With six minutes and 22 seconds left in the third quarter, “We Will Rock You” by Queen began to play at Autzen Stadium. The crowd began to stomp its feet and sing along. The Ducks had just made it 62-7 against their in-state rivals, Oregon State, after linebacker Justin Hollins intercepted a deflected pass and returned it for a touchdown.
This game felt a lot different than last year’s 34-24 loss.
“It feels like night and day,” Henry Mondeaux said. “Last year, we didn’t put together a good enough plan. This year, we did and it was really nice to see all the people — different people — step up on our defense. It feels a lot better.”
Oregon (7-5) got its revenge in the 69-10 win over the Beavers on Saturday night. The loss in 2016 hung over Oregon players’ heads, and so did the trash talk Oregon State (1-11) used this week.
Ahead of the game, Oregon State head coach Cory Hall said that he remembers knowing the Beavers would win last year’s game when Ducks players put on their “Nike Duck raincoats.” The Ducks players didn’t forget that quote.
“We try not to get caught up in the media and stuff but the Civil War, it gets kind of personal,” Mondeaux said. “That’s something we’ve had in our weight room — that quote — for a while. It’s been motivating us. I’m not really sure why head coaches do stuff like that because it definitely motivates the other team.”
The Ducks also listened to Oregon State interviews before the game. By the time they came out onto the field, the Ducks were dying to respond to Hall’s quote.
“It started raining touchdowns so they wanted to put on their rain jackets,” head coach Willie Taggart said.
The Ducks played with force. They were finishing tackles, making big plays and celebrating every moment of the demolition of their rivals from just up Interstate-5.
Going into halftime with a 52-7 lead, there seemed to be a newfound energy in the team.
“Shout out to their head coach for giving us the motivation, the energy and the passion for whatever he said talking about some rain coats, or whatever he was saying. I really didn’t care,” linebacker Troy Dye said. “Guys were happy, excited because you know you go in there 52-7 super amped up, especially against your rival — no better feeling.”
On Saturday, Royce Freeman rushed for 122 yards on 19 carries, compared to 106 yards without a touchdown on the same number of carries in 2016.
Last year, Freeman’s opposite number, Oregon State’s running back Ryan Nall, rushed for four touchdowns in the Beavers’ win. But this year, he was shut down by the Ducks, getting 41 yards on 14 carries.
“Same thing we had all year: stop the running back,” Dye said. “Hit him as hard as we can, hit him often, and if he don’t break down, he’s gonna go down. You saw, he came out [of] the game. They were rotating four or five backs. I have never seen that happen before.
“I guess it’s their bowl game. It’s cool.”
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow