Photo by Andrew Giesemann
Oregon Football

Recap: Ducks Win Ugly

December 31, 2018

What figured to be a defensive battle to a degree, certainly lived up to that billing. The Ducks and Spartans took the field at Levi’s stadium Monday in a highly-anticipated New Year’s Eve matchup.

Oregon fans were hoping to see a sign of the future offensively and defensively. 

What we all saw for the first 30 minutes was two teams playing pretty good defense and pretty bad offense. 

Oregon would take the opening kickoff which would lead to a string of possessions by both teams resulting in punts. The Ducks played with fire on a 3rd down hitting Mitchell in the end zone but the ball would hit the turf.

The first quarter would yield a total of 118 yards by both teams. 

A bobbled snap to start the 2nd quarter would lead to an interception by Jevon Holland as Lewerke threw up a floater instead of taking the sack. With points at a premium, that would prove big by keeping points off the board for Oregon.

With 3:30 left to go in the second quarter, Oregon would hold on 4th and 1 in the red zone once again and take over the ball on downs. 

Both teams would go into the half tied 0-0. There would be 12 total punts and 7 three-and-outs combined.

In short it was ugly offensively.

Michigan State would take the opening kickoff 64 yards in 12 plays before kicking a 34-yard field goal to put the first points up on the board.

Oregon would not make much of a response. Jaylon Redd would fumble the kickoff and the Ducks would start from the 9. Another 3 and out would give Michigan State the ball at midfield leading 3-0.

It didn’t get any better for Oregon in the 3rd quarter. The Spartans would put another field goal on the board and double its lead to 6-0. The Ducks would punt a bowl-record 10 times and the offense would go 3 and out 6 times through 3 quarters.

And out of nowhere, Oregon would find a rhythm offensively taking the ball to the air. Jaylon Redd would snag back to back catches as Justin Herbert would send a 28 yarder to Dillon Mitchell for Oregon to find its first points of the day. Oregon would go with tempo on the 6 play, 77 yard drive that would only take 1:40.

MSU would respond and start with favorable field position. As the Spartans crossed midfield, the drive would ultimately stall and they would attempt a 50-yard field goal. That try would miss with the wind affecting it.

Oregon would open up the playbook and finally take over with a 7-6 lead and some good field position from the 32 yard line.

As the Ducks get it into scoring territory, MSU would tighten down and force 4th down. Oregon would attempt an odd-looking fake-punt formation that would end as oddly as it sounds.

With under 6 minutes to go, Michigan State would take over needing to go about 70 yards for a touchdown. But a field goal could potentially do the trick.

A very key 3rd and short looked to be stopped but the spot would give Michigan State the first down. The play would be reviewed but it would stand. 

The Spartans would attempt a 50-yard field goal but the hold would get bobbled and as Lewerke tried to make a play of it, he would be tackled for a loss.

With 1:32 to go, Oregon would take over with a 7-6 lead. But Michigan State would have all three timeouts. They would use them and get the ball back.

Taking over on the 34 and no timeouts, Lewerke would take a sack on first down. On 2nd down he would pitch the ball to Scott who would lose yards.

On 3rd and 12 he would target Nailor but they could not connect.

A big 4th and 12 would come up and the Ducks defense would hold.

Oregon would win an ugly one in Santa Clara by a final of 7-6 in Santa Clara and move to 9-4 to finish the 2018 season.


Tags: Football, Oregon
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