2008 Oregon vs. Oregon State football game
|112th Civil War|
|Date||November 29, 2008|
|United States TV coverage|
The 2008 Civil War (Oregon vs Oregon State) was a college football rivalry game between the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State University Beavers. The November 29, 2008 game marked the 112th meeting between the teams since 1894. The game was the final regular season contest for both teams. Oregon won the game easily, 65-38. The win improved Oregon's lead in the series to 56–46–10.
Pre-game records and rankings
Oregon State, with a record of 8-3, was ranked #17 nationally  and had its first Rose Bowl bid since 1965 within reach. Predicted to finish 5th in the Pacific-10 Conference, the Beavers started the season 0-2, losing road contests against Stanford and eventual Big-10 champion Penn State. But they had not lost another conference game. OSU lost at Utah (Utah would go on to finish the season unbeaten and ranked #2 nationally), and had defeated then-#1 USC in Corvallis earlier in the season. A win over Oregon would guarantee OSU at least a tie for first place in the conference; the tiebreaker rules would have given them the conference’s automatic BCS bid, almost certainly to the Rose Bowl and a rematch with Penn State. A loss would put them in the Sun Bowl, in El Paso, Texas.
Ranked #23 nationally, Oregon’s record was also 8-3, but the Ducks had been expected to contend for the conference title. However, the team suffered early-season injuries to key personnel, particularly at quarterback where pre-season projected starter Nate Costa was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered during practice. Oregon did not settle on a full-time quarterback until midway through the season. After a home loss to Boise State (who would eventually finish the regular season undefeated) and bad road losses at California and USC, Oregon was considered the betting underdog against OSU, with bookmakers favoring the Beavers by a field goal.
The 2008 contest was only the second time in the 112-year history of the series that both teams were ranked nationally. (The 2000 Civil War had Oregon at #5 and OSU at #8.)
Oregon found itself in a spoiler role, not only for OSU but potentially for USC – and the Pac-10 conference as well. If OSU and USC tied for the conference championship, it was widely believed that USC would be selected as an at-large team for a BCS bowl bid, giving the conference a big financial boost as well as added prestige. An OSU win would likely have placed Oregon in a lower-tiered bowl, possibly in Las Vegas. On the other hand, an Oregon victory would not only knock OSU out of the Rose Bowl; it would in all likelihood knock USC into the Rose Bowl, secure a place in the Holiday Bowl (as the #2 conference representative) for the Ducks, and push OSU into the Sun Bowl.
The Beavers had not lost a Civil War in Corvallis since 1996, and although the mood in Corvallis was optimistic,  OSU entered Civil War Week with some significant injuries. Lightning-quick Jacquizz Rodgers, who would be named to the All-Conference 1st team at running back, sprained his shoulder in the team’s previous game at Arizona, and starting quarterback Lyle Moevao was recovering from a shoulder injury of his own.
But Oregon’s pass defense was not expected to put up a significant fight. The Ducks ranked 102nd nationally (out of 119 teams), yielding over 253 yards per game, and the Duck secondary had been shredded in losses to USC and Cal and a narrow win over Arizona. OSU’s veteran receivers Sammie Stroughter, James Rodgers and Shane Morales were expected to get plenty of opportunities in the game.
Although the Beavers ranked 2nd in the Pac-10 in rushing (171.5 yds/gm), Jacquizz Rodgers had been responsible for 71% of the Beaver rushing yards, and his absence removed a valuable weapon from the OSU offense. However, OSU’s “fly sweep”, an end-around play designed to get the speedy James Rodgers into open field, had worked effectively in previous games. It was believed that OSU would be able to generate enough of a running game with the fly sweep, along with a more traditional vertical running attack from freshman RB Ryan McCants, to keep Oregon’s defense honest, opening up passing routes that could be exploited by Moevao. The Beavers were ranked 7th nationally in pass protection, giving up only one sack per game.
OSU was coming off a nailbiter game at Arizona, coming from behind on a last-second Justin Kahut field goal to win 19-17. Jacquizz Rogers had been lost for the game during OSU’s second possession and the Beavers struggled against Arizona’s stout defense.
Oregon’s quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, had shown continued improvement since gaining the starting job in week 5. A juco transfer from San Francisco City College as a sophomore, Masoli had been forced to learn the complex schemes of Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly quickly despite missing spring practice; during fall practice, he was the 3rd string quarterback behind Nate Costa and Justin Roper. But Costa continued to be injury–prone and was lost for the season during fall practice, and Roper was knocked out of the Purdue game with a concussion, putting Masoli on the spot. (Masoli would himself be injured against Boise State, but was able to come back the following week, and started at QB the rest of the season.)
Oregon’s strength was considered to be its running game. Two running backs, LeGarrette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson, combined with QB Masoli to provide a three-pronged ground attack that ranked in the top 10 nationally. Defensively, Oregon’s strength was at defensive end, with Will Tukuafu and all-conference choice Nick Reed capable of applying an effective pass rush. Although Oregon had good personnel in the defensive backfield, with cornerback Jairus Byrd and safety Patrick Chung eventually chosen in the 2009 NFL Draft, the pass defense had not held up well against solid air attacks; Arizona, Stanford, USC, Boise State and Purdue had all racked up big stats in the air against the Ducks.
Because of schedule changes and TV considerations, Oregon had a bye week prior to the Civil War.
The 2008 Civil War kicked off on November 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm PST at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. At kickoff, the weather was sunny and unseasonably warm, with a temperature of 62 degrees F; wind was calm. Paid attendance was 46,319. The game was televised nationally by Versus.
OSU won the coin toss, deferring to the 2nd half; Oregon received the opening kickoff.
The teams exchanged 3-and-out series to start the game. On its second series, Oregon found success with a mixture of runs and passes. Completions from Masoli to WRs Terrance Scott and Jaison Williams got the Ducks to the OSU 17, where Masoli threaded a pass to Jeffrey Maehl for the game’s first touchdown.
The Beavers had little success running the ball early. After James Rodgers gained 8 yards on a fly sweep, the 2nd OSU drive stalled at their 34 and a short punt was forced. Oregon advanced the ball to the 21 where Morgan Flint converted a field goal for a 10-0 Oregon lead.
OSU was able to break through on its next series, with good field position due to an out-of-bounds kickoff. QB Moevao moved the team downfield, hitting WR Stroughter for a long gain to the Oregon 22 and RB Francis with a 20-yard touchdown pass; with conversion OSU trailed 10-7.
Two plays later, Oregon led 17-7, as RB Johnson ran a zone-read first-down play 81 yards to the OSU 8, with RB Blount scoring the touchdown on the next snap.
OSU’s longest possession of the game, 15 plays, went for naught as K Kahut missed a 22-yard FG attempt.
Oregon once again moved the ball downfield with ease, with long runs from RB Blount, QB Masoli and a 36-yard pass to TE Dickson giving them a 1st down on the OSU 11, but the Beavers forced a field goal making the score 20-7 Oregon.
A long James Rodgers kickoff return gave OSU good field position at the 50. An Oregon defensive penalty and long pass from Moevao to WR Camp put the ball at the Oregon 11, but again OSU was unable to reach the end zone, and OSU pulled within 10 on Kahut’s FG.
In its next possession, Oregon was again able to easily negotiate the OSU defense with a balance of runs and passes. A 17-yard rush by RB Johnson, a flanker pass from WR Thomas to WR Maehl for 35 yards and a pass from Masoli to WR Pflugrad set Oregon up at the OSU 4, but the Beaver defense stiffened and held Oregon to a 25 yard Flint field goal, making the score 23-10 with 2:13 left in the half.
Moevao then threw three incompletions, and OSU was forced to punt from deep in its territory, having only taken 20 seconds off the clock. But a solid punt by P Hekker and a personal foul by Oregon CB Glasper on the return left Oregon deep in its own territory at the 12.
After two short rushes, OSU called a strategic defensive timeout. Masoli's 3rd down pass was incomplete, but OSU LB Hughes was cited for pass interference, giving Oregon a 1st down at the 26. But the Ducks went backwards from there; Masoli was sacked on the next play, and Oregon T Lewis was cited for a personal foul. With the Ducks facing 2nd and 25, OSU burned another timeout; RB Johnson ran the ball left to the 17, and OSU used its final timeout. The timeout strategy was ineffective, as on the third-down play RB Johnson took the ball on the zone read, cut up the middle and ran 83 yards for a touchdown. With the kick the score was 30-10.
With 53 seconds left, and no timeouts, OSU took to the air, but Moevao’s attempt on 1st down was intercepted by Oregon CB Walter Thurmond III and returned for a touchdown. The kick was good and Oregon, having scoring 17 points in 1:20, led 37-10.
OSU was able to respond before halftime, with Moevao moving the team quickly downfield after a long kickoff return by Henderson put them on the Oregon 47. Three consecutive completions including a 11-yard TD pass to Morales brought OSU within three touchdowns at the half.
After a punt exchange to start the 2nd half OSU pulled within 13 at 37-24, with a 47-yard pass from Moevao to Stroughter putting OSU in the red zone and a 3-yard TD pass to Halahuni finishing the drive.
Optimism among the home fans in Corvallis was quickly dampened, as Oregon moved the ball 76 yards on 4 consecutive runs by RB Blount and a punishing 14-yard run by Masoli off the play-action zone read. This would eventually prove to be the winning touchdown; after the kick Oregon again held a 20-point lead.
OSU stayed within striking distance. On the next Beaver drive Moevao effectively mixed pass and run, and a 10-yard TD pass to Morales brought them within 13 again at 44-31.
The Ducks stayed on the ground, not unusual with a late-game lead, but after six straight runs and a holding penalty they faced 3rd and 6 at their own 24. Once again Masoli silenced the home crowd, throwing a slant pass to WR Scott, who eluded a tackle, threaded the OSU secondary and scored on the 76 yard play, making the score 51-31.
OSU fumbled on its next series after moving the ball to the Oregon 13, but after a 3-and-out Stroughter returned the punt 55 yards to Oregon’s 18. OSU eventually found the endzone after a PI penalty on Oregon CB Ward, with Moevao tossing a short pass to Camp, and the Beavers were back within 13 at 51-38. But they would not score again.
Oregon’s next drive ate over 4 minutes of clock time – an eternity by Oregon OC Chip Kelly’s standards; Oregon in 2008 was among the nation’s most efficient scoring machines, with scoring drives averaging just over two minutes. RB Blount carried the ball 6 times, Masoli had an 8-yard run, and then Masoli found TE Dickson over the middle for a 45 yard TD. Once again Oregon had a 20-point lead, and with under 5 minutes left appeared to be in control of the game.
The final scoring play occurred at 1:08 when Oregon LB Paysinger intercepted a Moevao pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.
Offensively, Oregon was able to exploit what it had identified as a weakness in the OSU secondary.
“Coming into the game we could see that they (OSU) were very aggressive, especially their safeties,” said Masoli. “So we established our running game and opened it up with the play action. That got the safeties moving up and we threw it over the top.” The big early lead forced OSU to abandon what was left of its running game, already missing its most valuable weapon in RB Jaquizz Rodgers. The fly sweep to WR Rodgers was ineffective overall, gaining 27 yards on one carry but just 29 total on six other attempts; and the Beavers were never able to establish a vertical rushing attack, finishing the game with just 89 net rushing yards on 31 attempts.
OSU coach Mike Riley commented after the game that “our team never quit and they always kept trying. They (Oregon) were a hard team to stop. We had to throw the ball too much and I knew it would eventually lead to a turnover.”  James Rodgers suffered a shoulder injury late in the game that would force him to join brother Jaquizz on the bench for the bowl game.
Oregon was awarded a Holiday Bowl bid. In the 31 Dec 2008 game, played in San Diego, the Ducks overcame a 10-point deficit to beat Oklahoma State 42-31. Oregon finished #10 in the final AP poll.
OSU accepted a bid to the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas against #20 Pittsburgh. In the lowest scoring bowl game in almost 50 years, the Beavers won, 3-0, finishing the season 9-4 and ranked #18 nationally; it was OSU’s fifth consecutive bowl victory.
This was Mike Bellotti's last regular season game as Oregon head coach. In March 2009, it was announced that Bellotti would move to athletic director at Oregon, replacing the retiring Pat Kilkenny; Chip Kelly took over as head coach.
The 65 points scored by Oregon was the most allowed by OSU in its history.
The game established Civil War records for combined points (103), total yardage (1,157), OSU home attendance (46,319), and was played in the warmest kickoff conditions ever (62 degrees).
Oregon RB Johnson gained 219 yards on 17 carries, a Civil War record for rushing, and RB Blount added 112.
Oregon’s game total of 385 rushing yards tripled the OSU season average allowed.
Blount’s 16th season touchdown run set a new Oregon record, and with his three unassisted sacks DE Reed established an Oregon season record with 16.
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||Score|
Scoring summary & statistics
|Rushes - yards (net)||51-385||31-89|
|Passing yardage (net)||309||374|
|Plays - Total offense||69-694||82-463|
|Third-Down Conversions||8 of 15||8 of 16|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 0||1 of 1|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||5-38||3-21|
- 10:41 ORE - Maehl, Jeff 17 yd pass from Masoli, J. (Flint, Morgan kick), 8-80 2:05, ORE 7 - OSU 0
- 06:07 ORE - Flint, Morgan 38 yd field goal, 7-24 2:28, ORE 10 - OSU 0
- 02:22 OSU - Francis, Jeremy 20 yd pass from Moevao, Lyle (Kahut, Justin kick), 8-60 3:45, ORE 10 - OSU 7
- 01:53 ORE - Blount, L. 9 yd run (Flint, Morgan kick), 2-88 0:23, ORE 17 - OSU 7
- 08:24 ORE - Flint, Morgan 22 yd field goal, 8-75 2:40, ORE 20 - OSU 7
- 05:41 OSU - Kahut, Justin 24 yd field goal, 6-27 2:34, ORE 20 - OSU 10
- 02:13 ORE - Flint, Morgan 25 yd field goal, 9-73 3:23, ORE 23 - OSU 10
- 00:58 ORE - Johnson, J. 83 yd run (Flint, Morgan kick), 5-90 0:47, ORE 30 - OSU 10
- 00:43 ORE - Thurmond, W. 40 yd interception return (Flint, Morgan kick), , ORE 37 - OSU 10
- 00:09 OSU - Morales, Shane 11 yd pass from Moevao, Lyle (Kahut, Justin kick), 3-47 0:26, ORE 37 - OSU 17
- 08:35 OSU - Halahuni, Joe 3 yd pass from Moevao, Lyle (Kahut, Justin kick), 8-72 2:55, ORE 37 - OSU 24
- 06:02 ORE - Masoli, J. 14 yd run (Flint, Morgan kick), 5-76 2:27, ORE 44 - OSU 24
- 02:45 OSU - Morales, Shane 10 yd pass from Moevao, Lyle (Kahut, Justin kick), 8-86 3:12, ORE 44 - OSU 31
- 14:19 ORE - Scott, Terence 76 yd pass from Masoli, J. (Flint, Morgan kick), 7-91 3:20, ORE 51 - OSU 31
- 08:34 OSU - Camp, Brady 2 yd pass from Moevao, Lyle (Kahut, Justin kick), 7-18 2:06, ORE 51 - OSU 38
- 03:59 ORE - Dickson, Ed 45 yd pass from Masoli, J. (Flint, Morgan kick), 8-72 4:27, ORE 58 - OSU 38
- 02:49 ORE - Paysinger, S. 70 yd interception return (Flint, Morgan kick), , ORE 65 - OSU 38
Oregon-Johnson, J. 17-219; Blount, L. 17-112; Masoli, J. 12-53; Holland, Jamere 1-10; TEAM 1-minus 2; Crenshaw, Andre 2-minus 2; Pflugrad, Aaron 1-minus 5.
Oregon State-Rodgers, James 7-56; McCants, Ryan 10-32; Francis, Jeremy 3-4; Johnson, Chris 2-3; Moevao, Lyle 9-minus 6.
Oregon-Masoli, J. 11-17-0-274; Thomas, Darron 1-1-0-35.
Oregon State-Moevao, Lyle 27-51-2-374.
Oregon-Maehl, Jeff 5-79; Scott, Terence 2-93; Dickson, Ed 2-81; Williams, J. 1-35; Pflugrad, Aaron 1-26; Johnson, J. 1-minus 5.
Oregon State-Stroughter, S. 7-145; Morales, Shane 5-68; Francis, Jeremy 5-65; Reese, John 3-46; Camp, Brady 2-22; Croom, Howard 1-17; Johnson, Chris 1-8; McCants, Ryan 1-5; Halahuni, Joe 1-3; Rodgers, James 1-minus 5.
Oregon-Paysinger, S. 1-70; Thurmond, W. 1-40.
Oregon-Pflugrad, Aaron 1-0; Johnson, J. 1-0; Masoli, J. 1-0.
Oregon State-McCants, Ryan 1-1; Moevao, Lyle 1-1.
Attendance: 46319 ; Kickoff time: 4:07 pm ; End of Game: 7:40 pm ; Total elapsed time: 3:33.
Officials—Referee: Jay Stricherz; Umpire: Jerry Meyerhoff; Linesman: Edwin Walker; Line judge: Jeff Robinson; Back judge: M. Aaronian; Field judge: Jeff Bell; Side judge: Aaron Santi; Scorer: M. Woodard
Temperature: 62 deg.F Wind: calm Weather: clear 
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