The Oregon Ducks made their way to Corvallis for this year’s Civil War and left with another year’s worth of bragging rights. In doing so, they ended the regular season on a much-needed high note and snapped a 3 game losing streak on the road. To be fair though, the 45 minute bus ride and the much less-than-packed Reser Stadium, it wasn’t much of a “road game”.
Nevertheless, a road win is a road win and the Ducks will take it.
As any true Oregonian knows, when it comes to the Civil War, all records get thrown out the window. This year however, records stood strong and the Beavers lived up to their (pregame) 2-9 record. Meanwhile, the Ducks, it turns out, had something to prove.
Sometimes a little trash talk goes a long way in the motivation department.
The last time the Ducks visited Reser Stadium, Mario Cristobal was nowhere near Oregon but he remembers the headlines that followed that 2016 Civil War. That year, The Beavers beat the Ducks 34-24 on another cold and rainy afternoon in Corvallis. To shield the from the elements, many Oregon players wore raincoats, which became the brunt of much post-game trash talk. I’m sure most of us forgot all about that.
The Ducks didn’t.
“I read so many articles about shiny raincoats and all that other stuff and I’m like what are we talking about here guys?” Cristobal said.
“Shiny raincoats come out and Oregon gives up a 10-point lead and being accused of what a football player wants to never be accused of, of being soft. . .Those things aren’t forgotten so easily.”
This year, the shiny raincoats were replaced by touchdowns. A lot of them.
After sputtering in the run game much of the second half of the season, the Ducks stuck to their run first philosophy and finally found success.
By halftime, Oregon, ala freshman running back, CJ Verdell, had already scored 21 unanswered points. And He wasn’t done. By the end of the night he had logged 5 total touchdowns and 208 total yards. Adding to the ground and pound fun was freshman running back, Travis Dye, who rushed for 2 touchdowns and 199 yards.
“We had the mindset we were going to run the ball 50 times in a row,” Dye said. “It’s just how it was this week. It worked out.”
Clearly. And against the Beavers, a solid run game was about all the Ducks needed. Thankfully.
After throwing just 12 passes in the first half, Oregon Quarterback, Justin Herbert, left the game with an apparent shoulder injury following his second sack of the game. In his absence, Braxton Burmeister stepped in but only attempted 2 passes in the entire second half, a plan Oregon seemed to go with due to the weather.
“With the conditions were what they were, we tried to throw it once or twice, the ball kind of popped out,” Cristobal said. “We said you know what? Why? Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke so we just went with it.”
The 55-15 win means Oregon will close out the regular season with an 8-4 record, one win better than last year’s record and gives the team solid momentum heading into the bowl season. It should also signal to Oregon fans that Cristobal’s process deserves credit and good things are brewing in Eugene.
We feel really good about the direction we’re heading and how fast we’re headed there,” Cristobal said after the game.
“Not to mention the amount of players that we have returning and the recruiting class that’s being put together. . . . We’re always juiced up. We know what the future holds so we’re ready to get after it.”