more season for the Ducks

The Oregon State Beavers completely dominated the Oregon Ducks in the 108th Civil War on Saturday by winning 50-21. The game was relatively even for the first half, but the lack of playmakers, some coaching mistakes and failing to stay competitive resulted in Oregon's run for 11 straight winning season coming to a stop with a resounding thud. Oregon, 5-6, 4-4 in the Pac-10, suffered its first losing season since 1993.

Oregon's Sam Hughes, left, hugs teammate Ryan Gilliam during the final minute of their game against Oregon State, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2004, in Corvallis, Ore. Oregon State defeated Oregon 50-21. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"This was a very frustrating season," said Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti.

"We didn't meet any goals and that was very disappointing."

The blowout seemed a likely end to a season that had so much promise yet failed to realize the potential of a group of talented players. The Oregon coaching staff will now look at several areas including developing playmakers and creating a competitive attitude among the team's athletes. Bellotti indicated that the first order of business following Thanksgiving is to hit the recruiting trail and find student athletes who will fit into Oregon's program. Bellotti also indicated he would make an evaluation of himself and his coaching staff as he does every year.

Oregon State's Derek Anderson was sensational throwing for 351 yards on 24-for-41 effort, four touchdowns and one interception. Anderson's favorite target, Mike Hass, the former walk-on from Portland's Jesuit High School, had nine catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Marcel Love caught six balls for 72 yards and one score and tight end Joe Newton had five catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. The Beavers were helped out by the fact they worked many of their scoring drives on a short field, or starting on the Oregon side of the 50-yard line.

OSU scored first after starting off in excellent field position and drove to the Oregon 10. OSU's Alexis Serna kicked his first field goal of the day to put the Beavers up 3-0. Oregon responded with a 71-yard drive and took the lead when Kellen Clemens found tight end Tim Day for a 4-yard pass. After the point after, the Ducks were up 7-3.

Clemens, who threw for 126 yards on 13-for-29 and three interceptions, gave up his first interception in the first quarter and the Beavers capitalized on the field position. Anderson hooked up with Hass for their first scoring combination of 28 yards. The first quarter ended with the Beavers leading 10-7 but the game appeared competitive.

The second quarter though was nearly all OSU. Serna kicked his second field goal of 19 yards on a drive of 34 yards. Love scored his touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Anderson and that drive was on a short field of 29 yards. The Ducks did get a touchdown on a pass from Clemens to Demetrius Williams for 12 yards on a long drive of 72 yards. The Beavers had their first long drive also for 72 yards and finished it off just before the clock expired in the second quarter with Anderson plunging into pay dirt from the Oregon 1. When the Beavers ran into the locker room at half time, they led 27-14.

Oregon gave the Duck faithful something to be hopeful for when Day caught his second scoring pass of 2 yards from Clemens. Trailing 27-21, the game might have been one for the ages, but no so. Oregon State scored two more touchdowns (Anderson-to-Newton for 16 yards and Anderson-to-Hass for 30 yards.) Serna kicked three more field goals and as the mass of Oregon State student rushed on the field to celebrate the victory, the clock read the final score of 50-21.

"I think Anderson and Hass played exceptional football today," commented Bellotti. "They are two of the more quality players in college football."

Oregon State ended up with 455 yards of total offense and had a 32-to-27 minute advantage in time of possession. The penalty flags were flying against the two teams that are at the bottom of the Pac-10 list in that category. Oregon had 13 calls for minus 105 yards and the Beavers were flagged 12 times for 122 yards. Emotionally though, one team was standing taller and feeling better and that team was not wearing the road white uniforms and green helmets.

"I don't know what to say. I really don't," said OSU headman Mike Riley after the game. "I'm really excited, and I'm really proud of our football team. We put it all together and played a great game. It's all good right now."

The Oregon defense did manage to sack Anderson four times, but that fact did not phase the senior from Scappose, Oregon.

"He's taken so much hard press from people, he showed tonight how good he really was," said Hass of Anderson. "In his last game at Reser, I can't say enough about the guy."

The one bright spot for the Ducks was running back Terrence Whitehead. The 1,000-yard rusher had another 100-yard game finishing the season on a 110-yard effort on 18 carries.

Clemens for the second straight week was rushed and made some critical mistakes. Some of the problem was due to an aggressive pass rush from the OSU defensive line, particularly Bill Swancutt, who ended up with three sacks.

"I didn't do as good of a job today as in past weeks setting up my receivers," said Clemens of his effort.

"I felt pressure a little bit (for the OSU defense)."

As he leaned back and answered questions, Bellotti was reflective and willing to look in the mirror first in evaluating what improvements might be needed in next year's team. Bellotti indicated that he makes coaching evaluations every year and this would be no different. Would that mean he would be willing to make changes? He thought that making any drastic decisions immediately after the game would not be prudent and he would take some time to consider the season. He also mentioned that he and the staff would have more time recruiting and looking for playmakers to fill the roster -- and that would be a priority.

The game was a disappointing end to a very peculiarly season. The football year started off tragically with the death of Terrance Kelly and for whatever reason the chemistry of players never quite jelled as the season progressed. The Ducks did not have a bye week to allow healing and actually started the season a week late. Now, with the end of their season they will have a winter to heal, reevaluate and regroup in hopes of starting a new string of winning seasons and decide if making changes will help in achieving that goal.

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