Beavers play their role for Harbaugh

OSU leads early but eventually falls 35-7 at Michigan
Sept. 12, 2015 /

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The football gods opened the heavens for Oregon State Saturday, but the Beavers were unable to move in during a nationally-televised game at Michigan Stadium.

After scoring on their first drive, and forcing a turnover just seconds later, the Beavers played into the traditional outcome expected when the two programs meet, losing 35-7 in the opening home game of the Jim Harbaugh-era at Michigan.

Michigan tailback De'Veon Smith ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns to lead Michigan.

OSU finished the game with just 138 total yards, 79 of which came on its opening drive.

The outcome left both teams at 1-1, with Oregon State returning to Corvallis next week for a home game against San Jose State.

"We needed to capitalize on mistakes," OSU quarterback Seth Collins said. "We didn't lose heart."

Collins capped the opening drive with a 21-yard pass to Hunter Jarmon, but finished the game with just six more completions.

The Beavers led for much of the first half, but special teams played a huge role in the final score. The Beavers had a 50-yard punt return wiped out by a penalty, then, trailing just 10-7, had a snap sail over punter Nick Porebski's head and wind up at the OSU 3. Michigan scored on three plays for a 17-7 halftime lead. The errant snap came after the team had a punt downed at the Michigan 2 - wiped out by a penalty.


PSU does it again

Vikings pummel Idaho State on the road 34-14
Sept. 12, 2015 /

POCATELLO, Idaho - Portland State took command in the first quarter at Holt Arena and beat 23rd-ranked Idaho State 34-14 in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.

PSU, which beat Washington State last week, moves to 2-0 for the first time since the 2011 season, and more importantly 1-0 in Big Sky Conference play. In addition, the 24th-ranked Vikings beat a nationally-ranked team for the first time since 2008.

For the second week in a row, special teams and defense played a major role in the victory. Idaho State managed only 242 yards of offense and was forced into four turnovers. On special teams, the Vikings had a kick return touchdown by Kahlil Dawson and stopped a fake punt attempt. 

"Our defense, what a great job to stop that offense, are you kidding me?" said Viking Coach Bruce Barnum. "It's like a hockey line (with all the players on defense making contributions). They are playing as a group and we don't have any superstars out there. Not one guy is shining, it's a team, and its fun to watch."

On offense the Vikings had another 200-yard rushing game, going for 236 overall. Senior David Jones had a career-high 113 yards on 18 carries.

Idaho State opened the game with a methodical, but effective, drive. The Bengals went 75 yards on 14 plays as quarterback Michael Sanders tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Hagen Graves.

Portland State had an answer though. First, Dawson took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. On PSU's first offensive series came another quick score. Trent Riley caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Kuresa in just a four-play series for the Vikings. PSU led 14-7. 

"That first drive of theirs, I was like "uh-oh", said Viking Coach Bruce Barnum, "but we came here talking about weathering the storm. I didn't think it would happen that quick, bit it was a great flip of the momentum with the kick return."

"Idaho State has a good football team and this place is hard to play in. It was great to come out like we did. When we started the season, I wanted to win special teams, and we have done it two weeks in a row now."

The Vikings tacked on three more points in the first quarter after snuffing out the Bengals' fake punt in their own territory. PSU could not get a first down, but Jonathan Gonzales still booted a 51-yard field goal.

After the sluggish start, PSU's defense dug in, holding Idaho State without a first down for four straight series. The Bengals had only 15 yards on their final 13 plays in the first quarter.

Just a minute into the second quarter, the Vikings scored again. Utility quarterback Paris Penn swept left for 38 yards and a touchdown. That culminated another six-play, 61-yard scoring drive and the Vikings were in full command, 24-7.

Idaho State's offense was stymied until finally converting a fourth-down pass that went for a 48-yard touchdown just before halftime. PSU led 24-14 at the break.

The Vikings had 181 yards of offense and the Bengals had 188 at halftime. The difference in the game was the kick return for touchdown and stop of ISU's fake punt.

Portland State opened the second half with a convincing scoring drive. Following a 33-yard kick return by Dawson, PSU rolled down the field in 10 plays. Kuresa went in on a quarterback keeper from five yards out. The Vikings led 31-14 with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

The defense continued its fine play and gave up only 21 yards in the third quarter. The teams traded turnovers late in the third, but neither could take advantage.

A 36-yard field goal by Gonzales midway through the fourth was the only other score. PSU was able to stop the Bengals and run out the majority of the clock.

Linebacker John Norcross had a game-high 13 tackles, while Jeremy Lutali added 11 stops and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. Xavier Coleman and Patrick Onwuasor also had picks for the Vikings. 


Vernon Adams is Oregon's excitement

COLUMN: Not since Chip Kelly's first game have the Ducks been unknown
August 26, 2015

What a difference 12 months has made for the University of Oregon football team and its loyal fanbase.

Last year, Oregon prepped for a run at the national championship fueled by the steady, reliable play of Marcus Mariota, who eventually led the team to the title game and won the Heisman Trophy. That led to him being selected second in the NFL Draft.

A year later, the Ducks feature a free-agent quarterback who already has fans worried about his reliability due to … college classwork (imagine that). Vernon Adams.

What a thrill ride Oregon fans are basically set up for this season.

Maybe we all need that, too.

Oregon football has become somewhat tame, leading to the program signing payday games – for their opponent – in two of the three non-conference slots annually. This week Oregon announced it would play North Dakota State of the second-tier FCS in 2020 at Autzen Stadium. Awesome.

Wouldn't a game against, say, Iowa State be better? North Dakota State beat Iowa State last season, but what really matters there is ISU is from the Big 12. Why does Oregon play teams like North Dakota State, Georgia State, UC Davis, and beyond? To win big and pad stats for its players.

So, maybe Vernon Adams is this season's path to adventure. He gets a game against his former school – Eastern Washington - in his first game at Autzen. Then, off to Michigan State, which is just jonesing for retribution for its loss at Oregon last season, a loss that unhinged its national title hopes.

Adams and the Ducks play at Arizona State and host USC of the Pac-12 South this season as well, so the conference schedule has some sauce.

Adams is a big unknown as the season starts, primarily because he didn't take care of school business as had been promoted in spring. Only in August did he get clearance to actually suit up for the football team after passing a math test.

But, again, that might be good for Oregon fans. The Ducks are rarely an underdog, but Adams has made the season scary by just being an outsider from the Oregon culture. A free-agent. That's becoming quite a thing in college athletics, especially basketball. Now, it is likely to spread to football, potentially keeping programs like North Dakota State from becoming dynasties because their top players might move to programs like Iowa State to improve them and show off their skills to NFL teams.

So, buckle up Oregon fans. It's going to be a … fun season of not relying on reliability that's been established from previous seasons. That didn't actually have such a downside for Ohio State last season, which played the final month with a freshman quarterback who started the season No. 3 on the depth chart. Maybe Oregon will play its way to a national title with a free-agent quarterback who had everyone in the state wondering about his reliability right up until he needed to show off his skills in the classroom and on the field.



Oregon set to return to Dallas

The Ducks will meet Auburn to start the 2019 season
June 30, 2015 / UO Media

Oregon is scheduled to kick off another college football season at AT&T Stadium, and the Texas venue won't be the only familiar element.

The Ducks will meet Auburn in the AdvoCare Classic to open the 2019 season, it was announced Tuesday. The matchup will take place Aug. 31 of that fall, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

"An invitation to participate on a stage likes this speaks to the reputation Oregon football has earned, and we're excited to be part of such a prestigious matchup,” UO athletic director Rob Mullens said.

Oregon last played in AT&T Stadium’s annual marquee season-opening matchup in 2011, losing to Louisiana State 40-27 in the game then known as the Cowboys Classic. That followed the Ducks' defeat nine months earlier to Auburn in the Bowl Championship Series title game following the 2010 regular season.

AT&T Stadium also hosted last season's inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game, between Oregon and Ohio State.

Tuesday's announced date with Auburn fits in a series of premier nonconference matchups in the coming years for Oregon, including Michigan State in 2015, Nebraska in 2016 and 2017, and Ohio State in 2020 and 2021.

"We're excited about the opportunity to compete against another high quality nonconference opponent," UO coach Mark Helfrich said.

The Ducks' 2019 schedule also includes a home date with Nevada one week later, on Sept. 7 in Autzen Stadium. UO officials expect to complete the nonconference slate with another home date, against an opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision.

The addition of the Tigers helps fill a void created when a scheduled home-and-home series with Texas A&M was cancelled. The Ducks had been scheduled to play at Texas A&M in 2019. UO officials are still working to replace the void on the home schedule for 2018 created by the cancellation.

The neutral site game with Auburn comes with a $3.5 million payout for Oregon, and the athletic department has an obligation to purchase and resell 6,520 tickets. Details on ticket sales are to be announced, as is the TV schedule.

Oregon and Auburn have met in football just once, for the national championship on Jan. 10, 2011. The Tigers won 22-19 with a field goal on the game's final snap, after the Ducks tied it with a touchdown and two-point conversion with 2:33 to play.


Oregon keeps up national prominence

The Ducks and Beavers keep up their success on the diamonds
May 26, 2015

In spite of being one of the last teams to get into the NCAA baseball tournament Monday morning, there might not be a hotter team in America than the University of Oregon based on its play from the past month, including a weekend series win over UCLA.

That's the NCAA talking, too.

Oregon beat UCLA in extra innings on both Saturday and Sunday, which didn't stop the Bruins from moving up in the national rankings. So, if Oregon can beat the top-ranked team in the nation, what's stoping them from winning a national title.

That's a topic Sportsland, Oregon co-hosts Cliff and Derek take on in the 14th Episode this week.

Oregon State, a team with a lengthy history of postseason success, is also among the tournament picks.

There's more action on the diamond from the state as the Ducks are headed to the College Softball World Series this week in Oklahoma City.

The NBA gets some time, as does a rough weekend of soccer for Portland. Derek provides some insight on attending the upcoming U.S. Open, and there's plenty of discussion about the growing popularity of ... roofball.

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.


Beavers, Ducks headed for baseball tournament

OSU and Oregon will play in the Midwest this week
May 25, 2015 / Staff report

Oregon State and Oregon both played their way into the NCAA Baseball Tournament with the release of the 64-team field Monday.

Oregon State earned a No. 2 seed in the regional at Dallas Baptist, while Oregon earned a No. 3 seed in the regional set to be played at Missouri State.

Double elimination regional tournaments - each with four teams, will begin this weekend with the winners advancing to eight Super Regionals. Those eight winners will play in the College World Series.

OSU will play Texas Friday, with Dallas Baptist taking on Virginia Commonwealth in the second game.

Iowa and Canisius were also named to the Missouri State regional. Oregon will play Iowa Friday.

Oregon State will be making its school-record seventh consecutive postseason appearance and 10th in its last 11 seasons, all under head coach Pat Casey. All-time, the Beavers will be making their 16th NCAA postseason appearance.

The Beavers finished at 38-16-1, good for second in the Pac-12 with a 19-10-1 record. OSU finished 2.5 games behind league champion UCLA despite starting one of the nation’s youngest lineups. The Beavers regularly started eight or nine underclassmen.

The Ducks (37-23) won their final five series in Pac-12 play and nine of their last 10 games to fight their way onto the postseason bubble, following a midseason lull. They posted walk-off wins Saturday and Sunday over the Bruins, who were named as one of the 16 regional hosts Monday.

Oregon coach George Horton’s club will make its fourth straight postseason appearance, and its fifth in the last six years. The Ducks have advanced to Super Regionals once since the program’s 2009 reboot, in 2012.

Iowa (39-16) is in the postseason for the first time since 1990. The Hawkeyes boast the No. 29 RPI in the country while Oregon got in at No. 66, but Iowa has struggled of late, losing four of its last six.

Iowa’s starter to open the Big Ten Tournament was junior right-hander Tyler Peyton (6-4, 3.18), who allowed one earned run and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings to help the Hawkeyes beat Ohio State. Peyton struck out seven and walked none in the start.

For the season, Iowa has hit .273, led by Peyton’s .352 average in double duty at first base. Like the Ducks, the Hawkeyes don’t rely on power bats, having combined for just 14 home runs in 55 games.

Missouri State (45-10) was selected to host a regional for the first time in the program’s 33 years. The Bears won their third consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title this season. Canisius (34-28) won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this spring.

Ducks play way back to World Series

Oregon sweeps NC State in Super Regional
May 23, 2015

EUGENE - The University of Oregon softball team is headed back to the College World Series thanks to a two-game sweep of North Carolina State Saturday in the final game at Howe Field.

Playing before a record crowd of 2,061 fans, the Ducks beat the Wolfpack 9-3, which followed up their win Friday and capped the Super Regional, putting the team into the eight-team tournament in Oklahoma City that will decide the national champion.

Oregon, 51-6, which has been ranked as high as No. 1 this season, reached the Series last year.

NC State finished at 38-22.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of my team, and the way they performed through adversity,” UO coach Mike White said. “Sometimes playing at home is a lot more pressure, and I think our team performed well under the gun.”

Pac-12 rival UCLA, which has won the title 12 times since the first tournament in 1982, also played its way into the Series. Top-ranked Florida - the defending champion, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama of the SEC played their way in as did Michigan.

A four-run fourth inning broke a 1-1 tie, and Janelle Lindvall’s three-run homer capped another four-run outburst in the seventh for Oregon. That made a winner of senior Karissa Hovinga (12-1), who pitched a postseason series clincher for the second straight weekend before being relieved for the final two innings by UO ace Cheridan Hawkins.

Hovinga allowed two runs — one earned — on two hits and two walks over five innings. She beat North Dakota State a weekend earlier to advance the Ducks to Super Regionals.

“Hov’s had a lot of consistent outings the last few games,” said Lindvall, the UO catcher. “I’m very confident in her.”

Oregon gave Hovinga a run to work with in the third inning, when Danica Mercado sparked the offense for the second straight day. She singled, stole second when the Wolfpack left the base uncovered between pitches, then scored on a single by Nikki Udria.

North Carolina State (38-22) tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the third — the Wolfpack were designated the home team for Saturday’s game — but the Ducks rallied in the fourth. That’s nothing new for a UO team that has scored 110 runs in the fourth inning this season, 31 more than any other frame.

The fourth-inning rally also came after two outs were recorded, for the second day in a row. With two on and two out, the Ducks got consecutive RBI singles by Koral Costa, Mercado, Alyssa Gillespie and Udria to take a 5-1 lead.

By that time, the Ducks were on to Weiman’s increased reliance on the riseball. They laid off pitches up in the zone and, with two out, shortened up their swings; all four singles were chopped on the ground through the infield.

“We were trying to take advantage of our hard infield,” White said of a surface that is being transferred to Eugene’s Marist High for a practice field designated for use by the Ducks during the construction of the new Jane Sanders Stadium on the Howe Field site.

“We knew we wanted to pressure their infield with our speed — but you can’t use your speed to steal first base. That slap hit works really well, especially when you’re struggling to find your timing against a tough pitcher.”

The fourth-inning rally helped chase Weiman, the NCAA’s active career leader in appearances. It was the final appearance of the senior’s career, and she left in the fifth inning to a loud ovation from not only the North Carolina State fans in attendance, but the home crowd as well.

“They know softball here,” Weiman said, calling the moment “pretty special.”

Hovinga got to enjoy a similar moment, throwing one pitch in the sixth before being replaced by Hawkins. The UO ace allowed a home run but recorded six outs all by strikeout — giving her 20 strikeouts in nine Super Regional innings this postseason.

Ducks headed for another conference sweep

Oregon leads the Pac-12 track and field meets again
May 16, 2015

LOS ANGELES – The Oregon men’s and women’s track and field teams each hold leads after the first day of the Pac-12 Championships Saturday, with the program seeking its seventh-straight sweep of the conference meet.

Most of the day’s opportunities to score points came from the field events, and Oregon took advantage in a big way, scoring 78 points in the women’s meet and 53 points in the men’s.

The Ducks hold a 38-point lead over Stanford in the women's meet, and a three-point lead over UCLA in the men's meet at UCLA's Drake Stadium.

Sam Crouser won his fourth-consecutive Pac-12 men’s javelin title, the only person to ever win four in the event. Crouser achieved the feat in dramatic fashion after Derek Eager of UCLA moved into first on his final attempt. Crouser responded with an effort reminiscent of his 2014 NCAA Championship victory, unleashing a throw of 252-10 (77.06m) to win by nearly 20 feet.

Crouser is the 15th person in conference history to win four titles in a single event. Freshman Jhet Janis added five more points in the event with a fourth-place finish (222-6/67.81m).

Brittany Mann won the women’s shot put, breaking her own school record in the process. Mann made quick work of it, throwing 56-6.75 (17.24m) on her first attempt, eventually going on to win by a foot and give the Ducks 10 team points.

Greg Skipper (225-2/68.64m) placed second in the hammer throw, and the duo of Nate Moore (25-3.50/7.71m) and Trevor Ferguson (24-10.50/7.58m) finished second and sixth, respectively in the long jump.

Jasmine Todd led the way in the women’s long jump, finishing second with an outdoor personal best of 20-8.50 (6.31m). After scoring last weekend in the heptathlon, Ashlee Moore placed fourth in the long jump with a big personal best of 20-5.75 (6.24m).

Moore was one of three Ducks to score in the high jump, where Oregon racked up 15 points thanks to second- and third-place finishes from Lauren Crockett and Chancey Summers. Crockett and Summers tied UCLA’s Zibby Boyer for the best clearance of the day at 5-11.50 (1.82m) resulting in a jump off between Boyer and Crockett for first place.

Liz Brenner and Felicia Odle combined for seven points in the women’s javelin. Brenner threw 157-9 (48.09m) on her first attempt to finish third, while Odle jumped into eighth position on her final attempt with a heave of 141-3 (43.06m)

While most of the action on the track consisted of preliminary sections, the Ducks scored in the two distance events which ran finals on Saturday. UO had two scorers in both the men’s and women’s steeplechase, led by Frida Berge (10:09.94) and Alli Cash (10:25.94) who each set personal bests while finishing second and fifth. Berge’s time ranks fifth in school history while Cash moved up to seventh.

Tanguy Pepiot finished third in the men’s steeplechase while Jackson Darland continues his string of personal bests, running 8:53.91 and finishing sixth.

In the last events of the day, the women scored 16 points in the 10,000 with Waverly Neer, Molly Grabill and Maggie Schmaedick placing second, fourth and sixth, respectively. Travis Neuman finished seventh in the men’s 10,000 to add two more points heading into tomorrow’s final day.

Oregon keeps dominant season going

The Ducks softball team wins its regional, moves to Sweet 16
May 16, 2015

EUGENE - Senior Karissa Hovinga gave up just two hits over six-plus innings and helped the second-ranked Oregon Ducks beat North Dakota State 6-1 Saturday at Howe Field, earning her team a spot in the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals.

Pitching ahead of team ace Cheridan Hawkins, Hovinga gave up just one unearned run to boost coach Mike White to 18-0 in Regional play as coach of the Ducks.

Oregon won all all three of its game in the four-team regional, which included BYU and Fresno State.

The Ducks could afford to lose Saturday afternoon, given that they were 2-0 in the regional’s double-elimination format. But Hovinga didn’t let it come down to a rematch later in the day.

Hovinga threw six-plus innings of two-hit softball while allowing only one unearned run in a 6-1 victory that propelled Oregon into next week’s Super Regionals. “I think that’s one of the best games I’ve seen her throw in her career,” said White, now 18-0 in Regionals as UO coach. “At a huge moment for us, a huge time.”

Hovinga faced the minimum through five innings, and got a strikeout to escape a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. Her error on a comebacker allowed the leadoff hitter in the seventh to reach, and though she was pulled after allowing an RBI single, Hawkins came on to slam the door and preserve the win for Hovinga (11-1).

Hawkins, who pitched complete-game wins in the Ducks other regional outings, was named regional MVP.

Saturday’s start was the 62nd of Hovinga’s career, among 114 career appearances. She improved to 44-6 overall, with a 2.38 ERA, and if that was her final appearance at Howe Field, it will be a cherished memory. “It felt really good to have a good result,” she said, before quickly adding: “But I’ll also be ready next weekend, of course.”

Hovinga was supported by Oregon’s typically balanced offense, as the Ducks (49-6) scored in four different innings thanks to hits by seven of nine starters. Hailey Decker’s two-run homer got things started in the first, and Janelle Lindvall singled in the third to score Janie Takeda, who later hit a solo homer.

About the only spot where the Ducks hadn’t received production this weekend was the No. 8 hole. That was filled Saturday by Lauren LIndvall, who watched the Bison walk No. 7 hitter Koral Costa three times to get to her.

Lindvall made them pay after the second walk to Costa, lining a two-run double off the wall. “They’re just loaded all the way through the lineup,” said NDSU coach Darren Mueller, who called Oregon the best team in the country. “… One through nine, anybody could get a hit at any time.”

Lindvall’s double made it 5-0 in the top of the fifth — the Ducks were designated the visiting team Saturday — and Hovinga responded with her fifth straight 1-2-3 inning, the second in which a double play erased a baserunner.

Hovinga said White told her earlier in the week that she needed to be ready to make a start this weekend. She didn’t find out until Saturday’s pregame meeting to review video and scouting reports that she’d be getting the call in the potential Regional clincher.

Hawkins faced — and beat — North Dakota State on Friday. Like Hawkins, pitchers for the other two teams at the Regional, Fresno State and BYU, featured riseballs, and White thought Hovinga’s reliance on horizontal movement would be a tough adjustment for the Bison hitters.

The haters took their lumps Monday

Duke won the NCAA tourney again highlights Sportsland Episode 10
April 6, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Duke again?

The top story in this week's Sportsland, Oregon podcast takes on what the Blue Devils' win in the NCAA Tournament means to college basketball, and how far away the Oregon Ducks and OSU Beavers are from getting the same result. Especially when a key player in the title game is a lightly-used guard who has the game of his life in the title contest.

Then, it's onto the NBA and who the Portland Trail Blazers might play in the first round of the NBA Playoffs: the Los Angeles Clipper, San Antonio Spurs, or even Memphis or Houston. Who's the best option for a first-round win?

The Timbers getting a win, Major League Baseball starts up, and the Masters is this week. Does anyone care about golf if Tiger Woods isn't involved in the tournament? And, why does Tiger even want to play in an event other than a Major?

All recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.



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