The Oregon-Oregon State football rivalry has a long and impressive history, along with quite a bit of dislike (as ESPN’s Shelley Smith relayed on the broadcast Friday night), but the 124th edition Friday night stood out for a remarkably zany ending. The unranked Beavers took down the Ducks (#9 in the AP poll, #15 in the first CFP rankings) 41-38 in the end, but it took a lot to get there. Oregon led 31-19 after three quarters, but the Beavers outscored them 22-7 down the stretch, bolstered by a one-yard run from quarterback Tristan Gebbia, an interception from Nahshon Wright, a two-yard run from running back Jermar Jefferson (who had 222 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the night), and a less-than-one-yard run from redshirt sophomore backup quarterback Chance Nolan. But that last was maybe the most remarkable, as it came on Nolan’s first collegiate snap:
100% of all plays that Oregon State 2nd string QB Chance Nolan has ever made at the FBS level have been game-winning TDs on 4th down with under a minute to play in an upset over a ranked rival.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 28, 2020
Here’s that play:
Oregon State with a go-ahead TD from Chance Nolan on 4th-and-goal… on the first snap of his career. pic.twitter.com/mi6peSE7AK
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) November 28, 2020
What was really remarkable was how that last fourth-and-goal play became necessary, though. It looked like Oregon State had scored on second down, but they got a rough spot (for the second time this month), putting them at third and goal inside the one-yard line with 40 seconds left. On that third-down play, Oregon committed an obvious offside but got away with it:
PAC 12 refs missing obvious offsides wtf pic.twitter.com/GaSQTR4ewf
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 28, 2020
That play also saw Gebbia hurt, which led to Nolan having to come in and take the first game snap of his CFB career in the highest-leverage situation imaginable on fourth-and-goal. But he pulled it off, and the Beavers then shut down the Ducks to come away with the win and the Platypus Trophy.
That win further damages the Pac-12’s College Football Playoff hopes, as Oregon was their highest-ranked team; USC is 3-0, but they were only #18 in this week’s CFP rankings, so they have a hard hill to climb. But there’s a lot of intrigue ahead in the Pac-12 title race; 2-0 Washington, 3-1 Oregon, and 2-2 Oregon State all could get there from the North, while 3-0 USC and 2-0 Colorado look like the top contenders from the South. But that game isn’t set to be played until Dec. 18, so a lot could happen between now and then. For now, though, Oregon State and Nolan have a lot to celebrate.
[Photo from Soobum Im/USA Today Sports]