Reaction, Recap, and Analysis For #12 Oregon vs #3 Ohio State


Tyler Krebs, Sports Writer

Last weekend, on September 11th 2021, the #12 Oregon Ducks defeated the #3 team in the nation Ohio State Buckeyes 35-28 in Columbus, Ohio. This game was full of offensive fireworks and crucial plays that caused many momentum shifts between these two great football programs, even though Oregon lead the entire game. Coming in as the #11 team in the nation, the Oregon Ducks were able to escape the previous weekend with a 31-24 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs, but in the process losing their star player Kayvon Thibodeaux to an ankle injury. For Ohio State, in Week 1 as the #4 team in the nation, they were able to come from behind after a down first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers to defeat them 45-31 in Minneapolis. They were able to accomplish this by getting a huge second half from their freshman QB CJ Stroud.

Now, in the 1st Quarter, Ohio State started with the ball and after struggling to gain yardage in the air, RB Miyan Williams ran for a 20 yard gain and first down all the way to the Oregon 34. Unfortunately for them, the Oregon defense was able to force an incompletion from CJ Stroud on a crucial 4th down situation to get the ball back for their offense. The Oregon offense got the ball for the first time and were able to pick some yards up on the ground with 11 yard and 7 yard runs by RB CJ Verdell, before the Buckeyes defense was able to force a punt. Ohio State gets the ball back and gets some huge runs from their freshman QB CJ Stroud and a personal foul penalty on Dontae Manning from Oregon had the Buckeyes set up at the Oregon 33. Then, a false start penalty on Luke Wypler for the Buckeyes had them punting three plays later. The Oregon Ducks then get the ball back and start to get into a rhythm as Anthony Brown completes some great gains to Devon Williams for 19 yards and RB Travis Dye for 10 yards. After that, Anthony Brown hands the ball off to RB CJ Verdell for a 7 yard rushing TD and a PAT by kicker Camden Lewis to put the Ducks up 7-0 heading into the 2nd Quarter.

In the 2nd Quarter, a couple punts by both teams lead Ohio State to receive the ball. Next, CJ Stroud from the OSU 30 yard line, completes a pass to WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a 26 yard gain and a first down at the Oregon 44. After some minimal gains on the ground, Ohio State takes to the air again and CJ Stroud throws a 27 yard completion to WR Garrett Wilson down the right sideline for a TOUCHDOWN and extra point by kicker Noah Ruggles to tie the game up 7-7. After that great drive by the Buckeyes, Anthony Brown and the Oregon Ducks get straight to work with a 30 yard completion to Ohio State’s 23 followed up by a timeout. Following the break, Oregon is able to get a few small runs by CJ Verdell to get into the redzone before a toss to CJ Verdell leads to a 14 yard TOUCHDOWN to make the score Oregon 14 Ohio State 7. The Buckeye’s offense gets back on the field down by 7 with under 5 minutes left to go in the first half and come out with a decent kickoff return before a holding penalty by Julian Fleming leads to the offense having to set up at the 19 yard line. That at first seemed like no challenge for them as a 21 yard run by RB Miyan Williams gets them almost into Oregon territory at the 40 yard line, but to follow that great play they have a set of downs filled with incompletions and a huge 4th and 2 run that was stuffed at the line of scrimmage by the Oregon defense to lead to a turnover on downs. The Ducks get a huge stop until they eventually have to punt it away, Ohio State gets the ball to try to do something before the first half is up, but they aren’t able to gain enough yardage to attempt a field goal. HALFTIME Oregon 14 Ohio State 7.

After, the band played a moving tribute for 9/11 and the commercials finished, the 2nd half is in view as the Ducks receive the football. The Oregon offense runs into a couple problems as plays for hardly any yards lead into a 3rd and 3. Fortunately for Oregon, on 3rd and 3 RB CJ Verdell breaks through the Ohio State defense for a huge 77 yard TOUCHDOWN to put the Ducks up 21-7. The Buckeyes offense then follows that up with a quick and efficient drive of their own with huge passes to WR Chris Olave to set up a golden opportunity to get back in the game at Oregon’s 26. They don’t disappoint, as a perfect pass by Stroud leads to a TD by Jaxon Smith Njigba to move closer to tying up the game, 21-14 Oregon. Anthony Brown and his Ducks receive the ball ready to score, and it sure seems that way as Brown uses his legs to get a quick 1st down. The Ducks then find treasure as a 15 yard run by RB Travis Dye followed up by a facemask by the Ohio State defense has Oregon set up at the 23 yard line in Buckeyes territory. After a couple miscues on the next set of downs, Travis Dye is able to run the ball into the endzone for a TD so the Ducks can go back up by 14 to try and make their lead insurmountable. After many defensive mistakes, the offense for Ohio State really needs to kick their scoring into high gear, but they’ll have to accomplish this in the 4th and final Quarter.

As the 4th Quarter starts, Ohio State is down 28-14 with only 15 minutes left of game time to comeback. The comeback starts to look possible, as a drive filled with goods runs by RB TreVeyon Henderson and a great reception by Garrett Wilson, has Henderson able to run the ball in for a really easy TD at the 2 yard line to cut the lead for Oregon to 7. With their lead down to 7, Oregon needs to make a statement, so the 30 yard pass to Spencer Webb along with another facemask penalty on Ohio State definitely won’t hurt them. This play ended up being the decider for the drive as Oregon was able to get a huge pass from QB Anthony Brown to TE Moliki Matavao to punch it in for another TOUCHDOWN to once again extend the lead to 14, Oregon 35 Ohio State 21. With the win in doubt, the Buckeyes offense has to trod back onto the field with the game in their hands. Ohio State then gets a big break with a huge 41 yard completion to Chris Olave all the way down to the Ducks 34! After that huge play, the Buckeyes start to struggle to get somewhere with CJ Stroud getting harassed by the Oregon D lead by Noah Sewell, until he’s able to get his biggest play of the game with a 15 yard completion to WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a TD to make the deficit once again 7. Both teams then have lackluster drives as they usually either go three and out or get one first down and then have to punt it away. Anyway, Ohio State after an Oregon punt have the ball at their own 28, which means they still have a long way to go before they can tie up the game. CJ Stroud is able to complete some good passes to get the ball down to their own 45 yard line, but Bradyn Swinson for Oregon is able to take CJ Stroud down for a sack and a loss of 8 yards, making this set of downs crucial for the offense. An incompletion intended for Garrett Wilson has Ohio State in a 3rd and 18 situation, and what happened next might be one of the most crazy and unbelievable things to will happen this season. CJ Stroud looks to pass and finds an open man and tries to get the ball to him, but his pass is way to high for him and defender Verone McKinley is right there to catch the overthrown ball and stay inbounds to complete the game winning interception! At this point, Oregon is able to waste most of the remaining clock, so when the Buckeyes get the ball back they aren’t able to do anything with it. This leads to the #12 Oregon Ducks getting huge upset on #3 Ohio State, beating them 35-28 with help from their defense stepping up even when missing two of their biggest players that are a part of that unit and having a marvelous run game lead by CJ Verdell and Travis Dye.

As a result of this, Oregon was able to rise up in the rankings from the #12 spot to the #4 team in the country. Ohio State however because of their very inconsistent defense and inability to finish out drives at certain points during the game, fall from the #3 spot to the #9 spot in the country. Some upcoming games for Oregon are many easier games, starting with Stony Brook on Saturday and playing many unranked Pac-12 teams like Washington, Arizona, Stanford, and a few others. Their only big remaining game left on their schedule is currently ranked #13 UCLA on October 23rd in Pasadena, California, but if they are able to win out they have a pretty good chance to make the College Football Playoffs. Ohio State on their remaining schedule has 0-2 Tulsa on Saturday and a few unranked Big-10 teams like Rutgers, Nebraska, and Purdue. Some of their tougher remaining games are against as of the date of this article #10 Penn State in Columbus, which could be challenging. They also have Michigan State on November 20th, who are currently 2-0 and look really good with QB Payton Thorne under center and currently #25 ranked Michigan on November 27th in Ann Arbor, who at the moment have been able to win because of their stout defense and great running game. To wrap this up, both teams played a fantastic game and look like potential contenders to make a run at the College Football Playoffs.