CJ Verdell dazzles in Oregon's upset win over Ohio State
Oregon running back CJ Verdell runs past Ohio State safety Bryson Shaw (17) and cornerback Cameron Brown (26) for a 77-yard touchdown on Saturday.? Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Running back CJ Verdell dazzles in Oregon's upset win over Ohio State

The No. 12 Oregon Ducks held on to upset the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes 35-28 Saturday, earning their second victory of the season.

Ducks quarterback Anthony Brown threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, but it was running back CJ Verdell who dazzled against the Buckeyes. 

Verdell rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in Saturday's win. He also caught three passes for 34 yards and one score. 

Verdell has made a name for himself at Oregon. He is just the fifth running back in school history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. After his performance Saturday, he has 2,758 career yards, tying him with Sean Burwell for seventh all-time in Ducks history.

The 22-year-old also has 24 rushing touchdowns, tying him with Saladin McCullough for ninth-most in Ducks history.

Verdell's only down season came in 2020. After starting the year with back-to-back 100-plus yard games, a thumb injury limited him to playing in five of Oregon's seven games, missing the Pac-12 championship game and Fiesta Bowl. He finished with 65 carries for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

Verdell is not projected to be taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, Pro Football Network, which compares him to Devonta Freeman, suggests he could be selected on day two or three.

Running backs are becoming less likely to be taken in the first round anyway, so selecting Verdell at any point could prove to be a steal if he continues to produce a high level in 2021. 

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bridgewater State University and currently is in pursuit of her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90.

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