The Cerebral Vortex

Oregon got the ball first, but it certainly didn't pay off for the home side as Masoli threw an early interception. The ball basically flew off his receiver's fingers, thrown far too hard, and landed in the defender's hands for the pick. Sean Canfield managed the offense well, with Jacquizz Rodgers picking up the final yard for a touchdown on fourth and goal to put Oregon State up early in this game. Winning 7-0, the Beavers kicked back off to the Ducks.

Masoli took back over and settled down as soon as he got the ball back. Demonstrating both his rushing skills (2 rushes, 23 yards) and passing ability (2-of-2, 36 yards to Ed Dickson and Jeffrey Maehl) on the drive, Masoli put the Ducks in position to let LaMichael James carry the ball thrice to pick up the final six yards and, with Morgan Flint's extra point, knot the game back up at seven apiece...

James Rodgers took the ensuing kickoff and looked scary at first, though the Ducks funneled him to the right sideline and forced the Beavers to start at the 22. A quick strike from Canfield picked up 25 yards as he hit Marcus Wheaton. James Rodgers, the elder of the two brothers from Texas who went to Corvallis, rushed for eight on a sweep. He went out on an out route the next play and picked up even more yadage, putting Oregon State deep into Oregon territory. On the next play, his little brother was unable to pick up any yardage.

Second and ten at the Oregon 2, Canfield took the shotgun snap. Tossing beyond the sticks to James Rodgers, he was forced to rush his throw and glanced the pass off his receiver's fingertips. In a hole, the Beavers had 3rd and 10. Jacquizz got the pass, breaking one tackle but able to stuff him six yards short of the first-down marker. The Ducks clamped down on defense, forcing a 40-yard Justin Kahut attempt. Close through the crossbar, Oregon State went up 10-7.

The Ducks didn't take long to take their first lead on the game. After handing off the ball twice to LaMichael James for a pair of one-yard carries, Masoli held the ball on 3rd and 8 and promptly lofted a perfect pass that floated into Jeffrey Maehl's hands in stride. Maehl caught the ball perfectly and streaked down the sideline 73 yards for the touchdown. With Flint's extra point, Oregon went up 14-10 with 3:46 left in the first quarter.

With the team fired up, Oregon came back out on defense and stuffed the Beavers on first down. It was Canfield throwing too hard this time on second down, the ball bouncing out of his receiver's hands for a third down. Canfield hit James Rodgers on third down, as the defender wrestled for the ball, but was stopped before he could get across the marker for the first down. Oregon State was forced to punt, but a delay of game forced another punt. Oregon benefitted from the second hit, the punt shanked. The Ducks start on the Oregon State side of midfield.

The Ducks promptly started driving back downfield trying to build on their lead. James had rushes of four and three yards before a Beaver offside gave Oregon the first down. Masoli threw out of bounds on the ensuing first down before backup RB Kenjon Barner was cut down in the backfield on second down. With 3rd and 14, the Ducks took the shotgun snap and threw a poor screen to Maehl that was bottled in the backfield. The play marked the last of the first quarter... and then the Ducks were forced to pooch a punt. Jackson Rice pinned the Beavers inside the 20, where they took over on their own 17.

Canfield had time to find James Rodgers, who is quickly compiling some fat stats, but offensive pass interference negated the first-down conversion and Oregon State backed right back up half the distance to the goal. Now 2nd and 18, Canfield in the shotgun, a screen picked up five yards to James Rodgers yet again. 3rd and 13, Talmadge Jackson tackled James Rodgers after yet another reception by the latter. With the Beavers stopped yet again before the sticks, they must punt yet again. Getting off a better punt this time, the Ducks will take over after the ball went out of bounds inside Oregon's 30.

A punt followed far too soon for Oregon's offense, with Oregon State getting the ball back with good field position outside their own 30. The Beavers found some great yardage, with Jacquizz finding his first big run of the night to the right to get 17 yards into Oregon territory. James Rodgers got a yard to set up 2nd and 9 on the Oregon 47, and then another gain looked good... until a block below the waist handed the Beavers a personal foul and backed them up to 2nd and 25. Jacquizz looked to be down in the backfield on the screen pass, but he eluded the tackle and cut back the opposite direction. Finding the edge, the younger Rodgers plowed 48 yards downfield. With 1st and 10 on the 15, the referees threw flags for a false start on the left guard. Casey Kjos caught the Canfield pass and picked up nine yards to set up 2nd and 6. Jacquizz Rodgers came back into the game, took the handoff and was stuffed right at the line of scrimmage. Back in the shotgun, Canfield rolled left on 3rd and 6 and threw right into perfect coverage. Cliff Harris dove right in front of James Rodgers, reading the pass perfectly, and the true freshman broke up the throw. Kahut, kicking from 28 yards, drew the score closer. The score was now 14-13 with 7:20 left in the first half.

Kenjon Barner ran the kickoff back for a touchdown, but the return was called off due to several holding calls on the play. Starting on their own ten, LaMichael James caught a Masoli screen and streaked for 21 yards. The next play, James took the handoff and promptly fumbled. The ball rolling back toward the endzone, Oregon State recovered the ball. Back in the Oregon redzone, with the second turnover of the game going again against the Ducks, the Beavers picked up eight yards right away.  On second down, Jacquizz Rodgers was stuffed for no gain. Now 3rd and 2 inside the Ducks' 10-yard line, the Ducks lined up hoping to force another field goal attempt. Canfield lined up in the I formation, and handed to Jacquizz. The defense got into the backfield and stuffed the play, with the Beavers losing a few yards on the play. Kahut had another attempt from 29, punching the ball through to give Oregon State the lead back 16-14 with 4:30 left.

Jeremiah Masoli took off running on first down, getting 15 yards. He got 3 yards on the next play before throwing incomplete. On third down, he rolled right and found Lavasier Tuinei for the first down. Going to Tuinei again, Masoli completed another pass for eight yards. Now in the redzone, Masoli faked the keeper and handed it to James. The freshman picked up 5 yards over the markers to get another first down. The Ducks had 1st and 10 inside the Oregon State 15. Rolling left, Masoli was under heay pressure and was forced to throw out of bounds. On second down, Masoli was under pressure but found David Paulson on the blown play. Paulson stuck with the run, keeping his legs going and putting Oregon at first and goal. Masoli fumbled as he kept the ball but fell on the play to keep Oregon's chances of going back ahead alive. LaMichael James took the handoff and burst right up the middle for the final six yards. Flint put the ball through, and Oregon was back in the lead 21-16.

With 72 seconds left, Oregon State started back on offense on their own 25. Canfield threw downfield, with Oregon's defender bottling him up for a pass interference call. The ball was underthrown, but it didn't matter. Getting 15 more yards, the Beavers had 1st and 10 again, now on their own 40. Michael Clay almost intercepted the ball but it fell incomplete, leaving a 2nd and 10. Jacquizz Rodgers was bottled up on the screen pass, pushed out of bounds five yards downfield for a 3rd and 5. Jacquizz threw an elbow at the defender as they came back to the line, but nothing was called. Canfield found James Rodgers on third down and moved the chains yet again. 39 seconds left, first down on the 45, another first down pickup on the pass kept the clock stopped and the chains moving. Mike Riley called a timeout with 29 seconds remaining, with the Beavers looking like they might move back ahead and take the lead into the locker room. Remember, they also get the ball back to begin the second half, so this would be huge.

Michael Philipp, the freshman left tackle for Oregon State, took a false start to push the Beavers back five yards. On 1st and 15, Canfield was hit as he threw but still found Brady Camp. Evading a couple tackles, Camp picked up 10 yards. With 20 seconds left, Canfield threaded a ball between several Ducks to hit James Rodgers for another Beavers touchdown. With Kahut kicking the extra point, Oregon State went back up 23-21 with 14 seconds remaining.

Oregon almost allowed their nemesis to have another chance to extend their lead before the half, as Barner fumbled yet again. LaMike took the handoff and picked up a first down with an 11-yard gain. Going out of bounds, the Ducks have two seconds left on their own 31. Handing to LaMike again, he busted through the middle and almost broke free for the score... but after 25 yards, the Beavers caught up and ended the half.

ESPN went up to Chip Kelly as they went to halftime. What did he have to say about Oregon's performance? "It's like Christmas early in Eugene," Kelly had to say about how his team kept coughing up the ball and handing great field position to the Beavers. Down just two, Oregon can thank their lucky stars they aren't down by more right now. The Aliotti defense has held fairly firm for the Ducks, but with Oregon State getting the ball first in the second half that first drive will really define how this game plays out from here...


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