Eugene, OR – The Oregon Ducks showed out and Willie Taggart was ecstatic that he could bring a victory back to Oregon after a rough loss last season. Oregon defeated Oregon State in a not so civil victory Saturday 69-10.
“It meant the world,” said head coach Taggart, commenting on how the Civil War victory felt in his first season as head coach.
The Civil War been played for 123 years and the fifth most played college rivalry in NCAA Division I. The Oregon Ducks (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) squashed their in-state nemesis, the Oregon State Beavers (1-11, 0-9 Pac-12), with a record breaking Civil War high score of 69 points.
After an upsetting loss of 24-34 to OSU last season, the Ducks craved redemption from 2016’s scoreboard and the trash talk surrounding last year’s “flashy” Nike raincoats. In Oregon’s head coach Willie Taggart own words, “they had on their rain coats because it was raining touchdowns”.
No question quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Royce Freeman were the offensive play makers of the game. With Herbert starting, the Duck’s passing game racked up nearly 300 yards this season compared to a wild low of 80 yards when he was sidelined with a collarbone injury.
The Oregon offense came to play tonight with a grand total of 577 yards as they closed with backups quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and Muhammad Alie.
Burmeister, who took over on offense following Herbert’s absence, finished out his 2017 season with three passing TD’s and one rushing TD.
Setting a new Pac-12 record with 60 rushing touchdowns, running back Freeman made history on Senior Night. In the second quarter, Freeman ran into the end zone and surpassed OSU’s Ken Simonton’s previous record for the most all-time rushing touchdowns.
With an upcoming bowl game in Oregon’s future, Taggart responded to questions regarding plans to play Freeman, “He ain’t talking about a bowl game or whether he play or not, that will be up to Royce and if he decides to play in it, we all will love that and if he decides not to, we will deal with that too”. Long story short, Taggart knows Freeman is a major key to the success of the rushing game this season and it’s clear he hopes to see Freeman take the field in this year’s bowl game.
Holding the OSU offensive squad to a mere 10 points, Oregon’s defense put in work as they secured the line. When asked about how the win felt, it “feels like night and day” said defensive tackle Henry Mondeaux. The Duck defense only allowed the Beavers 98 rushing yards the entire game.
Taggart was proud of how well his defense and special teams played. Not to mention K Aidan Schneider’s kicked several straight between the poles tonight to pass former Oregon RB LaMichael James on the career scoring list.
“We talk all year about playing a complete ball game and they all did what they were supposed to do,” said Taggart.
With a bowl game up next, Oregon has their work cut out for them but as for now, Autzen Stadium is as silent as the Beaver’s bus ride home back to Corvallis.