, but we put our defense on the field way too much. You have to score some points because they (Oregon) are going to. We had a chance to make it that kind of game, but we didn’t.”
Defensively, Oregon was led in tackling by Jackson, with 10 tackles (five solos). Jackson also had the second quarter interception. Michael Clay also had five unassisted tackles and five assisted tackles. Alonso had the pick plus a tackle for loss. Defensive tackle Taylor Hart had two TFLs including a sack and a forced fumble. Erick Dargan was the fourth Duck to record an interception.
Oregon’s now off until the bowl season. With Stanford’s 35-17 win over UCLA tonight, Oregon has been unseated as the Pac-12 North winner and will not compete for the conference championship
Official Box Score