Oregon vs. Oregon State - First Half Recap

Eugene -- The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers came together for the 111th Civil War with the winner earning state bragging rights and a great deal of momentum going into the bowl season. The Ducks just two weeks ago were #2 in the country, Dennis Dixon was clearly the Heisman front-runner, and national title hopes were in reach. The Ducks now look to salvage their season with a victory.


After Oregon elected to go on defense to start the game, the Oregon State offense took to the field looking to make a statement in the 111th Civil War bout. The Beavers came right out of the gates with some explosion plays and needed just two plays to get on the scoreboard. Matt Sieverson took a handoff from Lyle Moevao and scampered 38-yards for a touchdown.

Oregon 0, OSU 7

Since Dennis Dixon's season ending injury, the Oregon Ducks have been looking for someone, anyone, to provide a spark. After last Saturday's dismal performance on the road at UCLA with Oregon being shutout for the first time since 1985, special teams looked to make the big play to get the team fired up and regain confidence for a team in the national championship hunt just a few short games ago. After Patrick Chung controlled the opening kickoff, a lateral reverse to Derrick Jones had him speeding all the way down the sideline for a huge return deep into OSU territory. The play, however, was called back because of a holding penalty. The offense took the field with Jonathan Stewart clearly the focal point of an offense hampered by injuries at the quarterback position. Quarterback Cody Kempt went 0 for 3 on the first series, stalling the drive and giving the ball right back to the Beavers.

Oregon State's ensuing series saw the Beavers pounding the ball on the ground with Matt Sieverson and driving down past midfield. The Oregon defense came up huge with a turnover when Matthew Harper laid a monstrous lick on Beaver quarterback Lyle Moevao, giving the ball back to Oregon with momentum back on the Duck's side.

Stewart and the Oregon offense marched back onto the field after the turnover, in desperate need of some consistency from young redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Kempt. The drive saw Jonathan Stewart become Oregon's all-time single season rushing leader, surpassing Saladin McCullough's previous mark of 1,343 yards. Once again, the Ducks couldn't convert on third down and were forced to punt, pinning Oregon State deep at their own 3-yard line.

The Beaver offense wasn't able to get on track and muster anything against a stifling Oregon defense, resulting in a quick three-and-out. The offense took the field after Alexis Serna's shanked punt put the Ducks at the OSU 34-yard line. On a quarterback keeper, Duck fans witnessed a scary moment when Cody Kempt went down after a loud collision. As if the quarterback position wasn't thin enough already, Kempt's apparent injury put the offense back on the shoulders of fellow freshman Justin Roper. Roper's first play proved huge for the Ducks as he connected with Jeff Maehl on a 31-yard touchdown pass.

Oregon 7, OSU 7

A personal foul penalty aided the Beaver offense as they followed the Oregon scoring drive with one of their own. Clinton Polk was able to reach paydirt on a 1-yard scamper, putting the Beavers right back in the lead.

Oregon 7, OSU 14

The first quarter ended with Justin Roper falling on a bobbled snap.


The start of the second quarter was just as bad as the start of the first period. Roper's pass to Ed Dickson went right through his hands and seemingly hung in the air for an eternity until it fell into the grasp of OSU linebacker Derrick Doggett. Doggett returned the interception 28 yards for another Beaver touchdown.

Oregon 7, OSU 21

The ensuing drive for Oregon was just as unsuccessful. Oregon's lack of confidence in their young quarterbacks was evident when Stewart took the ball on a 3rd-and-12. The Ducks were forced to punt with momentum clearly back on the side of the Beavers. Oregon State looked to capitalize on the opportunity, moving the ball aggressively down the field as running back Matt Sieverson continued to grind out large chunks of yardage on the ground. Alexis Serna was called on to get the Beavers on the scoreboard again, but failed to connect on a 33-yard field goal as his kick was wide right.

The next two series for each team were highly ineffective, three of which stalled for three-and-outs.

Oregon was finally able to mount another successful drive late in the second quarter. The series was fueled by a bone-jarring hit from OSU FS Al Afalava on Jeff Maehl. Roper's pass over the middle was snagged by Maehl for a 14-yard catch but the hit was deemed illegal by the officials, giving the Ducks an additional 15 yards. A backwards lateral pass to Ed Dickson on the next play garnered the offense another first down. Stewart continued to pound away on the ground, despite a Beaver defense which was clearly keying on him. The drive came down to 4th and 2 from the 3-yard line, with the opportunity an Oregon touchdown could make it a one possession game once again. Off of a fake handoff to Jonathan Stewart, Justin Roper rolled to his left and fired to an open Garren Strong in the endzone for his second career touchdown reception.

Oregon 14, OSU 21

The defense took this momentum and ran with it, literally. Will Tukuafu stripped QB Lyle Moevao on a designed quarterback keeper and the ball bounced end over end into the soft hands of Jairus Byrd. Byrd scooped it up and ran untouched into the endzone for a 33-yard fumble return for a touchdown, thanks in large part to a big block from Kwame Agyeman.

Oregon 21, OSU 21

At the end of the first half, Oregon had clearly regained the momentum and gathered back a swagger that will be much needed if they intend to come away with a win today. Jonathan Stewart finished the first half as the leading rusher for the Ducks with 20 carries for 100 yards. Justin Roper was the Ducks leading passer going a modest 4-7 for 52 yards with 2 TD's and an interception. Before his injury, Kempt was 0-3 for zero yards. Jeff Maehl had several flashes of brilliance in the first half with 2 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. After garnering player of the game honors against UCLA for his punting efforts, Josh Syria continued to put up huge numbers in the first half with 5 punts for 206 yards.

The OSU Beavers had the advantage at the half with 37 total plays for 244 yards to Oregon's 37 plays and 163 yards. The Duck defense recovered two fumbles which proved key in keeping Oregon within striking distance of the Beavers in the first half.

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