The beginning of the game went almost entirely Oregon's way. The Beavers came out looking strong and then faded once they had entered into Oregon territory and after the Ducks got the ball they flew down the field for a touchdown. The next series for the Ducks and Beavers followed the exact same pattern, and things looked looked dire. The next Oregon State series went poorly as well, resulting with a three and out and the game appeared to be spiraling out of control just like the last few games.
Keith Kostol punted away the ball, but Bralon Addison could not hold onto it and Ryan Murphy rammed him. The ball fell into Murphy's hands and the Beavers were given new life. They still struggled to get the ball into the end zone, needing a penalty on a field goal attempt to help keep the drive alive. Oregon scored a field goal on the next drive, but the momentum had started to even out as Oregon State would match the field goal and then force two interceptions to even things out at the half.
The final momentum swing came right down to the wire. After OSU had finally reclaimed the lead at the end of the fourth quarter, they needed one defensive stand in order to win. The Ducks immediately started tearing down the field though, getting chunk after chunk of yardage until they got to the OSU 24 where they finally were limited to only five yards, and then Mariota threw incomplete. This set up for a pivotal third down, but the Ducks' Thomas Tyner quickly burst through seven yards, leaving Sean Martin grasping at air at the line of scrimmage. The Beavs did not stand much of a chance after that, as they had failed to stop the Ducks for the rest of the drive, and Josh Huff sealed the deal with a touchdown catch. Oregon State had their last chance after that, but they never really got it together.
That moment was the clinching point in the game, there were some thoughts about if Victor Bolden had gone down at the 2, maybe that would have taken enough time on the clock for the Beavs to win, but in the end that would have been a mistake. Oregon still had all three timeouts left, and it still would have allowed them enough time to march down the field to score. It was no sure thing that the Beavers could score a touchdown after that either, if you have a chance to score a touchdown at any moment you have to take it.
There were a multitude of plays that affected the outcome of the game, but these were the most important changes to the flow of the game. Andy noted in the postgame story about the impact of going for the two-point conversions, but Oregon also went for two each time and failed, which essentially negated the effects that the conversions had, as Oregon would have been able to match one-point conversion to retake the lead as well.
The Beavs just needed one more set of stops to win the game, but in the end they were not quite up to the task.