CORVALLIS — Justin Herbert and Dillon Mitchell had planned to finish off a historic regular season together.
But neither Oregon’s starting quarterback or the Pac-12’s leading receiver were on the field in the second half of the Ducks’ 55-15 victory over Oregon State on Friday at Reser Stadium.
Herbert was injured in the second quarter after passing for 102 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell, who was suspended for the first quarter, had just one catch for nine yards.
Even though the offense had to be turned over to Braxton Burmeister in the second half, the backup quarterback did not have Herbert’s go-to-target to lean on.
“Dillon was held (out) that first quarter because he was late to a meeting,” coach Mario Cristobal explained. “But after that, it was from a personnel grouping standpoint. He did play some, not as much, but he was active to play in the second quarter and on.
“We were in Tiger personnel a little bit more times than not, so it dictated for a couple of other guys to be in there as well.”
Mitchell has 1,114 receiving yards and needs 27 more yards to break Josh Huff’s single-season record of 1,140 set in 2013.
Defensive line dominates sans Jelks
Oregon held Jermar Jefferson, who entered the game ranked eighth nationally with 1,316 rushing yards (119.6 per game), to 64 yards on 21 carries (3.0 per).
And standout defensive end Jalen Jelks did not play.
“As a D-line, next man up, so it doesn’t really matter who’s playing,” said Drayton Carlberg, who started in place of Jelks. “We all play pretty well, we’re just ready. When Jalen wasn’t playing, I just took advantage of it.”
Carlberg had a pass breakup and a quarterback hit. Gus Cumberlander continued his late-season surge, following up his two-sack game against Arizona State with a key fumble recovery.
Oregon finished with two sacks and seven tackles for loss.
When asked on the way to the team bus if he would be able to play in the bowl game, Jelks said “Of course."
Tony Brooks-James was injured returning the second half kickoff and was helped to the sideline by trainers.
“I hate to speculate,” Cristobal said of Brooks-James’ diagnosis. “But we did put him in crutches, we braced him up, because you just want to be very safe with that. We'll get him MRI’d, and he had the X-ray here.”
Backup running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio missed his second straight game with a deep leg contusion suffered at Utah.
South Florida transfer tight end Kano Dillon, who has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 19 in St. Petersburg, Fla., did not dress out for the second straight game.
True freshmen left tackles Steven Jones (concussion protocol) and Penei Sewell (lower leg) were not available.
Civil War series ledger
Oregon, which has won 10 of the last 11 meetings, now has a 65-47-10 lead in the all-time series.
The Ducks have won five of their last six games in Corvallis. Oregon set a record for most points and largest margin of victory in the series during last year’s 69-10 romp at Autzen Stadium.
The attendance for Friday’s game, the first non-sellout Civil War game at Reser Stadium since 1986, was 39,776.
Travis Dye’s 199 yards rushing set an Oregon single-game record for a freshman. ... Redshirt freshman CJ Verdell is the first player in the FBS this season with four rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in a game. … Tyler Shough took the snaps on Oregon’s final series of the second quarter after Herbert’s injury. The true freshman appeared in his third game for the Ducks but will still be able to redshirt under the new NCAA rules. … Troy Dye, a junior linebacker, became the 15th player in Oregon history to reach 300 career tackles. … Three former Beavers now playing for the idle Los Angeles Rams, Sean Mannion, Brandin Cooks and Johnny Hekker, were on the Oregon State sideline.
“I hate to bring it up again, but I read so many articles about shiny rain coats and all that other stuff and I'm like, ‘What are we talking about here guys?’” Cristobal said when asked about the progress the program has made since the 34-24 loss at Reser Stadium in 2016. “Shiny rain coats come out and Oregon gives up a 10-point lead and being accused of what a football player wants to never be accused of, being soft.
“Those words, they dig pretty deep now. Those things aren't forgotten so easily. That was a huge point of emphasis.”