Jakob Jones, OMN Photographer
With a packed house of 56,408 people in historic Autzen Stadium, Beaver and Duck fans alike joined in cheering on their teams in Oregon’s most anticipated rivalry game.
The 125th rivalry game between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon took place in Eugene, Oregon, where the Beavers fell to the Ducks 38-29.
With the Beavers spending the previous two weeks on their home field, defeating the Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona State Sun Devils, traveling to Eugene was surely an adjustment.
Going into the game, the Beavers were predicted to lose by 7 to the favored No. 11 ranked Ducks. Though the team lost by 9, the game was still hard fought and competitive on both sides. The Beavers came into the game with some confidence after last years rivalry match win over the Ducks. However, in the last six meetings between the two teams, the Ducks have won four of them.
The Beavers won the coin toss going into the first quarter and chose to defer the opening kick. Immediately it was apparent that the Duck offensive was strong and the Beaver defense was flustered. Just four minutes into the first quarter, University of Oregon junior wide receiver Travis Dye scored the first touchdown with a 20 yard run, making it 7-0 right off the bat.
With a rough first drive from the Beavers, the Ducks forced them to punt. On the Ducks second drive, sophomore wide receiver Devon Williams caught a 50-yard touchdown pass with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Beavers however, did not go scoreless in the first quarter, they were able to barrel down field just before the end of the first quarter and complete a 38-yard field goal kick by sophomore place kicker Everett Hayes. The Ducks ending the first quarter leading by a score of 14-3.
The beginning of the second quarter started off fairly slow. It was not until the seven minute mark that the Ducks were able to add three more points to the board from a 36-yard field goal kick making the score 17-3.
The score would remain 17-3 until the last 35 seconds of the first quarter. The Ducks were able to squeeze one more touchdown in before half time by a 10-yard run from senior quarterback Anthony Brown. Going into halftime the score was 24-3 with the Beavers trailing.
It was apparent that after halftime, something changed for the Beavers. The energy was renewed and they were ready for the second half. The third quarter opened with a few big runs from junior running back B.J. Baylor. This put the Beavers in scoring position and that they did. Just four minutes into the third quarter, sophomore tight-end Luke Musgrave caught a four yard touchdown pass. The Beavers were unsuccessful in their first of four 2-point conversions, making the score 24-9. The score would remain for the rest of the third quarter.
The third quarter did have some exciting moments for the Beavers. After coming up big with a fumble recovery, the fumble call was reversed after being reviewed putting some strain on the little momentum they had.
Opening up the third quarter, the crowd was on their feet, the stadium was loud, and the energy could be felt. At the 12 minute mark of the fourth quarter the Ducks would quickly go 85 yards in 10 plays securing themselves another touchdown making the score 30-9.
Just two minutes later however, the Beavers would strike back. The Beavers went 75 yards in four plays and Baylor was able to run it in for a four yard touchdown. The Beavers were again unsuccessful in their 2-point conversion attempt, leaving the score at 31-15.
After the touchdown from Baylor the Beavers went to kickoff and switched it up last second to an onside kick. The Beavers were able to recover the onside kick which gave them a sense of confidence and momentum.
After the onside kick recover the Beavers went on to score yet again going 48-yards in six plays. Senior wide receiver Trevon Bradford would earn the touchdown catching a 15 yard pass from sophomore quarterback Chance Nolan. The Beavers again went for a 2 point conversion and were unsuccessful. With 8:28 left in the fourth quarter, the score was 31-21.
The Ducks did not let the Beavers keep their momentum for long. The Ducks went 75 yards in nine plays to secure another touchdown making the score 38-21.
Though the effort from the Beavers was there, and they scored in the last minutes of the fourth quarter and were finally successful in their last 2-point conversion attempt, it was just too little too late. The Ducks would wrap up the 125th rivalry game over the Beavers by a score of 38-29.
“Our guys did continue to battle [through the second half] but did not play well enough to beat a good football team,” said Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith.
The Beavers went for four, 2-point conversions and were only successful on one. They lost as many as six points and as little as three.
This strategy for the Beavers played out under the assumption that if you play a game and score traditionally with field goal attempts, the game will end up tied. Coach Smith wanted to convert on some of the extra point opportunities for some extra cushion. Head Coach Jonathan Smith however, does not regret his decision in doing so.
“Not totally second guessing it, no,” said Smith.
In a look back of the season the Beavers have had one for the history books. Going undefeated at home for the first time since 2000 and becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2013, the Beavers will find out what bowl game they are to play in on Dec. 5.