Beavers fall to Ducks
The stage had been set for weeks. Oregon, a top 5 BCS team, was on a fast track for a national title bid, and Oregon State, bouncing around the top 15 in the BCS, was one of the surprise stories in the NCAA this year.
The Civil War matchup between the two was going to carry some considerable weight, and not just in that “state bragging rights” kind of way.
However, Oregon, and Oregon State for that matter, ran in to the powerhouse that is the Stanford Cardinal, and by acquiring a few blemishes on their overall record, tainted the stakes of the game a bit.
That’s not to say the rivalry lost any of its luster; this was still going to be a hard fought battle between bitter enemies.
What transpired last Saturday afternoon was 2 and a half quarters of close football, before Oregon began to unload their typical 2nd half offense and pulled away from the Beavers with ease.
Finishing off the Beavers by a score of 48-24, the Ducks reigned supreme yet again in the 116th edition of the Civil War football game.
So, after taking some time to reflect on the game, what went wrong for the Beavers?
The most glaring statistic from this past weekend’s game is the 6 turnovers by Oregon State when compared to Oregon’s zero.
Sean Mannion, the opening day starter who reclaimed the starting gig after Cody Vazwent down with an injury, was coming off an impressive performance against Cal and was hoping to ride some of the momentum gained in that game while facing the Ducks.
Mannion was relatively sharp to begin the game, despite one interception in the 2nd quarter, and had the Beavers within 10 points at the end of the first half.
As Oregon began to build a significant lead, Oregon State was pressured to pass the ball more, and on three straight drives, to open the fourth quarter, Mannion completed passes to members of the Duck defense, essentially sealing the win for Oregon.
Turning the ball over to an offense as dynamic as Oregon’s will doom any team, and the outcome of Saturday’s Civil War proved to be no different.
Stopping the Run
Oregon’s bread and butter this year has been their running game led by the electric De’Anthony Thomas, and the ever productive Kenjon Barner.
Stanford excelled against the Ducks because they were able to shut down the running game, and forced Oregon to adjust their offense to feature more of first year quarterback Marcus Mariota‘s skill set.
Oregon State was not afforded the luxury of shutting down the running game, and Oregon was able to run wild all day long.
Racking up over 200 yards rushing in the first half, the Ducks logged a total of 430 yards on the ground throughout the day.
Thomas, or Black Mamba as they affectionately call him in Eugene, ran for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 17 carries, while Barner racked up 198 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns on 28 carries. Mariota even got in on the rushing action by adding 85 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Oregon’s ground attack is the main reason they were able to run away (no pun intended) with the game in the 2nd half, and OSU just couldn’t keep up.
Lack of Offensive Momentum
Turnovers will kill any, and all, momentum gained throughout a game, and with Oregon State playing catch up most the day, the turnovers were even more debilitating.
Aside from a brief 7-6 lead in the first quarter, Oregon State was trailing Oregon much of the day, and just couldn’t sustain any offensive momentum.
Not once did they score on consecutive drives, something the Ducks did three times on the day, so it was hard for the Beavers to get in to any sort of offensive rhythm. With the amount of injuries on the defensive side of the ball for Oregon, you’d expect the high powered Beaver passing attack to keep pace, but miscues and turnovers plagued them throughout.
While a loss to their rivals from down south will leave many Beaver players, and fans, disappointed, the season is certainly not a lost cause.
Oregon State sits at 8-3 on the year, 6-3 in PAC-12 play, and are still in contention to win 10 games this year with a game against FCS school Nicholls State scheduled this weekend, and an eventual bowl game.
10 wins for a team that was picked, by many, to finish close to last in the PAC-12 is something Beaver fans can be very satisfied with.
Obviously a win over the Ducks is their top priority every season, but they can still take solace in the fact that they’ve avoided a losing season and are bowl eligible.
Oregon State returns to the field this Saturday to take on Nicholls State at Reser Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 AM and will air on the PAC-12 Networks.