A decade later, the 2007 college football season still stands out as one of the wildest of all time. I’m serious, it was absolutely crazy and you can relive the strange season here. We had the curse of teams ranked #2, Mike Gundy’s “I’m a man, I’m 40!” speech, Kansas being (very) good at football and so much more.
Despite the generally chaos throughout college football landscape, the perpetually underrated Beavers actually came into the season with semi-high expectations. They were returning a majority of their defense, which had been ranked second in the nation for total sacks, eighth in tackles for loss and was in the top 20 for rushing defense the year before. They were considered a preseason top 25 team, but stumbled out of the gate losing three out of their first five games. This was peak Mike Riley era though and the Beavers flipped the switch midway through the season and surged to the finish line, winning seven out of their last eight.
The defense was talented and featured playmakers like: Derrick Doggett, Victor Butler, Keenan Lewis, Al Afalava and others. On the offensive side of the ball it was Yvenson Bernard’s senior year and he ran for over 1200 yards and scored 14 TD’s despite missing the Civil War game due to injury. The quarterback carousel between Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield was a year long battle, but most of the time they were fine.
Overall, the 2007 Oregon State football season featured dramatic wins over Cal and Washington (more on those later), but will forever be etched in my mind because of the dramatic double overtime victory over Oregon.
2007 Civil War
The enthusiasm for the Civil War game was dampened somewhat by the absence of both teams top offensive players (Yvenson Bernard and Dennis Dixon). Despite the injuries the rivalry was as fiery as ever. Senior running back, Matt Sieverson, filled in admirably for Bernard and had a monster game carrying the ball 27 times for 142 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball current NFL back, Jonathan Stewart, carried the ball a whopping 39 times for 163 yards.
Tied at 31 in double overtime, the Beavers handed the ball to the true freshman James Rodgers on a fly-sweep. Rodgers evaded a would be tackler in the backfield, got to the edge and sprinted into the end zone!
On the next series a huge defensive stop stuffed Jonathan Stewart and Oregon's hope of scoring. OSU's win snapped a 10-year streak of the home team winning the Civil War and handed Oregon just its second loss in Autzen Stadium that season.
James reflected on the victory a few years back telling OregonLive "Looking at it now, that was one of the biggest games of my career, I didn't really know what the Civil War meant to everyone in the state, but I do remember thinking, 'Why are they giving the ball to me, a freshman?' But it worked because that play was so hard to stop."
It was James Rodgers’ one and only win over the Ducks. His younger brother and Beaver legend, Jacquizz Rodgers never managed a win against Oregon.
Want more on the 2007 Civil War? Check out the oral history of Oregon’s whole season here. It includes this fantastic quote from Oregon Ducks offensive tackle Geoff Schwartz on their Civil War loss.
Schwartz: Lost in OT on a f***ing fly sweep … f***ing fly sweep.