Author's Note: This is Part IV of IV. Part I looked at the 112-year running history of the Civil War between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. While not intended as the definitive authority on the history, it is intended to provide greater details and an overview of this great rivalry between two of the State of Oregon's oldest public institutions of higher ed.
Part II recounted the greatest Civil War game played by Oregon to date. Part III focused on the greatest Civil War win by the Beavers.
In Part IV, we break down Saturday's game and offer a winning prediction.
The Civil War is upon us. There is no neutral ground. Duck or Beaver—those are the only choices available.
By 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, Nov. 29, the 112th Civil War will be history and will settle into the record books as set numbers for passing, rushing, field goals, quarterback efficiencies, and scoring drives. One team will emerge on top. No matter how tough and great the effort, the team coming in second will forever be remembered as the one that lost this Civil War.
This year, the Pac-10 can be divided into two halves: the Top Five—USC, Oregon, Oregon State, California, and Arizona—as the powerhouse teams with winning records, solid coaching and an abundant supply of raw talent. (Arizona is at the dividing line, currently with a 4-4 season.)
The bottom half, politely stated, are the teams that are still beginning their work in progress: Washington, Washington State, Stanford, UCLA, and Arizona State.
Overall, Oregon leads the all-time Civil War series 55-46-10, but has lost two straight to the Beavers for the first time since 1973-74.
Now we have Saturday's Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State. Oregon goes into the game at 8-3 and ranked 19th nationally. The Beavers are ranked 17th, but are also 8-3. With a win Oregon State will go to the Rose Bowl because of their head-to-head win over USC. This scenario provides the Beavers a rematch against Penn State.
The Ducks, however, because of their loss to the Trojans, are playing for another appearance in the Holiday Bowl. While the Holiday Bowl is an excellent bowl and provides a nice ending to a good season, what will be motivating Oregon is pure revenge.
Last year, the Beavers played the spoiler and put an end to Oregon's BCS hopes with a defeat on Oregon's home field. The Ducks haven't forgotten. More than a few of the Oregon faithful have recently uttered the phrase, "Turnabout's fair play."
Against this backdrop, here is the breakdown of the two teams, based on what we know as of Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Oregon Ducks Oregon State Beavers
Date Opponent Result Date Opponent Result
8/30 Washington 44-10W 8/28 Stanford 28-36L
9/6 Utah State 66-24W 9/6 Penn State 14-45L
9/13 Purdue 32-26 OT W 9/13 Hawaii 45-7W
9/20 Boise State 32-37 L 9/20 BYE
9/27 Wash State 63-14W 9/25 USC 27-21W
10/4 USC 10-44L 10/2 Utah 28-31L
10/11 UCLA 31-21W 10/11 Wash State 66-13W
10/18 BYE 10/18 Washington 34-13W
10/25 Arizona State 54-20W 10/25 BYE
11/1 California 16-26L 11/1 Arizona State 27-25W
11/8 Stanford 35-28W 11/8 UCLA 34-6W
11/15 Arizona 55-45W 11/15 California 34-21W
11/22 BYE 11/22 Arizona 19-17W
University of Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti is considered the Dean of Pac-10 Head Coaches and is in his 14th year as HC at Oregon. Coach Bellotti is 7-6 in Civil War games.
Oregon State University Mike Riley is a Corvallis native and grew up watching the Beavers play. This is Riley's second stint (1997-98, 2003-Present) as the Beavers' HC. Riley is 4-3 in the Civil War and has won the last two (2007 38-31 OT, 2006 30-28).
Passing: 190.5 yards per game (seventh in Pac-10)
Rushing: 268.1 yards per game (first in Pac-10)
Total Offense: 458.6 ypg (first in Pac-10)
Scoring: 39.8 points per game (first in Pac-10, 11th in the nation)
OREGON STATE OFFENSE
Passing: 242.7 yards per game (first in Pac-10)
Rushing: 171.5 yards per game (fourth in Pac-10)
Total Offense: 414.2 ypg (third in Pac-10)
Scoring: 32.4 ppg (fourth in the Pac-10)
Oregon's offense will most likely be run by Jeremiah Masoli. The sophomore QB is reported to be at full strength after receiving accolades for his performance to date. Justin Roper is now healthy and ready to return to the field if needed.
Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount give Oregon one of the premier running back tandems in the country. The Ducks lead the Pac-10 and are sixth in NCAA Division I-A in rushing, averaging 268.1 yards per game. Oregon has rushed for at least 200 yards in 10 of its 11 games.
Terrence Scott (40-533-4) leads the Ducks in receiving, while Jeff Maehl (32-341-4) is a possession receiver. Scott and Maehl are also rushing options for Oregon. Chris Harper (9-122-2) moved from QB to slot receiver at midseason and is becoming an effective surprise weapon.
Tight end Ed Dickson (31-398-2) was quiet for several games but emerged in the Arizona game with seven catches.
Center Max Unger leads an outstanding O-line. Starting at left tackle his first two seasons, he made a successful transition to center. Fenuki Tupou (6'6", 330 pounds) is a load at left tackle. Guards Mark Lewis and Bo Thran and tackle C.E. Kaiser round out the starting lineup. This season, Oregon has only allowed 15 sacks, tied for the second fewest in the Pac-10.
Oregon State was led by Lyle Moevao through the first nine games of the season. Moevao is a dual-threat, blue-collar signal collar. He is just as effective with his arm as he is with his feet. He can also throw a crushing block on a fly sweep. For the Civil War, Moevao is questionable since suffering a shoulder injury in the Arizona State game two weeks ago.
Sean Canfield will likely start in the QB position on Saturday. Canfield is an effective backup.
Also likely to be out is national standout tailback Jacquizz "Quizz" Rodgers. Quizz leads the Pac-10 in rushing (1,253 yards, 4.8 ypc, 11 touchdowns) and is ranked 12th nationally at 113.9 ypg.
Filling for Rodgers are Ryan McCants (282 yards, two TDs) and Jeremy Francis (85 yards, one TD). Flanker James Rodgers (Quizz's brother) (352 yards, 9.0 ypc, five TDs) is dangerous on the fly sweep.
The Beavers do an excellent job of protecting their QB, in allowing only 11 sacks, the fewest in the Pac-10. The OSU O-line has Alex Linnenkohl at center, Gregg Peat, right guard, Andy Levitre, left tackle, and Adam Speer, left guard. Tavita Thompson returned to the right tackle position after a one-year NCAA suspension. Mike Remmers splits time with Thompson.
OREGON DEFENSE OREGON STATE DEFENSE
Passing Defense: 253.5 ypg (10th in Pac-10) 177.6 ypg (fourth in Pac-10)
Rushing Defense: 122.2 ypg (third in Pac-10) 112.0 ypg (second in Pac-10)
Total Defense: 375.7 ypg (seventh in Pac-10) 289.6 ypg (second in Pac-10, 13th in nation)
Scoring Defense: 27.1 ppg (sixth in Pac-10) 21.4 ppg (tied for second in Pac-10)
Sacks: 33 (second in Pac-10, ninth in nation) 31 (third in Pac-10, tied for 14th in nation)
Interceptions: 12 (tied for fourth in Pac-10) 12 (tied for fourth in Pac-10)
The strength of Oregon's front four is at end with Nick Reed and Will Tukuafu. Reed leads the Pac-10 with 10 sacks, and Tukuafu has seven. Reed and Tukuafu also rank two-three in the Pac-10 in tackles for loss (16.5 and 16). Tackles Ra-Shon Harris and Cole Linehan are solid run-stuffers. Michael Speed, Kenny Rowe, and Tonio Celotto provide depth.
Collectively, the Beavers have an outstanding defensive front. The leaders are ends Slade Norris (7.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss) and Victor Butler (7.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss). Butler is third in the Pac-10 in both categories.
Junior college transfer Stephen Paea (4.5 sacks) is a key addition at tackle. Tackle Pernell Booth is a load at 302 pounds. Kevin Frahm, Sioeli Nau, Ben Terry, and Brennan Olander are in the front four rotation.
GAME TIME: 4 p.m., PST, Saturday
WHERE: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon (OSU)
TICKETS: Game is sold out (Has been for months)
Television: Versus Network, national broadcast
Weather forecast: 53 degrees and cloudy
This Civil War has every element for motivating both teams to play harder than either team has played all year (not that either team hasn't played hard). The Beavers haven't been to the Rose Bowl in 43 years. Oregon is seeking revenge for having lost at home last year and having their BCS ambitions ruined.
The teams are evenly matched on both sides of the ball and have equal winning records coming into the game. The three losses for both Ducks and Beavers were at critical moments, and each team has their explanations for why they lost what, when. The end result is 8-3 all.
This game has the earmarks of being a low-scoring, close game from beginning to end, with the likelihood of going into double overtime. Both Oregon and Oregon State run options of the Spread Offense. Both teams are capable of making lightning fast strikes and burn off 65, 75, or 90-yards in less than 45 seconds.
Equally impressive are the defenses. Neither team has sole ownership of the Pac-10 records for this season.
The team with the final possession is the likely winner. Field goals, two-point conversions, and special teams will likely provide the definitive edge. Look for trick plays and deception from both teams. This will be one wild game.
On paper the Ducks have a slight edge. Saturday we'll see which team does a better job of finding the other's weak spots.
FINAL SCORE: Oregon Ducks 31 Oregon State Beavers 28
(POLL Answer: Six of the 10 Civil War ties were 0-0, including the infamous 1983 Toilet Bowl. The remaining four were: 1913 10-10, 1914 3-3, 1956 14-14 and 1960 14-14.