No. 12 Oregon stuns No. 3 Ohio State in a historic upset victory
The Ducks pull off one of the most spectacular upsets in program history.
by MELANIE JOY A.
Prior to the game, the Ducks were dealt a huge blow when we learned that Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe were both out with injuries.
The Ducks won the toss and chose to defer to the second half, giving the potent Ohio State offense the ball first. The Buckeyes breezed down the field until they reached the 30-yard line, where a couple of drops and good open-field tackles helped Oregon force a turnover on downs.
Oregon got CJ Verdell going early with some runs, and Anthony Brown rushed into Ohio State territory, but the drive stalled when Brown couldn't complete passes in tight windows, and the Ducks punted back to Ohio State inside the OSU five-yard line.
Ohio State upped the tempo and made sure to establish the run early, while Oregon forced them to convert on multiple third downs. Dontae Manning hit C.J. Stroud out of bounds late and added 15 yards, while C.J. Stroud had multiple chances to run and did so to pick up a big first on 3rd and 5. However, the Ducks defense held strong after that, forcing a punt that Ohio State recovered at the 1-yard line thanks to a big hit by Verone McKinley.
Early on, Oregon was clearly forcing the action in the run game and using their running backs as receivers out of the backfield as their primary offensive threats. Travis Dye and CJ Verdell both helped the Ducks get out of their own end zone and into the middle of the field. The Buckeyes then lost Verdell out of the backfield on 3rd and 11, and the Ducks took advantage, gaining 20 yards to get into Ohio State territory. As the first quarter came to a close, the game remained scoreless.
Now into the second quarter, Brown ran on a designed QB run to the Ohio State 14-yard line. Then on the next play, CJ Verdell ran it in to give the Ducks a 7-0 lead with 14:27 left in the second quarter.
Ohio State fumbled on the ensuing kickoff but got it back at the OSU 36-yard line. But the Ducks defense held strong, forcing a quick three and out for Ohio State, including a big hit on Stroud by Noah Sewell, and a Verone McKinley pass breakup on 3rd down on a pass that would have given OSU the first down. A great punt by the Buckeyes gave the ball back to Oregon on their own 1-yard line again.
Brown took a designed QB run to the Ohio State 14-yard line in the second quarter. CJ Verdell then ran it in on the next play to give the Ducks a 7-0 lead with 14:27 left in the second quarter.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Ohio State, but it was recovered at the OSU 36-yard line. But the Ducks defense held strong, forcing Ohio State to settle for a three-and-out, including a big hit on Stroud by Noah Sewell and a Verone McKinley pass breakup on third down on a pass that would have given OSU the first down. The ball was returned to Oregon on their own 1-yard line after a great punt by the Buckeyes.
Cam McCormick came up with a huge 3rd down catch and conversion with a Buckeye defender bouncing off of him as Oregon faced a 3rd and long situation. But it came at a cost because he was in pain and couldn't put any weight on his right foot.
Following that, the Oregon drive came to a halt, with Oregon punting back to OSU at their own 30-yard line.
Ohio State responded with their best drive of the game, with multiple receptions by Jaxson Smith-Njigba and a touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson, tying the game at 7. Oregon responded with another impressive drive by Brown, which led to a 4th down where CJ Verdell ran along the edge of the O-line on a pitch and scored to give Oregon a 14-7 lead that they held until the end of the half.
Oregon had a chance to extend its lead before halftime, but a questionable holding call halted the drive. At halftime, the Ducks led 14-7.
Oregon: The Ducks were better than they appeared in their season opener against Fresno State. Brown made sound decisions; the 5-foot-8, 211-pound Verdell, who has been plagued by injuries the last two seasons, had a stellar day; and the o line controlled the line of scrimmage.
Ohio State: Stroud is skilled at finding his star receivers and making throws, but he is still learning how to make decisions. He could be the next offensive star in a long line for the Buckeyes. However, the defense, particularly the linebackers, requires improvement. This defeat falls squarely on their shoulders.