If you were like me and woke up to some bad news about the statuses of Justin Flowe and Kayvon Thibodeaux, you probably assumed it was going to be a long day for Oregon football.
That wasn’t quite the case as Oregon went into the locker room at halftime with a lead, shocking just about everyone outside of Eugene — and even some in Eugene.
CJ Verdell kicked off the second half with a huge 77-yard touchdown run on a third down in the Ducks’ first drive, putting Ohio State on the ropes with a 21-7 lead. The Buckeyes would answer right back with a touchdown pass of their own. It didn’t take long for the Ducks to make it a 14-point game again, however.
The game shifted between 7-14 points constantly throughout the second half before Verone McKinley picked off a big pass late to ice the game.
What did we learn from this massive upset by Oregon?
3. Defense played a gutsy game without Flowe, Thibodeaux
Did the Ducks’ defense play its best game? Absolutely not. Although they did lead to some Ryan Day era lows in the first half, CJ Stroud was able to sit back and pick apart the defense all afternoon long which led to his huge day through the air.
But you have to realize just how impressive this performance against an explosive offense on the road truly is without two of the best players, including the No. 1 player in college football.
No Justin Flowe who was Oregon’s best defender a week ago and no Kayvon Thibodeaux who is considered college football’s best player and top NFL draft prospect seemed like it was going to lead to an ugly loss in Columbus, but the defense stepped up and held Ohio State to no first-quarter points and just seven in the first half.
Verone McKinley made the biggest play of the game after the secondary got worked all afternoon long (lack of pressure killed them) and that capped off a gutsy performance.