EUGENE — A lot has changed for Oregon State since the Beavers defeated Oregon in the 2016 Civil War.
The Beavers lost a head coach, a starting quarterback and all but one game before a very long season came to an end on Saturday.
The Beavers did not go out with a bang. The rout was on early and did not subside until Oregon had established a huge first-half gap on the way to handing OSU a 69-10 Pac-12 loss, a record for points scored in the Civil War.
The embarrassing loss was the low point of a season full of lows.
One of the few bright spots was the energy that interim coach Cory Hall brought to the situation.
“Well, we just wrapped up what I would call a very interesting season,” Hall said. “One thing I’d like to say is I’m very proud of the players and they did stick together and I take my hat off to them because they showed up every day. I couldn’t ask for more.”
OSU’s defense was completely overwhelmed against UO quarterback Justin Herbert and the Ducks’ offense.
Oregon running backs ran through gaping holes and slipped off tackles when the Beavers did get to them. The Ducks rushed for 311 yards and Royce Freeman and Kani Benoit both rushed for 122 yards.
“We didn’t execute,” OSU safety David Morris said of the loss. “That’s just kind of how it was. We came out flat and we just didn’t do the best that we could do and didn’t get the result that we wanted.”
The Beavers forced Oregon's first punt with 4 minutes, 10 seconds to go in the first half. By then, the lead had ballooned to 45-7.
With a Herbert 53-yard strike to Dillon Mitchell, it was 52-7.
Oregon outgained OSU 431-121 at the half and finished with a 577-211 advantage.
Hall said he did not expect the one-sided outcome.
“(But) I’ve been around football so long that you can begin to see other things," he said. "Sometimes we try to walk around or talk around the obvious and maintain focus. So you watch it throughout the week and you have to raise above and coach around to make sure the players are mentally and physically prepared.
"To say that I saw this coming, absolutely not. But as you get into the flow of the game you need to see where things are going. It’s up to us to be able to reset and refocus.”
Both teams went through multiple quarterbacks. OSU’s Darell Garretson gave way to Mason Moran after a big hit. Oregon played Herbert, Braxton Burmeister and Taylor Alie, because of, well, the blowout.
Hall chose to praise the Ducks instead of ponder why the game got away from OSU so quickly and decisively.
“I don’t want to take away from Oregon. I want to applaud the effort of Oregon,” he said. “And the fight in our players, why it got out of hand, your guess is as good as mine. Oregon did what Oregon came to do and they were successful at it.”
Change of some sort will come soon to the Beavers’ program. Hall and/or some assistants could be staying, but there will most likely be a different look to the staff.
Any way that pans out, the players need to begin preparation for 2018. Morris said Hall told the players it starts in January.
“He said that’s when we’ve got to work, that’s when we’ve got to do things and do things right to get the victories.”
Oregon took the opening kickoff and drove 49 yards in eight plays thanks to a couple nice runs by Freeman and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the kick.
Oregon moved the ball to the OSU 5, but a false start and a holding call moved the Ducks back and they eventually had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Aidan Schneider.
The Beavers escaped a near-disaster deep in their territory when Garretson’s pass was batted up in the air but fell to the turf in the end zone. OSU was forced to put and the Ducks started their second drive from the Beavers’ 47.
This time the Ducks punched the ball in for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead. Freeman started the drive with a 23-yard run and finished it with a 2-yard touchdown.
A few plays later and the Ducks were back on offense when Timmy Hernandez fumbled after a catch and it was recovered by Thomas Graham at the OSU 33.
Facing a third-and-18, Herbert tossed a strike to Dillon Mitchell, who had beaten Shawn Wilson deep in the end zone and it was 17-0.
Hernandez made up for his turnover by getting behind the defense for a 43-yard touchdown catch.
Former Oregon running back Thomas Tyner got several carries on the five-play, 65-yard drive and was roundly booed each time.
Oregon spent little time on a response, going 61 yards in three plays and taking 55 seconds off the board. Herbert tossed his second touchdown throw of the game to start the second quarter.
Freeman scored again to put OSU in a 31-7 hole with 10:49 to go in the first half. A fake punt on fourth down failed and Oregon took over at the OSU 19 and Jaylon Redd scored on the first play. It was 45-7 after a Garretson interception led to another quick touchdown.
OSU outside linebacker Andrzej Hughes-Murray said the loss and the season is plenty of motivation moving forward.
“I don’t ever want to feel like this again,” Hughes-Murray said. “The team don’t want to feel like this again. Hat’s off to those guys, they did what they did (Saturday) but at the end of the day, this 1-11 record, that should be enough motivation in and of itself.”