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Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks: Preview and Pick
Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks: Preview and Pick
A funny thing happened as the Civil War between Oregon State and Oregon approached, both teams lost and lost badly. Although the loss was more painful for the top ranked Ducks who will now miss the Pac-12 Championship game, the Beavers did not play well either. Nothing should be taken away from this great rivalry that always puts forth a great game to watch, but those losses do put a damper on this game.
Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks Odds
The college football odds for this game known as the Civil War will favor the Ducks. They may have lost a big game against the Arizona Wildcats, but they are still the vastly superior team out of the two. The Beavers have a bright future, but the talent is on the Ducks sideline and that will be reflected in this point spread.
In perhaps one of the biggest upsets of the season, the Ducks could not stop the Arizona rushing attack and had too many mistakes. Ka'Deem Carey ran for 206 yards and four touchdowns while becoming Arizona's all-time leading rusher, and the Wildcats pulled off a monumental upset by taking advantage of numerous Oregon miscues, shocking the fifth-ranked Ducks 42-16 on Saturday. The Beavers do not have that strong of a running game and they could be in trouble against a Ducks team that will be angry and ready for a big game. If the Beavers don’t put up a fight early this game could be a blowout in favor of the Ducks.
The latest college football trends reveal the dominance of the Ducks over the years. The total has gone over in 5 of Oregon State's last 5 games when playing on the road against Oregon and the total has gone over in 10 of Oregon State's last 11 games when playing Oregon overall. Oregon State is 1-8 straight up in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Oregon and 0-5 straight up in its last 5 games when playing Oregon. From a betting standpoint Oregon State is 1-3-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games when playing Oregon. Oregon State is 1-3-1 straight up in its last 5 games, while Oregon is 22-2-1 straight up in its last 25 games to include 5-0 straight up in its last 5 games at home.
Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks Pick
With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.
In early September, Mike Riley sat before a horde of reporters in Valley Football Center and used a buzz-worthy adjective to describe Oregon State's run game.
A potent passing attack had just propelled the Beavers to a 19-point win over Hawaii. But the Pac-12's longest-tenured coach already faced a trying reality: A one-sided attack could struggle notching wins come Pac-12 play.
Two and a half months later, OSU is grappling with a worst-case scenario. A nonexistent ground game can't seem to aid a sputtering aerial assault. And Saturday night, the result could be described as "scary." The Beavers fell to Washington, a one-point favorite, 69-27.
Most of the 43,779 Senior Night crowd left soon after intermission.
"Lots of parts were missing," said Riley, the only Beaver to address media after the game. "We are all responsible. ... All the parts of that deal were bad."
It was a low point for a once-promising team. Four weeks ago, OSU rode a six-game winning streak into bowl eligibility. Now, it stares down the prospect of a .500 regular-season record. An off-kilter offense is responsible for much of the meltdown. As the Beavers slog through a back-loaded schedule, points are growing scarce.
OSU hasn't topped 27 points in each of its past four outings, a sobering stat considering it entered the Stanford game averaging more than 44. Quarterback Sean Mannion, a Heisman hopeful in mid-October, has tossed 10 interceptions to four touchdowns over OSU's recent skid.
In similar circumstances, most teams would lean on their run game. The Beavers don't seem to have that option. Their ground attack, which entered Saturday ranked 120th out of 123 FBS teams, has hardly shouldered a larger load in recent weeks. OSU (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) has continued to rely on its struggling passing game, often completely abandoning the run during critical stretches.
It followed a familiar script against an aggressive Huskies (7-4, 4-4) front seven. Beavers ball carriers took the occasional Mannion handoff, ran directly into a Washington defender and promptly fell to the ground. On the night, OSU mustered 106 rushing yards on 22 carries. Third-string running back Chris Brown netted a team-high 73. Of course, those numbers came with the Beavers staring down a sizable deficit.
OSU owned negative-one rushing yards when it entered halftime down 27-0. Its offensive line struggled to open holes. Its ball carriers struggled to attack the minimal ones they found.
"We didn't have any success with" the run, Riley said. "Physically, we've got to stay on the blocks a little longer."
Wary of his team's rushing struggles, Riley continued to call more passing plays until even the faintest hopes of a win had evaporated. In the 13th-year coach's mind, it seemed, the ground attack wasn't a worthy complement. There was no available backup plan. So OSU continued to flounder. Dropped balls and picks mounted. The Beavers' deficit ballooned.
"They outcompeted us," Riley said of Washington.
Could Riley have predicted such a sequence in early September? Probably not. But he did know a stalled run game would eventually come with substantial consequences. Turns out, it's a key reason a 6-1 start devolved into a four-game losing streak.
The Monday after Oregon’s arguably biggest regular-season loss in the past five seasons didn’t feel like one might expect.
There were smiles, laughs and an overall feeling of acceptance among the players and coaches. Though Saturday’s 42-16 road loss to Arizona, which knocked the Ducks out of the running for a BCS Bowl bid, still burns in the minds of Oregon, there is no doubt that a page has been turned.
“The attitude was uplifting,” Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said following Monday’s practice. “I think we’re in a good spot. The emotion yesterday was a little down but after the meetings, especially with coach Helfrich, guys feel better. I think we’re going to continue feeling better as the year goes on.”
Though Helfrich would be the first to admit that he’d rather not excel in the art of moving on after a loss, he was impressed with the way the team played in their first practice of the week.
“We had great energy,” Helfrich said. “We worked really hard and now we have to couple that with better execution tomorrow. I’m really happy with how the guys responded. Our guys came out with a bounce in their step and that’s what we need.”
Dwelling on a single loss can prove to be catastrophic for a football team. With Oregon State and the Civil War right around the corner, the Ducks are using a bounce back approach to prepare for the Beavers.
“Our guys are disappointed, they are frustrated, but at the same time they have the right mindset for bouncing back,” Helfrich said. “You have to learn from the good and from the bad.”
While a BCS Bowl bid is out of the question for Oregon, there is still much to play for in the twilight of this season, including the upcoming bout with their in-state rivals. Oregon hasn’t lost a Civil War since 2007, and both teams know how big of a deal this game is.
“I’ve grown up and watched the Civil War ever since I can remember and personally I know how big of a deal it is for this state,” said wide receiver Keanon Lowe, who is from Portland. “It’s exciting. I was always a Duck fan, but I always rooted for Oregon State, unless it was the Civil War. I think it’s great for the state of Oregon that the two programs are where they’re at now.”
After this Friday’s game with Oregon State, the Ducks’ bowl fate will be realized. However, the players’ collective mindset has never seemed to be on the high standards and expected success that many have associated with them throughout their season.
“I think we’re just playing for each other,” Mariota said. “We’ve always wanted to play for the brother on the left and the brother on the right. Wherever that takes us, that’s not in our control. We just got to go out there and play the best that we can.”
It was in passing when Oregon coach Mark Helfrich stopped defensive end Tony Washington on Sunday to have a chat.
The Ducks had returned from their 42-16 whipping at Arizona and were getting ready to embark on their Civil War preparations for Friday’s game, and the coach wanted to gauge the temperature of his troops, while also planting some seeds of motivation. Washington, who described “a different vibe” inside the team since the loss, said Helfrich’s message was simple and to the point.
“I think he was trying to remind the rest of the team that we can’t fold, the season is not over,’’ Washington said.
And so it went Sunday, the coach stopping with guys he considers “team leaders” to gather information while passing along motivation, all while curiously awaiting Monday’s practice to see how inspired, how on task, his team would be.
The answer: Helfrich was pleased.
“Really good day. Really good response.’’ Helfrich said of Monday’s practice. “We had great energy, we worked really hard ... Our guys came out with a bounce in their step.’’
The Ducks (9-2 overall, 6-2 Pac-12) are slowly beginning to admit an air of complacency played a role in their blowout loss in Tucson, which raises the question if playing for the conference title and a berth in the Rose Bowl wasn’t enough to get them motivated in Arizona, what do they have left to play for now against the Beavers?
Almost to a man, the players say they are playing for each other.
“Any time you have high expectations coming into the season, and you don’t meet those requirements or goals that you set forth at the beginning of the season, it’s going to be tough,’’ senior receiver Josh Huff said. “But we have to rally around each other and fight for each other.’’
Offensive coordinator Scott Frost said he saw a pugnacious group report to practice on Monday.
“There would be a tendency when you are playing for the ranking we had or the Rose Bowl, and when you lose it, to cash it in,’’ Frost said. “We don’t have kids who are going to do that. We have kids who are going to fight back.’’
Although Helfrich spent part of Sunday talking to the team leaders, Frost said he didn’t think the team needed any motivation, saying “I saw a lot of fight in them.’’
“They are upset. They are angry,’’ Frost said of the players. “That wasn’t Oregon football on Saturday.’’
Receiver Keanon Lowe said he spent much of Saturday’s postgame trying to pick up spirits, reminding his teammates that the Civil War remains. He said by Sunday, the mood was beginning to change.
“I think the message has been ‘Man up.’ You have to move on,’’ Lowe said. “Football is a crazy sport. If you don’t come with your A-game, you are going to get beat. We learned that the hard way. But you have to move on. You can’t dwell on it. If you dwell on it, it’s going to effect you the next game, which is the Civil War, and I know none of us want to lose that one, too.’’
For the first time in a long time, there's nothing big on the line in the Civil War. No national championship. No Rose Bowl berth. No Pac-12 title.
When Oregon and Oregon State meet in their annual rivalry game Friday, it will be about salvaging the season after demoralizing losses this past weekend. And pride.
Oregon (9-2, 6-2) got stunned by Arizona, losing 42-16 in Tucson, and subsequently dropped from No. 5 to No. 12 in the rankings and out of the Pac-12 championship game. Stanford, with a 63-13 victory over Cal in the Big Game on Saturday, clinched the Pac-12 North and will play Arizona State for the league title and a trip to Pasadena on New Year's Day.
Oregon State (6-5, 4-4) was routed 69-27 at home by Washington.
The Beavers could still clinch a winning season with a victory over the Ducks. With a loss, they may not even make it to a bowl game: Nine conference teams are bowl eligible and the league has agreements with just seven bowls. Those left out could receive at-large bids, but it would be at the schools' discretion to accept them.
Oregon State players didn't speak after the loss to the Huskies, but coach Mike Riley said he believed they'll be able to shake off the loss for the Civil War.
The Beavers had a miserable start to the season with a loss at home to lower division Eastern Washington. The team rallied, reeling off six straight wins, before it crashed again with four straight losses.
Oregon was ranked No. 2 and in the hunt for a spot in the national championship game just three games ago. Now the Ducks are looking at a spot in perhaps the Alamo or Holiday Bowl - snapping their string of four straight BCS bowls.
''We are just going to have to come back and bounce back,'' Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota said. ''We have to come back and just fight and control what we can control.''
On Monday, Mariota said he will play in the Civil War, telling reporters he passed the concussion protocol after he was hit in the head late in the loss to the Wildcats. He appeared dazed after the hit, and then was surrounded by trainers on the sidelines.
Mariota has already been hobbled for the past four games by an apparent left knee injury that has forced him to wear a brace. The extent of the injury is not known because Oregon doesn't discuss injuries as a policy and Mariota has insisted that it's not an issue.
Last season, then-No. 5 Oregon was coming off an overtime loss to Stanford and needed the victory over the Beavers - coupled with a Stanford loss to UCLA - for a shot at a fourth straight Pac-12 championship.
The Ducks won the Civil War 48-24, their fifth straight victory in the series, but Stanford also won to earn the spot in the league championship game. With just one loss the Ducks still went on to face Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The year before, Oregon clinched a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game with a 49-21 victory in the Civil War. In 2010, Oregon was ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings going into the 2010 game and a 37-20 victory sent it to the national championship against Auburn.
But this season, the Ducks were undone by losses to Stanford and Arizona. Receiver Josh Huff caused a stir last week - before Oregon was stunned by the Wildcats - when he suggested he would be disappointed with a Rose Bowl berth because it wasn't the national championship.
Following the loss to Arizona, he vowed he'd be ready for the Civil War.
''We have Oregon State coming to us and it's going to be tough to beat those guys if we played like we just played. A lot of people misunderstand me, I just want the best for my teammates. I have always been taught, never be satisfied,'' he said. ''As this Oregon State game comes up, I am going to do everything I can to get these guys ready.''
The annual Civil War is on tap for Friday night, as longtime rivals Oregon State and 12th-ranked Oregon close out the regular season in a Pac-12 Conference showdown.
Oregon State ran out to a 6-1 start to the season and in the process became bowl eligible for the second straight year and for the seventh time in coach Mike Riley's 11-year tenure. Since that fast start, however, the Beavers have been spiraling out of control with four straight loses, including their most recent embarrassing defeat at home to Washington, 69-27.
"It's really, really disappointing," coach Riley said. "We obviously failed in every way."
Oregon was once a national championship hopeful, as it ended October with a perfect 8-0 record and was position at No. 2 in the BCS Standings, but their BCS dreams have been shattered in recent weeks with a Nov. 7 loss to Stanford (26-20), and a Nov. 23 setback at Arizona (42-16), giving the Ducks just their second two-loss season since 2010.
"It's a punch in the gut, no question about that," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "We just have to coach them better, coach them harder. I have to figure out exactly which levers to pull and which buttons to push."
These two teams have met 116 times before, with Oregon holding a 60-46-10 series advantage. The Ducks have a five-game win streak in the series, which includes a 48-24 triumph last season in Corvallis.
Oregon State's offense has posted impressive numbers on the season (34.5 ppg, 461.1 ypg), but the unit has been on the decline in recent weeks, averaging only 17.5 points each time out during its four-game losing streak.
Once a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate, Sean Mannion has fallen out of favor in recent weeks. He is still in the midst of an outstanding junior season, however, completing 66.3 percent of his passes for an FBS-leading 4,089 yards with 34 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Mannion has displayed great chemistry with Brandin Cooks, who has been setting records left and right. He leads the country in both receptions (110) and receiving yards (1,560), while scoring 15 touchdowns, all of which are single- season school records. He needs just nine more receptions to break the Pac-12 single-season mark.
"(He's) unbelievable. Talent, effort, leadership, all of that," Riley said of his star receiver. "He is just a wonderful kid to have around and he just continues to, I think, be a great example for never quitting. He is shattering all the records right now so it's pretty amazing."
Richard Mullaney (48 receptions, 729 yards, three TDs) sees plenty of one-on- one opportunities with defenses keying on Cooks.
The ground game lags way behind the aerial attack, as its ranks 120th in the nation with just 72.8 yards per game. Terron Ward (322 yards, four TDs) and Storm Woods (297 yards, four TDs) have split carries to minimal effect.
Defensively, Oregon State has disappointed, as it yields 31.7 points per game, although its interception total (17) is tied for ninth-best in the country.
Steven Nelson and Rashaad Reynolds both have five interceptions apiece to lead the ball-hawking unit. Tyrequek Zimmerman has a team-best 84 tackles, while Scott Crichton anchors the defensive line with 14.0 TFL, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Ducks' offense has been a high-flying unit all season long, as they rank fourth in the nation in scoring (47.7 ppg) and third in yardage (573.5 ypg), but they had their worst outing of the year in the 16-point effort against Arizona.
Much like Oregon's national championship hopes, Marcus Mariota's Heisman chances were most likely destroyed by a two-interception performance last week, his only two picks of the season.
"This offense is very rhythm-based, and if you can't get the ball down the field you put a lot of strain on your defense," Mariota said. "Sometimes when you miss those opportunities, you don't get in a rhythm."
The lackluster effort against Arizona hasn't completely dampened an outstanding season for Mariota, who has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,127 yards, run for 529 yards, and accounted for 36 total touchdowns. His passing success has led to big seasons for both Bralon Addison (53 receptions, 798 yards, seven TDs) and Josh Huff (48 receptions, 850 yards, eight TDs) at receiver.
The rushing attack has been outstanding as well. Byron Marshall earns the most work out of the backfield and has turned 155 carries into 995 yards and 14 touchdowns. Thomas Tyner (549 yards, eight TDs) has also been strong, and De'Anthony Thomas (493 yards, seven TDs) is explosive when not hampered by a lingering ankle injury.
Last week's breakdown not withstanding, Oregon's defense has played very well this season, as it allows just 20.4 points and 366.4 yards per game while creating 24 turnovers.
Derrick Malone has a team-best 97 tackles, while Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (66 tackles, two INTs) is one of the best cover corners in the nation. Tony Washington (11.0 TFL, 7.5 sacks, four FF) and Terrance Mitchell (five INTs) are also in the midst of solid campaigns.
Both Oregon and Oregon State have slumped in recent weeks. The Beavers have lost four straight after a six-game winning streak, and may be shut out of one of the Pac-12's seven bowl games. The Ducks were ranked No. 2 and vying for a spot in the national championship game when they lost to Stanford on Nov. 7. After a rebound victory at home over Utah, the Ducks were stunned by a 42-16 loss at Arizona last weekend, which dropped them out of a shot at the Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl berth.
- KEY MATCHUP
Oregon's run against Oregon's State porous rush defense. Despite the downturn, the Ducks are still ranked in the top 10 nationally with an average of nearly 278 yards per game. The Ducks are ranked No. 3 in total offense with 573.5 yards a game. The Beavers allowed Washington 530 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns in a 69-27 loss last weekend.
- PLAYERS TO WATCH
Oregon State: QB Sean Mannion, who had a rough outing against Washington with three interceptions and three sacks. Mannion still holds the school's single-season record of 34 touchdowns and ranks second nationally with an average of 371.7 yards a game.
Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota, who will play after a hard hit to the head while trying to make a tackle against Arizona. While he doesn't have a concussion, there's no update on the health of his left knee. The sophomore known for his mobility has been limited for the past four games because of a brace he's been wearing.
- FACTS & FIGURES
The Ducks have won the last five straight Civil Wars, including the last two in Eugene. ... This will be the 117th edition of the annual rivalry game. ... A win would make the Ducks undefeated at Autzen for the first season since 2010. ... Oregon State is looking to avoid a five-game losing streak, it's longest since the Beavers lost six straight in 1997. ... A win would give Oregon its sixth straight 10-win season.