EUGENE - Mike Riley knew his Oregon State football team would have to play as well as it could on Saturday to have a chance at ending a three-game losing streak to Oregon in the Civil War.
The Beavers performed nowhere close to that level.
In fact, if it wasn't for padding the stats in the fourth quarter, the Beavers may have had less than 200 yards of total offense.
In the end, the ninth-ranked Ducks were too good on defense in a 49-21 win before a crowd of 59,802 in Autzen Stadium.
The Beavers, who finish the season 3-9 overall and 3-6 in the Pac-12 Conference, started about as poorly as could be.
Terron Ward was called for a personal foul and quarterback Sean Mannion was intercepted on the opening possession, punter Johnny Hekker had a 10-yard punt on the second and Mannion threw his second pick on OSU's third series.
Still, the Beavers were able to keep the game close thanks to a solid defensive effort that forced the Ducks to go for it four times on fourth down. OSU stopped them on all four and trailed just 7-0.
"We definitely felt we had some chances," senior H-Back Joe Halahuni said. "Offensively we didn't execute the way we need to or wanted to and that put a hamper on the beginning of the game. We didn't execute and we needed to."
Even with the failed execution on offense, you still thought the Beavers may have a chance, much like they did last year before Oregon was able to pull away in the second half.
It got even more interesting when Mannion connected with Jovan Stevenson for a 58-yard TD that knotted the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
But that was the last highlight for OSU until the final quarter when the game was well in hand for the Ducks.
Oregon scored 35 consecutive points and stymied any and all OSU attempts to simply score.
"We definitely didn't come out the way we wanted to," Halahuni said. "We struggled early offensively, (but) the defense played pretty good in the first half. It wasn't our day I guess."
The Ducks were able to suffocate the Beavers' offense, limiting OSU to just 178 yards on 47 offensive plays through the first three quarters as the Beavers trailed 35-7.
OSU gained 137 yards on 18 plays in the fourth quarter and scored two touchdowns.
But it all goes back to the slow start.
"That was a critical part of the game," Riley said. "I thought we made a lot of good plays defensively and hung in there for a long time. But with no response from us offensively ... it really hurt us to set that game into a competitive mode."
The Beavers had to deal with bad news even before the game started as senior receiver James Rodgers was unable to play after suffering an ankle injury in last Saturday's win over Washington. Riley decided Rodgers wasn't healthy enough to give it a go.
"It's obviously tough, but also (with) it being his last game, it wouldn't have been any good putting him at risk," Riley said. "I didn't think it was wise to do that."
OSU, which struggled running the ball all season, finished with 16 net yards on 21 attempts on Saturday. Six of those were sacks that led to a loss of 41 yards.
Mannion just missed a 300-yard passing game, finishing with 299 on 27 completions in 44 attempts. He didn't throw another pick after the two early ones, and had three touchdowns.
"It was just a tough game," the redshirt freshman said. "We have to execute better."