(5) Oregon (10-1) at (16) Oregon State (8-2)|
Saturday, November 24, 3 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The latest installment of the Civil War takes place in Corvallis
this Saturday, as the fifth-ranked Oregon Ducks and 16th-ranked Oregon State
Beavers get together for the 116th time.
The series, which dates back to 1894 and is the seventh-most contested rivalry
in the nation, favors Oregon by a 59-46-10 margin. The Ducks have won the last
four meetings, including last year's 49-21 verdict in Eugene.
Oregon had been cruising along with a 10-0 record and had attained the No. 1
ranking in the AP poll, but then came last week's clash with visiting
Stanford. The Cardinal dashed the Ducks' national title aspirations by posting
a 17-14 upset victory in overtime, snapping UO's 13-game winning streak in the
process. What it means for Oregon now is that if it finishes in a tie with
Stanford atop the Pac-12's North Division, the Cardinal would play in the
conference championship game with a chance to go the Rose Bowl.
As 8-2, Oregon State is off to its best start under current head coach Mike
Riley, and a win this week would give the Beavers their first nine-win season
since 2008. The team has shown a five-win improvement from last year's 3-9
club, matching Middle Tennessee and Ohio State for the best turnaround in the
country. Despite their overall success, the Beavers have split their last four
games, winning versus Arizona State and California, and losing to Washington
and Stanford. Oregon State has been ranked in the AP Top-25 for a school-
record nine consecutive weeks.
Oregon is the second-highest scoring team in the nation, as it averages 51.1
ppg in churning out 313.6 ypg on the ground and 548.3 total ypg, both of which
rank the team in the top-five nationally. Freshman QB Marcus Mariota has
certainly lived up to his preseason billing as he has thrown for 2,371 yards
with 29 TDs and only six interceptions, and has rushed for 605 yards and three
scores. De'Anthony Thomas has been Mariota's favorite target, as he has hauled
in 40 balls for 381 yards and four TDs, and Josh Huff has made the most his 24
grabs, turning them into 405 yards and seven scores. Kenjon Barner has filled
the rather large shoes left by former star RB LaMichael James, as he has
gained 1,426 yards and scored 19 TDs in averaging 6.5 ypc and 129.6 ypg.
The Oregon defense has performed at a high level as well this season, allowing
just 21.8 ppg (third-best in the Pac-12) behind 380.7 ypg. Michael Clay has a
team-high 82 tackles, and the Ducks have certainly proven to be an
opportunistic bunch by recording 72 TFL, 26 sacks and 32 turnovers, including
20 interceptions. Kiko Alonso, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Avery Patterson each have
three picks to their credit, while Taylor Hart has seven sacks. Patterson
however, is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Stanford's top-rated run defense held Barner to just 66 yards last week, and
the team as a whole to only 198 rushing yards. Mariota was Oregon's leading
rusher with 89 yards, and he threw for 207 yards and a TD. The Ducks converted
just 4-of-17 third-down opportunities and they were dominated in the time of
possession battle (52:05-22:55, taking into account overtime).
The Oregon defense gave up 411 total yards (200 rushing, 211 passing), but did
manage to come up with three turnovers. Clay was credited with a whopping 20
tackles, but the unit as a whole only had one sack.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly spoke about the disappointment he and his team felt
following the loss to Stanford.
"It is tough losing but it is not always going to go your way and that's life;
that's football. It hurts everyone so badly because they have all put so much
into this. It is times like these that you wish you would have the right words
to say to take the pain away but there are no words to do that."
He went on to say, "We have so much to work for. We will be back to work on
Monday to get ready for Oregon State. They all know what's at stake."
Oregon State doesn't possess anywhere near the explosive offense as its in-
state rival does, but the Beavers get the job done nonetheless thanks to
efficient, gritty play. The team is averaging 29.5 ppg, with the pass being
its weapon of choice as QB Sean Mannion has completed 62.6 percent of his
tosses for 1,904 yards, 12 TDs and nine interceptions. Markus Wheaton and
Brandin Cooks have combined for 127 catches, 2,025 yards and 15 TDs. As for
the Oregon State run game, it features a sturdy Storm Woods, who has turned
143 carries into 698 yards and seven scores.
On the defensive side of the ball is where the Beavers have really excelled
this year, as foes are generating just 108.7 ypg rushing and only 18.6 ppg.
Enacting a ball-hawking approach, the Beavers have six players who have
posted between 44 and 61 tackles on the year, and Michael Doctor and Rashad
Reynolds sit atop the list, with the former logging 7.5 TFL and a pick, and
the latter three interceptions and 13 PBU. Scott Crichton has 15 TFL and nine
sacks to his credit, and Jordan Poyner has six of the team's 17 interceptions.
Mannion threw for 325 yards and four TDs in last week's 62-14 rout of Cal, and
in the process became the sixth player in school history to surpass 5,000
passing yards. The 62 points scored were the second-most ever by Oregon State
against a conference opponent. In addition to Mannion's exploits, Terron Ward
found plenty of room to run in tallying 128 yards and two TDs on only 14
carries. Woods added 64 yards and a score on 11 totes, while Wheaton and
Connor Hamlett combined for 13 receptions, 179 yards and two TDs.
The Oregon State defense forced four turnovers, including three fumbles, and
held the Golden Bears to 322 yards of total offense, of which only 132 came by
way of the pass. Cal was penalized 15 times for a loss of 172 yards.
Poyner remarked after the win about the effort he and his teammates put forth.
"There was a lot of really good football tonight. There were some mistakes,
but you always want to limit those. As far as a complete game goes, that was
the least amount of mistakes we have made all season."
He went on to comment about the matchup with Oregon.
"It's the Civil War and it was going to be a big game whether they won or lost
[last week]. We are definitely excited about it and it's going to be a crazy
week. We will prepare our best."
There is no reason to think this will be anything but a war, with each team
playing with a sense of pride that only those who don a uniform for one of the
state of Oregon's two biggest universities can attest. The Beavers have the
ability to pull off the upset, but expect the Ducks to come out firing on all
cylinders, as there is still plenty to play for.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 37, Oregon State 31
11/21 10:57:38 ET