It All Comes To This: How The "Civil War" Will Be Decided
Throughout the 2009 college football season, one of the stories lost in the shuffle has been the incredible season that one particular team from the Pac-10 is having, and no I don't mean USC, Stanford, or Oregon. I mean the Beavers of Oregon State.
Oregon State has been one of the most electrifying football teams nationwide all season long. The tandem of the Rodgers brother, Jacquizz and James, has burned every team that they have played all season long.
Sean Canfield has thrown for 2797 yards and 19 touchdowns to go along with Jacquizz Rodgers' 1313 rushing yards, 436 receiving yards, and 14 passing yards. Rodgers has accumulated a total of 20 touchdowns throughout the season as well.
In the receiving unit, Canfield's favorite target has been Jacquizz Rodgers' brother and published poetry writer, James Rodgers. James has caught 77 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns. Another great asset to James is his run ability as well. In addition to his receiving numbers, James has rushed for 260 yards and one touchdown.
Now, this article is not solely on the Oregon State Beavers because I understand that there are two teams battling on that field. The brilliant mind of Chip Kelly battling the intricate mind of Mike Riley. These are two brilliant coaches, that is what any fan needs to understand first and foremost.
The thursday night duel between the two Oregon teams will have speed at a premium. The Rodgers brothers, Jeremiah Masoli, and LaMichael James will all look to utilize their speed on the surface of the Ducks' field. Oregon has already established a dominant home-field advantage this season, just ask Pete Caroll and his USC Trojans. In this game, defense is the key obviously. Both of these teams have electrifying players as we have mentioned, it comes down to what team will be able to contain better.
Neither team's defense has been "top notch" this year. Other than a 34-7 schlacking delivered to Portland State, Oregon State has not held one opponent to single digits yet. In fact, the Beavers have allowed 20 or more points in 6 of their 11 games. Yet, after the shoot out with USC that ended in a 42-36 USC victory on October 24th, the Beavers have given up 20 points only once.
Oregon State's three losses this year have all come to good teams: Cincinnati, Arizona, and USC. I bring this up to show that even against very good teams, such as Cincinnati, the Beavers offense does not get shut down. 18 against Cincinnati, 32 against Arizona, and 36 against USC.
In 5 of the Beavers' past 6 games, they have scored 30 points or more, against teams such as Stanford, California, and USC. This is an offense that is rarely held down, even by the best of defenses.
Now we move over to the green and gold, the quack attack, so to speak. First and foremost, I want to say that I hope LeGarrette Blounte gets a chance to play in this game. What the young man did was very wrong and I am in no way attempting to justify it. I do however believe in second chances. Michael Vick is slowly but surely getting his second chance and Blounte is on the cusp of getting his as well.
Now, back to the actual game, I must be fair in pointing out that the Oregon defense, is simply not much better than Oregon State. Oregon has experienced some crucial injuries in the secondary that could severely affect how the Ducks will attempt to contain James Rodgers.
Arguably, the Ducks' best defensive performance was in a game that they lost, the infamous September 3rd game against Boise State. Kellen Moore, Jeremy Avery, Titus Young, and Austin Pettis have created an electric offense for Chris Peterson throughout the season, an offense that was limited to 19 points against the Ducks, by far their lowest output of the season.
Now, to any Boise fan that is reading this, I do understand that Oregon was supposed to win that game and I am by no means taking anything away from the Broncos' victory. What I am saying, however, was that during that game the Ducks D was all over Avery, Pettis, and Young. Hounding them on each snap. It was an impressive performance.
A few weeks later, a hot California Golden Bears team that was ranked number 6 in the country at the time came in to play the Ducks. Similar to Pete Carroll, Jeff Tedford had to console his players after they were delivered at 42-3 beatdown by the Ducks. Simply put, Autzen Stadium is not an easy place to win a football game.
Still, the Ducks' defense cooled off greatly. After the California game, they delievered another beatdown, this time to Washington State by a score of 52-6, and since then, the defense hasn't been the same.
In the last three games, the Ducks have given up a total of 113 points, 37.6 per game. In their first 8 games they only gave up 137 points, an average of 17 a game. Basic facts? This defense has been struggling heavily lately. What's worse, these three games were against Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona State. Stanford is understandable, but Arizona and Arizona State?
Oregon is by no means receiving a break now that they receive the Rodgers brothers and Canfield. The key to this team is going to be all about containment on defense. They will not be able to shut them down, but they could however limit them.
The ultimate keys to this game for each team is the quarterback. Masoli and Canfield are the leaders of these teams, even if they have other stars around them. Oregon's crucial key is going to be their crowd. As Kirk Herbstreit once said, "This place isn't in the SEC, Big 12, or Big 10, but it is just as intimidating as anywhere else in the country." I've never actually been in the stadium, but when you watch a game, you get the same feeling.
In the end, this is going to be one of the greatest games in "Civil War" history. I predict a high scoring game. My final prediction? Beavers stomp in to Autzen Stadium and march out with Roses on their mind. My final score is Oregon State 38-Oregon 34. I think Jeremiah Masoli will pick apart the Beavers defense with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown to boot. I predict Jacquizz Rodgers to have over 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns and James Rodgers to have over 50 receiving yards and 50 rushing yards as well as a touchdown. I also see Sean Canfield having at least 250 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.
Granted these could be far-fetched predictions, they do have research behind them. As a devout Ohio State Buckeyes fan, Im sure I speak for many others when I say that both of these teams frighten me. I love the scarlett and gray and I've also become a big fan of the Orange and Black Beavers. This team is electric and fun to watch, and this "Civil War" will be the same way. In the end, it will be a battle of the OSU's in the Rose Bowl.
God Bless you all.
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