There’s a different motivation in the 2016 edition
of the Civil War series as Oregon and host Oregon State will square off
Saturday in Corvallis looking to avoid finishing in the Pac-12 North basement. Although
the Ducks and Beavers both are entering the game off impressive victories last
Saturday, both are only 2-6 in Pac-12 play entering the regular-season finale.
Oregon is fresh off a huge upset, clipping
two-touchdown favorite and then-11th-ranked Utah 30-28 on Darren Carrington’s
17-yard scoring reception in the back corner of the end zone with two seconds
remaining. The win not only knocked Utah out of contention for the Pac-12 South
title, but it boosted embattled Oregon coach Mark Helfrich’s 2016 resume and
kept alive the Ducks’ slim chances of making it to a bowl game with a 5-7
finish. The Beavers, meanwhile, snapped out of a five-game losing skid last
Saturday with a 42-17 thrashing of visiting South Division cellar-dweller
Arizona and now are aiming to put an end to their eight-game Civil War series
losing streak. “This game is a big game every year
regardless of the situation or the scenario,” Beavers coach Gary Andersen said
at his Sunday news conference. “Our kids understand that, they know that, and
it’s a privilege and honor for them to play in it. It’s a game they’ll remember
for the rest of their lives.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Oregon -3
ABOUT OREGON (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12): The Ducks
struggled through a three point first half last Saturday, but caught fire behind
freshman quarterback Justin Herbert who tossed three scoring passes and ran for
another to rally his team. Tailback Royce Freeman, who was hampered by injury
issues earlier in the season, also is coming off one of his best games of the
year with 129 yards rushing and 36 more yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.
The Oregon defense, led by standout freshman linebacker Troy Dye (83 total
tackles, 6.5 sacks), still ranks 126th nationally with 42.1 points
allowed per game, but kept a Pac-12 foe under 35 points for the first time in
its last nine conference contests.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (3-8, 2-6): The Beavers had
their own impressive performance from a young quarterback last Saturday as
sophomore Marcus McMaryion completed 16-of-19 passes for 265 yards and five TDs
in the rout of Arizona. McMaryion has two solid weapons at his disposal in
tailback Ryan Nall (team-leading 796 yards, nine TDs) and wide receiver Victor
Bolden Jr. (856 total yards, four TDs). Linebackers Caleb Saulo and Manase
Hungalu, with a combined average of 15.3 tackles per game, lead a defense
which ranks in the middle of the Pac-12 pack at 31.1 points and 433.3 yards
surrendered per game.
1. According to Oregon, the Civil War is the
longest-running college football rivalry west of the Rockies, and the Ducks own
a 31-9-1 advantage since 1975, including the eight straight wins.
2. Oregon hasn’t finished with five or fewer wins
since 2004 – also the last season the Ducks failed to make the postseason.
3. Oregon State’s 42 points vs. Arizona last week
marked the first time the Beavers have topped 40 in a Pac-12 game since a 49-17
win at California in 2013.
PREDICTION: Oregon 34, Oregon State 32