Civil War 2012: Players to Watch During Oregon vs. Oregon State Rivalry Game
In a week filled with rivalry matchups, the Civil War is flying dangerously far under the radar.
Yes, Auburn-Alabama, Notre Dame-USC, Florida-Florida State, Stanford-UCLA, South Carolina-Clemson, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and Michigan-Ohio State are all rivalries of enormous magnitude, but this is the Civil War we're talking about here.
Only one of the most important battles ever.
Who wins the 116th Civil War (this one)?
And this year, it's kind of crucial in the football world, too.
No. 5 Oregon, still barely holding onto national championship hopes, travels to Corvallis to take on No. 15 Oregon State. The Beavers are the best they've been in years and will be looking to end Oregon's four-game winning streak in this matchup that has lasted over 100 years.
Let's take a look at what players are in for big days during Saturday's underrated contest.
De'Marjon Thorioner, QB/RB, Oregon Ducks
No, that isn't some freshman you haven't heard of. It's just a combination of De'Anthony Thomas, Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner.
I just couldn't separate them.
Mariota, of course, is the dynamic freshman quaterback. He's been better than advertised through the air (69.8 completion percentage, 2,371 yards, 29 touchdowns, six interceptions), but his ability to use his legs to make plays is what makes him truly dangerous.
The Honolulu native has racked up 605 yards on just 90 carries (6.7 ypc), including an impressive 86-yard dash.
Barner is the Heisman candidate. People tend to think Oregon is just speed, and while Barner is certainly that, he's been an absolute workhorse: 220 carries, 1,426 rushing yards, 20 total touchdowns.
Thomas is the lightning bolt. Seriously. Like, he travels 87,000 miles per second.
On the season, he's taken 73 carries for 564 yards (7.7 ypc) and pulled in 40 receptions (most on the team) for 381 yards. He has 12 total touchdowns and is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
Oregon's offense is such a powerhouse because of this trio. You might as well pay attention to all of them.
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State Beavers
You may know Crichton as the guy with revealing thoughts on marijuana, but soon you'll know him as the guy blowing up opposing backfields.
The talented Tacoma, WA native has racked up 15 tackles for loss (sixth in the Pac-12) and nine sacks (sixth) this season. For his career, he has 29.5 tackles for loss (25th all time in Pac-12), 15 sacks (24th) and seven forced fumbles (ninth).
Oh, and quite absurdly, he's already on all those Pac-12 career leader lists despite only being a sophomore.
Crichton, who has just one sack over his past five games, has cooled off after a monstrous start to the season, but it's pretty clear that he's a nightmare to block and will constantly demand double teams. If anyone has a chance to disrupt Oregon's talented backfield, it's Crichton.
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State Beavers
While the Beavers have some intriguing players on the offensive end (Sean Mannion, Brandin Cooks, Markus Wheaton), I have to go with another key defensive player here, as the Ducks boast such an absurdly-dominant offensive attack.
Oregon doesn't always rely on throwing the ball, but when Mariota goes to the air, OSU will have to take advantage.
Look no further than Jordan Poyer to make that happen.
The 6'0", 190-pound senior cornerback has picked off six passes this year, which is good enough for second-most in the nation. During his impressive career, he has stolen 12 passes.
Poyer is as lockdown as they come in the Pac-12.
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