EUGENE, Ore. -- From his apartment near 17th Avenue and Patterson Street, Dan Straub could hear the fight before he even looked outside.
"When I woke up it was to a loud noise, a thump," Straub told KVAL News. "I looked and there was someone laying in these bushes."
A neighbor called police, and others tried to help the guy in the bushes, who Straub later found out was 18-year-old Oregon kicker Mike Bowlin.
Thinking the fight was over, Straub went back into his room to go back to bed when he heard an even louder noise. He looked outside from his apartment balcony and saw 20 to 30 people in a brawl.
That is where police say Rob Beard, another UO kicker, came to Bowlin's defense and was beaten unconscious.
"I saw him getting hit in the back of the head, just coldcocked right from behind when he wasn't looking," Straub said.
Straub describes what he saw for KVAL News:
Once the ground, someone kicked Beard repeatedly in the head. Witnesses told police the same guy beat up both football players.
Dozens of people saw the fight, and investigators are going through all those interviews looking for clues that will lead them to the attacker.
Beard was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. His mother, Leslie Beard, said he was hurt worse than she feared, but he's now improving.
"Nothing is serious enough to cause any disfigurement," she said Monday. "He will be fine get through this."
Beard rushed up from California to be with her son. She said a steady stream of Oregon coaches and players are visiting her son in a huge show of support.
"I was really impressed with the caring and concern," she said.
Rob Beard will have surgery on his broken nose Monday but is out of intensive care.
Witnesses described the attacker as a black man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt who left in a vehicle with Washington plates.