The Ducks were dealt a massive blow prior to the game when we learned Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe were both out for the game with injuries.
The Ducks won the toss and deferred to the second half, allowing the potent Ohio State offense to get the ball first. The Buckeyes threw the ball down the field with ease until they got to 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, along with Anthony Brown rushing into Ohio State territory, but the drive stalled there as Brown couldn’t complete passes in tight windows and the Ducks punted back to Ohio State inside the OSU five-yard line.
Ohio State really mixed up the tempo and made sure to establish the run early, with Oregon getting them to multiple third downs. C.J. Stroud had multiple chances to run and did to pick up a big first on 3rd and 5, while Dontae Manning hit him out of bounds late and added 15 yards. But after that, the Ducks defense stood tall with a big hit by Verone McKinley to force a punt, which Ohio State downed at the 1-yard line.
Oregon was clearly forcing the action in the run game and using the running backs as receivers out of the backfield as their main offensive threats early. Both Travis Dye and CJ Verdell worked the Ducks out of their own end zone and into the middle of the field. Then on 3rd and 11 the Buckeyes lost Verdell out of the backfield and the Ducks made them pay, gaining 20 yards to get into Ohio State territory. The first quarter came to a close and it was a scoreless game.
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.
Oregon was in a 3rd and long situation and Cam McCormick came up with a huge 3rd down catch and conversion, with a Buckeye defender bouncing off of him. But it came at a cost, as he was then down in pain and didn’t put any weight on his right foot.
The Oregon drive then stalled after that, with Oregon punting back to OSU at their own 30-yard line.
Ohio State came bak with their best drive of the game to this point, with multiple receptions by Jaxson Smith-Njigba and then a touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson tied the game up at 7. Oregon came back with another impressive drive by Brown, leading 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, which they held through the end of the half.
Oregon did have a chance to add on to the lead before halftime, but a very borderline holding call halted the drive. The Ducks went into the locker room at half leading 14-7.
Oregon received the second half kickoff, and after an immediate third down, CJ Verdell broke through the line and got loose for a 77-yard touchdown. The Ducks took the lead 21-7 with 13:38 left to go in the third quarter at the Horseshoe.
Ohio State answered right back quickly, with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jaxson Smith-Njigba. The Buckeyes went 7 plays and 75 yards in only 3:13. At this point the Oregon defense looked like they were starting to break as the insane Ohio State wide receivers were getting wide open.
Oregon marched right back down the field with Brown using his legs while also taking some hits to get the Ducks to the OSU five-yard line. Then on third down, Travis Dye got to the edge and ran it in for the touchdown. With 7:38 to go in the third quarter, Oregon led 28-14.
Halftime Thoughts: No. 9 Oregon Leads California 10-7
The Ducks have a narrow lead at the half, but there were plenty of mistakes in the first half
Ohio State was picking the Ducks apart with zero pressure from Oregon’s defensive line, but Oregon held up, forcing a 4th and 2 at the Oregon 8 and got a turnover on downs. DJ James broke up a pass to give Oregon the ball back up 14 late in the third.
Oregon didn’t get very far before punting the ball right back to Ohio State, with Smith-Njigba making some huge plays for Ohio State when they needed it the most. Ohio State got the touchdown back quickly making it a one score game all over again.
The back and forth affair continued as Oregon went to their workhorse CJ Verdell, who was getting great help from the offensive line all game. Brown capped off the drive by throwing a touchdown pass to Moliki Matavao, to make it 35-21 with 10:10 left in the game.
Chris Olave, who had some insane catches Saturday, made another one for 41 yards to get OSU right back in business. Smith-Njigba caught a 4th and 6 from Stroud for an Ohio State touchdown. Oregon couldn’t keep a drive going, so Ohio State had a chance to tie it with a touchdown, but Verone Mckinley came away with an interception after pressure was applied by Brandon Dorlus.
Oregon got a first down to wind the clock down, but ended up punting the ball back to OSU to pin them deep in their own end with under 30 seconds to go. Stroud was sacked on 2nd down and ran out of time. Oregon completed the upset with a 35-28 win over Ohio State.
Oregon moves to 2-0 on the season, and Ohio State drops to 1-1. Oregon plays next Saturday, at 4:30pm PT vs Stony Brook on the Pac-12 Network.
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