From Lake Oswego to New Jersey and Sweden, Ducks and Beavers know what Saturday means
It's Oregon and Oregon State with the Pac-12 North on the line. What else could you ask for?
(Eric Evans photo/GoDucks.com)
EUGENE — For much of his life, Oregon offensive lineman Dawson Jaramillo straddled the line between the state’s two schools. He wanted to be a Duck, but as most who grew up in Oregon can relate, Oregon State never strayed too far from the picture. Jaramillo was recruited by OSU and trained with former Beavers All-American tight end Tim Euhus on the Corvallis campus. Steve Coury, Jaramillo’s coach at Lake Oswego High, once held Oregon State records for career yards and receptions.
And then there was Grandpa Mike, Oregon State to his core.
When Jaramillo called his grandpa and said he was going to Eugene, he asked him if he’d finally add some green to his wardrobe.
“Fine,” Mike responded. “Give me a hat.”
And since Jaramillo joined Oregon in 2018, it’s kind of been OK to have feet in both camps. Yes, the Ducks and Beavers added new coaches in 2018, but the programs haven’t exactly run in the same circles. Mario Cristobal came in as jet fuel for Oregon’s return back to the national conversation. Jonathan Smith was hired as a hopeful ladder out of the Pac-12’s basement in Corvallis. It’s been easy for Oregon fans to cheer for Oregon State because its small successes haven’t come at the cost of Oregon.
That’s different Saturday.
With Oregon’s loss against Utah in Salt Lake City and Oregon State’s win over Arizona State, the Pac-12 North will be decided at Autzen. Oregon State needs a little help in the Apple Cup, but for the Ducks it’s win and they’re in. This game hasn’t had this much riding on it since 2009’s War for the Roses.
That means something to Jaramillo. For much of his four-year Oregon career he’s been known as the guy with the mullet. And credit to Jaramillo, it’s luxurious. But he also knows his idol John Daly only got his following because he actually got on the course. And up until this season, Jaramillo had only played three snaps.
Part of that was bad luck. Jaramillo signed at a time when the offensive line became a priority under Cristobal. Not everyone can be a Penei Sewell, and Jaramillo worked hard to transform a body that was once too small, and then too big, into something that the Ducks see as just right.
“Swiss Army Knife guy, that’s what he is,” Cristobal said.
Jaramillo has played 352 snaps in 2021, and at every position on the line except center. It’s the type of versatility that’s kept Oregon’s line a strength even as it's dealt with injuries to key players like Alex Forsyth and Ryan Walk.
Travis Dye deserves all the credit he gets, but so too does a line that’s allowing a 5-foot-8 running back to average six yards per carry.
The Ducks will lean heavy on the group again Saturday against the Beavers. Grandpa Mike will be there to support Dawson and his younger brother, walk-on freshman Bailey. He’ll be wearing a green cap, even if it’s been pretty fun wearing the orange one lately.
Dawson and Bailey Jaramillo/Courtesy of UO
It’s simple math. If Washington beats Washington State Friday night and Oregon State beats Oregon on Saturday, the Beavers will play in the Pac-12 championship game for the first time in program history.
So no, nobody around Oregon State is pretending like there isn’t a big game Friday night that holds the fate of their season in its balance.
“We won’t be able to watch the entire thing,” Smith said. ‘But we’ll be aware of the game.”
Junior defensive lineman Simon Sandberg played it a little less coy.
“Absolutely we’ll be watching,” Sandberg said. “But we watch football every Friday.”
That wasn’t always his case. Sandberg grew up in Karlstad, a town of about 60,000 in Sweden. He played soccer and team handball and just about everything besides football, until an uncle introduced him to the sport as an early teen. Sandberg caught on quickly, and said those who aided his rise back home are looking at a 9:30 p.m. local kickoff.
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