Nothing Civil about this one
The Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers are set to face off this weekend, and while the stakes may not be as high as they were in the 2009 War of the Roses, both teams are ready to take down their opponent in grand fashion.
These two teams have a mutual hatred for one another, and if there’s anything we know for sure about this contest, it’s that there’s nothing civil about the Civil War.
We may not know exactly what’s going to happen this time around, as the Civil War has been known to throw curve balls in the past, but there are a handful of things you should expect to see if you’re watching the Ducks closely come Saturday.
A Much Closer Game Than Last Year
The Civil War hasn’t been tightly contested since 2009, but with both teams on the national stage this season, a much better game should be on display than we saw last season.
The Beavers have surprised the nation with their play this year. Their season-opening win against the Wisconsin Badgers was a bit of a shock, but nobody seems to be stunned anymore, as they continue to perform at an extremely high level.
Are the Beavers the favorites heading into this game? Not a chance. But they’re not expected to roll over and die the way they have in recent memory.
More Touches for De’Anthony Thomas
One of the major criticisms being thrown in Chip Kelly’s direction following last week’s disappointment is the fact that De’Anthony Thomas simply didn’t get enough touches to have a huge impact.
The standout sophomore is as explosive as it gets in college football. His play-making skills are complemented by his binding speed and quickness, and he would have been the perfect weapon against a bigger, stronger—yet slower—Stanford Cardinal defense.
The Beavers’ defense comes from the same mold as the Cardinal, and while the Ducks haven’t needed Thomas to touch the ball 20 times to win this season, they’ll need him this week.
At Least One Trick Play
Chip Kelly gives off the impression that he hates the media, but deep down I think we all know that the mastermind at Oregon has a soft spot for the spotlight.
Four years ago when the Ducks traveled to Corvallis, the team pulled off a trick play involving then-backup quarterback Darron Thomas. Two years ago, the team faked a punt and ran it up the middle of the field for what seemed like a mile.
The Ducks are known for the unpredictable, and what better game to show something new than a nationally televised matchup against your in-state rival?
Oregon’s Offense Will Return to Form
The Ducks’ offense put up a performance last week against Stanford unlike any other showing we’d seen from them this season—not in a good way.
Kenjon Barner was held to just 66 yards on 21 carries, Marcus Mariota had his first truly inefficient game passing the ball and the team as a whole was kept to just 14 points, which is 28 points less than their second-worst output in 2012.
Oregon State’s defense will preset Oregon with problems in a similar way Stanford’s did, but this time the Ducks should be ready. Getting their speedsters out in space in the No. 1 way to negate the strength of the Beavers’ front line, and as long as they can get their running game back form, they’ll open up the passing game for Marcus Mariota to take advantage.
The Ducks Will Win Their Fifth Straight Civil War
Once upon a time the home team ruled this series. The last four years, though, have been won by the Ducks, and if they can play the way had they been before last week, they’ll capture another victory in Corvallis this weekend.
The BCS title game is seemingly out of the question at this point, but the No. 5 Ducks still have a lot to play for.
Everybody wants to talk about how UCLA needs to beat Stanford for Oregon to make it to the Pac-12 championship, but it’s equally as important that the Ducks come out and take care of business against the Beavers.
If Oregon can get their offense rolling on the road this weekend, they will have a good shot at taking care of business, as the Beavers have struggled to score points all year long. The Ducks just need to do what they do best, and from there on, it’s up to the Football Gods to decide where Mighty Oregon lands by the time the season comes to an end.