Revenge and more for Ducks
EUGENE — Oregon reached seven wins in 2017 by routing its rival Oregon State, which turned out to be one of the country's worst teams, 69-10 Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks found extra motivation because OSU interim coach Cory Hall said he knew Oregon had been beaten last year when players donned raincoats in the Corvallis rain.
At the end of Saturday's massacre, the Ducks donned raincoats.
Already a huge favorite, the Ducks hardly needed any extra motivation in a game where Royce Freeman, Tyrell Crosby and fellow seniors played for the final time on home turf.
The Ducks scored on their first seven possessions and ripped off 35 second-quarter points en route to scoring a Civil War-record 69 points. It topped the 65 the Ducks scored in the 2008 Civil War game.
Oregon (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) had 577 yards offense in easily dispatching of the lowly Beavers (1-11, 0-9).
Freeman, who may or may not play in a bowl game, as he prepares to be an NFL player, gained 122 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Another senior, Kani Benoit, added 122 yards rushing and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Sophomore Justin Herbert, in his second game back after missing 5 1/2 games with a broken collarbone, went 13 of 23 for 251 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a TD.
Sophomore Dillon Mitchell had two touchdown grabs among his six catches for 119 yards.
"We played really well on both sides of the ball," Herbert said. "It makes our job easier when the defense is holding them to 10 points. We complemented each other."
The Ducks now await a bowl invitation — could it be the Cactus Bowl, Dec. 26 in Phoenix? It'd likely be against the Big 12 Conference's No. 6 team.
And, now the Ducks get to gloat for the next 12 months about beating their rival, soundly, which quieted any trash talk coming from Corvallis.
"I enjoyed it a lot," Oregon coach Willie Taggart said. "I really enjoyed it for our seniors. It was really important to me and the rest of the team to go out and play well for those guys."
The Ducks were reminded of Hall's quote, which was posted in the UO weight room.
"We had some extra incentive," Taggart said. "The trash-talking during the week got guys motivated and ticked off. ... I didn't want to be a coach to go into the offseason with a loss to the school up north."
Said sophomore linebacker Troy Dye: "Shout out to their head coach for giving us the energy and motivation."
It was a small win for Oregon State to stop the Ducks from reaching the end zone on their first drive. Aidan Schneider booted a 31-yard field goal.
The Ducks had good field position early and tacked on touchdowns by Freeman (2-yard run) and Mitchell (29-yard reception) to lead 17-0 in the first quarter. Mitchell's catch was a dynamic one, as he kept one foot inbounds in the back of the end zone.
The Beavers' only touchdown came late in the first quarter, when Timmy Hernandez made a nice catch over UO defensive back Thomas Graham for a 43-yard TD reception from Darell Garretson.
The Ducks exploded for five second-quarter touchdowns: Jacob Breeland, 12-yard catch from Herbert; Freeman, 13-yard run; Jaylon Redd, 19-yard run; Herbert, 6-yard run; Mitchell, 53-yard reception from Herbert.
With a 52-7 halftime lead, the Ducks registered the most first-half points scored by a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season.
Adding insult: Taggart even iced OSU kicker Jordan Choukair with a timeout just before halftime, and Choukair missed a field-goal attempt.
Schneider kicked a second field goal, linebacker Justin Hollins corraled a tipped pass for an 11-yard TD interception return and, with the score 62-10, Kani Benoit finished the scoring and helped the Ducks set the Civil War scoring record with a 47-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
"We were able to impose our will on them," said offensive tackle Crosby.
"It did feel like we were on top of our game and they couldn't stop us," Mitchell said.
The Oregon defense, which held down Arizona QB Khalil Tate in its previous game, limited OSU to 211 yards. The Beavers rushed for 98 yards on 36 carries (Ryan Nall had 14 carries for 41 yards), and Garretson went 11 of 20 for 112 yards with two interceptions before exiting after taking a hard hit called a targeting penalty on backup UO defensive lineman Elijah George (who was ejected) with the score 62-7.
"We played a full 60-minute game," UO defensive back Ugo Amadi said.
"We did what we expected to do — shut them down," Dye added.
"Did I see this coming? Absolutely not," Hall said. "I want to applaud the effort of Oregon and the fight in our players; why it got out of hand, your guess is as good as mine. It was Oregon, you know Oregon did what Oregon came to do, and they were successful at it. They are a good football team."
The Ducks, who started the season by scoring 77 points against FCS Southern Utah, finished the regular season with a complete game on both sides of the ball.
"They did what they're supposed to do," Taggart said. "We talked all year about playing a complete ballgame."
The Ducks might have a win or two more, had Herbert not been out for 5 1/2 games. While backup QB Braxton Burmeister helped the Ducks beat Cal and Utah, the Ducks were outscored 151-34 in the four losses during the Herbert-less stretch.
Herbert threw great passes on Mitchell's two touchdowns, showing little ill effects from his absence.
"He's our franchise quarterback," Taggart said.
As for Mitchell, "Dillon's been a great team player," the coach said. "Getting Justin back allowed Dillon to do what he does best. He and I talked, that he was due for one of these games."
Said Mitchell: "Felt great just to be out there making plays for my team."
But the night belonged to Freeman and the other seniors.
"Right now, it's more joy that we beat the Beavers," Freeman said.
It was 12 months ago that the Beavers won 34-24 in Corvallis, making Oregon 4-8 for 2016 under then-coach Mark Helfrich.
"Feels like night and day," Ducks senior defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux said.
OREGON STATE 7 0 3 0 — 10
OREGON 17 35 10 7 — 69
OREGON — Aidan Schneider 31 FG, 11:26
OREGON — Royce Freeman 2 run (Schneider kick), 6:50
OREGON — Dillon Mitchell 29 pass from Justin Herbert (Schneider kick), 3:28
OREGON STATE — Timmy Hernandez 43 pass from Darell Garretson (Jordan Choukair kick), 0:51
OREGON — Jacob Breeland 12 pass from Herbert (Schneider kick), 14:56
OREGON — Freeman 13 run (Schneider kick), 10:49
OREGON — Jaylon Redd 19 run (Schneider kick), 8:49
OREGON — Herbert 6 run (Schneider kick), 7:43
OREGON — Mitchell 53 pass from Herbert (Schneider kick), 2:13
OREGON — Schneider 25 FG, 7:21
OREGON — Justin Hollins 11 interception return (Schneider kick), 6:22
OREGON STATE — Jordan Choukair 24 FG, 3:31
OREGON — Kani Benoit 47 run (Schneider kick)
Att. — 57,475