EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Royce Freeman was asked about his career milestones after he collected a few more in the Civil War.
While running for 122 yards and two scores in Oregon’s 69-10 rout of Oregon State on Saturday night, Freeman set a new Pac-12 record for career rushing touchdowns.
“I think it means that I’m kind of old now,” said the normally stoic senior, who lingered on the field with fans after his final game at Autzen Stadium.
Freeman now has 60 career rushing touchdowns, surpassing Oregon State’s Ken Simonton, who ran for 59 between 1998-01.
Justin Herbert, in his second game back from a broken collarbone that sidelined him for five games, threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns for the Ducks (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12). Herbert also rushed for a touchdown before sitting late in the third quarter after Oregon built its sizable lead.
Oregon will now await a bowl selection, while Oregon State’s season is over. Freeman said he hadn’t thought about whether he’ll play in the bowl game.
Darell Garretson threw for 112 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers before he was injured in the third quarter and was replaced by Mason Moran.
The Beavers won just one game this season, to lower-division Portland State, and finished without a win in Pac-12 Conference play for the second time in the past three seasons.
Oregon State played the final six games of the season under interim coach Cory Hall, promoted when Gary Andersen mutually parted ways with the Beavers early last month. The Beavers are expected to name a new head coach in the coming weeks.
Hall said his future remains unclear.
“One thing I’d like to say before I get out of here is that I’m very proud of the players because they did stick together, there was never any backbiting. You know what? I take my hat off to them because they showed up every day and they wanted to work,” Hall said.
The Ducks avenged last year’s 34-24 loss in the Civil War, which snapped an eight-game Oregon winning streak in the series. The loss assured the Ducks a last-place finish in the Pac-12 North standings and a few days later head coach Mark Helfrich was dismissed.
Oregon’s first season under Willie Taggart hit a snag when Herbert fractured his collarbone on Sept. 30. The Ducks went 1-4 without him. But his return sparked last weekend’s 48-28 victory over Arizona, which made the Ducks bowl eligible.
“It meant the world to me, it meant the world to our guys and it meant the world to our fan base to get the Ducks back in the winning column,” Taggart said Saturday about his first Civil War.
Oregon senior Aidan Schneider kicked a 31-yard field goal early in the game, setting the school record for field goals with 50.
Freeman ran for a 2-yard touchdown to give him 59 for his career, tying the Pac-12 record with Simonton. The Ducks pushed the lead to 17-0 before the first quarter was over on Herbert’s 29-yard scoring pass to Mitchell.
The Beavers narrowed it on Garretson’s 43-yard scoring pass to Timmy Hernandez. But Oregon opened the second quarter with Herbert’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Breeland.
Freeman ran for a 13-yard touchdown to break the Pac-12 record. He also moved into 10th place all time for rushing touchdowns, passing Nebraska’s Eric Crouch and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.
Freeman also surpassed 100 yards rushing in the first half, moving in to sixth place for rushing yards in the NCAA record book. The sturdy senior already holds school career records for rushing (5,621), rushing touchdowns (60), total touchdowns (64) and 100-yard rushing games (31).
“Royce, he’s a really special player. And I told him earlier today, I said ‘I was a big fan of you before I came here but I’m an even bigger fan now,” Herbert said. “He’s a special guy off the field as well.”
Jaylon Redd ran for a 19-yard touchdown and Herbert added a 6-yard keeper before finding Mitchell again with a 53-yard touchdown pass.
Schneider made a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 55-7. Justin Hollins’ 11-yard interception return for the Ducks extended the considerable lead midway through the quarter. It was the junior’s first career interception.
Oregon State added Justin Choukair’s 24-yard field goal. Oregon’s Kani Benoit ran 47 yards for a touchdown in the final quarter. Benoit finished with 122 yards rushing.
Dylan Mitchell caught six passes for 119 yards and two scores for the Ducks, who set a record for points in a Civil War game.
Oregon State: Junior running back Ryan Nall wasn’t saying after the game what his plans are after this season. Nall is set to graduate after the winter term.
Oregon: The Ducks had 431 yards of offense in the first half alone. … Oregon running back Tony Brooks-James was injured in the first half and did not return. … Oregon’s 52 first-half points were the most for an FBS level team in the half this season.
RAINCOATS: Earlier in the week Hall recalled when he knew the Beavers would win last year. “I remember seeing that our sideline was jumping around and we didn’t have raincoats on and then I saw the fancy Nike Duck raincoats on. And I remember thinking, ‘We’re going to beat them. They’re not prepared for these elements.’”
The Ducks used that as inspiration, and even donned raincoats following Saturday night’s beatdown. Defensive Henry Mondeaux said Hall’s quote was posted in weight room.
“Shout out to their head coach for giving us the motivation and the passion,” linebacker Troy Dye said.
Oregon awaits its bowl selection, while Oregon State heads into the offseason.
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