It is here. Civil War week. The final one is for the foreseeable future as Oregon State is still unsure of its schedule, and Oregon heads to the Big Ten. This is going to be an epic Civil War. Not only is it the final one in the Pac-12 era, but there is SO much on the line here for the Ducks.
Oregon is in a pretty good spot right now to try and sneak into the College Football Playoff. They may be on the outside looking in, last at number six before their win over Arizona State. A win against Oregon State will catapult them to the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas to take on the Washington Huskies. The same Huskies that defeated them a few weeks ago.
The importance of that game can’t be understated. While no Pac-12 team currently has a spot in the College Football Playoff, an Oregon win in that game would round out a really impressive schedule with just one loss. At that point, Michigan or Ohio State will each have a loss. Florida State lost its starting quarterback, and they still have to play Florida and whoever will be their opponent in the ACC championship game.
There is no reason a Pac-12 team should be left out of the CFP, but Oregon has to at least get to the conference championship game first, and Oregon State could ruin that. Let’s not forget that these two teams despise each other. We recently wrote about the game’s history and included some epic stories about the rivalry.
In the latest AP Poll, this game will feature #15 vs #6, and there is no reason that the 15th-ranked Beavers can’t pull off the upset. Here are three reasons why the Beavers will spoil the season of the Oregon Ducks.
The Oregon State Running Game
Controlling the clock will be huge in this game, and Damien Martinez will be a huge part. Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith talked about his team’s clock management against Washington State.
“We played our brand of football. We wanted to shrink this game. Time of possession was huge in our favor, but they finished with two more points than us.”
In that game, the Beavs had the ball for more than 15 minutes more than the Huskies, and someone Washington still walked away with a win. You don’t lose many ball games when the time of possession leans in your favor that much, and if they do that for a second straight week, they should walk out with a win. Martinez went off against Washington; he rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 4.7 yards on the ground.
The Defense can hold the Ducks
Washington has just as explosive of an offense as Oregon, and the Beavers didn’t have an issue shutting them down for most of the game. Washington managed just 22 points, which should be good enough for any offense to outscore. Oregon State needs another performance like that to win this game.
Michael Penix Jr. had his worst game of the season; they limited him to 162 passing yards, and he had less than a 50 percent completion rating. They held Washington’s lead back to under 100 yards and did their best to keep star wideout Rome Odunze under wraps until the end of it all.
Oregon State and Oregon are very similar defensively, and I don’t see why the Beavers will have an issue keeping Oregon in check just as they did against Washington.
The most significant aspect of this matchup will be mental. Oregon State has nothing else to play for after this game. They are eliminated from the Pac-12 Championship. The Ducks could get caught looking ahead at their potential game in Las Vegas, which is a dangerous game to play. We must remember that these are college athletes, young men, and their priorities can be misplaced sometimes.
The Ducks have to manage injuries, usage, and the risk of their guys thinking about a game down the line. Oregon State is going to leave it all on the field. This game will mean much more than any bowl game that they might get, and you can guarantee that this is the biggest game of the year in their season.
It could be the final Civil War for a very long time, and I see no reason why the Beavers can’t pull off an upset that will be talked about in Oregon State lore for a very, very long time.
Give me the Beavers winning this game, 28-26.