CORVALLIS — Oregon’s plan on offense was no secret.
“We had the mindset we would run the ball 50 times in a row,” running back Travis Dye said. “That’s how it was this week and it turned out.”
The Ducks never handed off on 50 straight snaps, but had 17 consecutive running plays during one stretch and 16 in a row on the ground later in the game. Oregon ran on 38 of its final 40 plays to finish off a 55-15 win over Oregon State on Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium.
Dye set the Oregon freshman single-game record with 199 rushing yards while redshirt freshman CJ Verdell gave Oregon two 180-yard rushers in the same game for the first time in school history by finishing with 187 yards.
“We said all week we were going to run the ball,” Verdell said. “The coaches came up with a great game plan and we just executed. That’s why the game was what it was.”
Verdell had five touchdowns, including four on the ground, and noted that he exceeded that total in a prep game. Dye came up one yard short of the 200-yard barrier he eclipsed numerous times in high school.
“CJ and Travis had some open holes, but they ran hard and broke tackles, created some stuff,” UO coach Mario Cristobal said.
Oregon ran the ball 27 times in the first half while Justin Herbert completed 9-of-12 passes. With Herbert out in the second half due to injury, Oregon ran the ball 35 times while Braxton Burmeister attempted two passes.
Oregon opened the second half with 14 straight running plays before Burmeister threw an incomplete pass. The Ducks ran on the next 16 plays before Burmeister threw another pass.
“After halftime when we knew Justin was out, we knew we had to take a bigger role on the offensive line and start dominating up front,” junior guard Shane Lemieux said. “I think we took over and dominated up front.”
Dye ran on Oregon’s first four plays of the second half before Verdell got a carry on the following five plays. Dye put Oregon ahead 28-7 when he ran 15 yards for a touchdown to cap an 11-play drive that went 85 yards exclusively on the ground.
“The defense knew what was coming, but the linemen blocked their butts off for me,” Dye said.
Verdell caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Herbert on Oregon’s opening drive and added a couple of 1-yard scoring runs to put the Ducks ahead 21-0. After OSU closed within 28-9 in the third quarter, Verdell went 14 yards on fourth-and-one to extend the lead to 34-9.
“I don’t really think too much about the stats, just try to go play each game like it is my last,” he said. “I guess it was a good game for me, but I am always looking to improve.”
Verdell averaged 8.1 yards on 23 carries and scored on his only reception. Dye ran 33 times for an average of six yards per carry including a 39-yard score in the fourth quarter.
“Once we started moving and grooving, that’s all it was,” Dye said. “We got a little pace with the run game and once we had that, it was over.”
After totaling 304 yards on the ground during the past two games, Oregon had 392 rushing yards on 62 carries.
“We came out with chip on shoulder knowing we had to run the ball,” Lemieux said.