No. 5 Oregon downs Washington State 38-24 with big 2nd half

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux says it’s at that point of the season where every team wants to knock off the Ducks.

Anthony Brown Jr. threw for 135 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 123 yards and another score as No. 5 Oregon beat Washington State 38-24 on Saturday night.

Oregon, ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, has won five straight and extended its winning streak at Autzen Stadium to 18 straight games, including 14 straight victories at home over Pac-12 opponents.

“Every game is a playoff game,” Thibodeaux said. “Us having this target on our backs, it makes every team want to play their best. You know, one thing that we had a problem with was playing down to teams. And now I feel like we’re in that mode where teams have to play up to us.”

Oregon (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) needed to win and for Stanford to beat Oregon State up the road in Corvallis earlier on Saturday to clinch the Pac-12 North. The Beavers didn’t hold up their end, winning 35-14 over Stanford.

Washington State (5-5, 4-3) tied the game at 14 before halftime but Oregon pulled away in the third quarter. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak over Pac-12 opponents for the Cougars, who fell to BYU on Oct. 23 in a midseason nonconference game.

The Cougars still need one more win to become bowl eligible and perhaps redeem a season that has been marked by turbulence. Washington State dismissed head coach Nick Rolovich on Oct. 18 after his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Our guys aren’t going to quit. They’re gonna keep fighting,” WSU interim coach Jake Dickert said. “They’re gonna keep battling. I think the biggest thing we were looking for in this game is just improvement and keep progressing in our program, keep moving forward.”

Saturday’s game got off to a strange start. Washington State’s second play from scrimmage appeared to be a 77-yard touchdown pass from Jayden de Laura to Calvin Jackson Jr. But on review, Jackson stepped out of bounds at the Oregon 7-yard line. On the next play, de Laura fumbled out of the end zone for an Oregon touchback.

Travis Dye plowed his way into the end zone from a yard out to give the Ducks a 7-0 lead. Verone McKinley III got his fifth interception of the season and three plays later Dye scored on an 11-yard pass from Brown.

The Cougars closed the margin on de Laura’s 14-yard pass to De'Zhaun Stribling midway through the second quarter. De Laura’s 1-yard keeper with 11 seconds left in the half tied it at 14.

Oregon scored on Brown’s 17-yard scramble on their first series of the second half to pull back in front. The Ducks extended the lead on Camden Lewis‘ 22-yard field goal.

It appeared that Washington State’s George Hicks III recovered a fumble by Brown in the end zone early in the fourth quarter and ran it back 50 yards. After review, the play stood.

De Laura hit Travell Harris with a 38-yard pass to get to the Oregon 11, but the Ducks’ defense held and the Cougars settled for Dean Janikowski’s 34-yard field goal to make it 24-17.

“I think it was another chance for us to kind of show our resilience and show that we’re gonna keep coming,” Thibodeaux said. “I feel like we’ve trained for sudden changes. Things happen in this football so just being able to come back and play the next play, that’s all you have to do.”

Thibodeaux, considered a top pick in the 2022 NFL draft if he chooses to go pro, had a pair of sacks and six tackles, including two tackles for loss.

Byron Caldwell ran for a 27-yard touchdown with 5:52 left before a 22-yard scoring run with 2:07 to go for the Ducks. De Laura’s 2-yard TD pass to Harris ended it.

“I think this team’s getting better and better every single week, in a lot of different areas, a lot of different phases,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “So the sky’s the limit.”

Dye ran for 88 yards and a score, and had 25 yards receiving and another TD. Oregon had more than 300 yards on the ground for the second straight game.

De Laura threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns for the Cougars. He was intercepted twice.

THE TAKEAWAY

Washington State: Washington State hasn’t defeated a team ranked in the AP Top 25 since No. 25 Iowa State in the 2018 Alamo Bowl. The Cougars last defeated a team in the top 10 in 2017, when they upset No. 5 Southern California in Pullman, Washington. … Washington State was coming off a bye.

Oregon: Last year in Pullman, the Cougars led 19-14 at halftime but the then-No. 11 Ducks pulled away in the second half, with Dye catching two second-half touchdown passes, to win 43-29.

AND TAKEAWAYS

The Ducks have 15 takeaways at home this season. It was the fifth game of the season with at least three takeaways.

“Being in the secondary against Washington State, you know they’re going to pass the ball,” McKinley said. “We were prepared.”

Cristobal said: “I’ll tell you what, it was seven nothing and Verone gets up pick. That was another huge bolt of energy to our sideline our offensive guys fed off of that big time. And that’s what Verone does. Verone’s a game changer.”

UP NEXT

Washington State: Hosts Arizona on Friday night.

Oregon: Visits Utah next Saturday.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.