Oregon football: Ducks self-destruct in second half, losing it all vs Oregon State

Oregon State Beavers defensive back Jaydon Grant (3) reacts after sacking Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon State Beavers defensive back Jaydon Grant (3) reacts after sacking Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Oregon football blew it. The Ducks gave away a chance at a Pac-12 title and an outside shot at the College Football Playoff by giving up a huge lead to the Oregon State Beavers.

Despite not having an official ‘name’ as other in-state rivalry games do, the battle between Oregon and Oregon State was anything but Civil. Even the national commentators calling the game referenced the game as the Civil War, which is what it had been called until a few seasons ago.

Oregon had a lot to play for on Saturday afternoon vs Oregon State. A win meant a chance to play for the Pac-12 Championship on Friday vs USC, a game many were expecting to see. The Ducks were cruising with a 31-17 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Beavers saved their best for the last quarter playing impressive on defense and coming back for a 38-34 win.

I always marvel at comebacks, regardless of the team. What is most impressive is that the Oregon State offense made themselves one-dimensional to win. Yes, you read that right. The Beavers ran the ball to the tune of twenty-one fourth-quarter points and an upset win over the Ducks.

Oregon had its chances, but special teams played a significant role in the loss on a muffed punt that saw Oregon State recover near the goal line. Head coach Dan Lanning took a lot of chances with his offense in the final quarter.

The team saw fourth down and short on three occasions and rather than punt the ball, they went for the first down on all three opportunities. The Oregon State defense stepped up three times and denied Oregon forcing three turnovers back to the OSU offense.

For the game, Oregon State threw and completed just six passes. Six. The ground game racked up close to 250 yards on the ground and five touchdowns in the game.

This loss hurt in more ways than one. It wasn’t just a loss to a rival, it ended hope.

With the loss, Oregon needed Washington State to beat Washington for a last-ditch effort to play in the Pac-12 Championship. With tiebreakers, the Ducks had partial control of their destiny. Washington State gave a solid effort keeping it close for nearly three quarters but lost in the end to Washington 51-33 late Saturday night.

Now, Oregon will remain home awaiting their bowl game fate. With the Huskies win, the Utah Utes will head to Las Vegas for a showdown with USC on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship game.

While losses are disappointing, I am still impressed with how Lanning had led his team this season, despite the hiccups along the way. It sucks to lose to your main rivals in Washington and Oregon State, but the team will learn from it and should still end up in a solid bowl game to end his first season at the helm.

I would love to see Bo Nix return for another season for Oregon. He addressed his future after the game and said his decision would be made following the bowl game.

Oregon will have to wait until next week following the series of championship games before they know their bowl game destination.

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