Freeman pounds away in triumph
EUGENE — Rushing for 100 yards has become as regular as November rain for Oregon sophomore running back Royce Freeman.
Friday, in the Civil War game against Oregon State at Autzen Stadium, Freeman rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to lead the Ducks to a 52-42 win — their eighth straight against the Beavers.
Freeman also surpassed 100 yards for the eighth straight game and for the 10th time in Oregon’s 12 regular-season games.
"I call him the horse," receiver Dwayne Stanford said. "Feed the horse and he gets six or seven yards every time he touches the ball. Anytime we are struggling, I say to feed it to Royce. He was really important moving the chains for us. Once we get the chains moving, we get into tempo and that opens things up in the passing game."
Freeman is the only player in the FBS to have at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season. On Friday, he also had three catches for 51 yards and now has 2,031 all-purpose yards this season.
Freeman’s career total is 3,071 yards, which ranks fourth in school history behind LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and Derek Loville.
"Royce is just a great back, that's obvious," senior offensive tackle Tyler Johnstone said. "I think they are lucky to get him again next year. When there is any issue on the offensive line, Royce corrects it by being so good. I love the guy. He makes us better and I am proud of that guy."
NELSON ALL OVER: Charles Nelson made his first career interception when he picked off Oregon State quarterback Marcus McMaryion in the first quarter.
The do-everything sophomore started at safety for the seventh straight game after starting three of the first four games at receiver.
He still saw time on offense, as usual, and finished the game with three solo tackles, a pass breakup and 136 all-purpose yards — 99 on kickoff returns — though he failed to score a touchdown for the first time in five games.
DUCKS’ FUTURE: It was senior day for the Ducks, which meant the Civil War was the final home game for 16 players, including notable starters quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., defensive linemen DeForest Buckner and Alex Balducci, linebackers Joe Walker, Rodney Hardrick and Tyson Coleman, and offensive linemen Johnstone and Matt Pierson.
For a couple other key seniors, the window remains open for another season. Injured receiver Byron Marshall and tight end Pharaoh Brown could both take medical redshirts and come back for 2016 in they choose.
Marshall is the first player in Pac-12 history to rush for 1,000 yards (2013) and also have 1,000 yards receiving (2014). He suffered a leg injury against Utah on Sept. 26.
Brown was a first-team all-Pac-12 player in 2014 despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in November that he continues to rehabilitate.
There are others who could be lured to the NFL a year or two early, including junior receiver Bralon Addison, who scored four touchdowns on Friday.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” said Addison, who redshirted in 2014 as he recovered from a knee injury. “All season I have just tried to stay focused, help get back on track and things like that. I haven’t even thought about that, just looking forward to getting healthy, having the next couple days off and getting ready for the bowl game.”
NOTES: Buckner had a sack for the seventh straight game and finished with a team-high seven tackles. … Addison eclipsed 100 yards receiving for the second consecutive week (eight catches, 106 yards) and fifth time in his career. … Adams extended his personal streak to 35 straight games with a touchdown pass and his 37-yard touchdown pass to Addison in the second quarter marked the 80th straight game for Oregon with a passing touchdown, extending the Ducks’ NCAA record. … The crowd of 57,814 marked the 110th consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium.