The great Civil War between the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers has long been an entertaining battle for both programs, but usually only the school in Eugene benefits by the result. The Beavers have been slipping for years, and 2015 was the icing on the cake as they finished 0-9 in Pac-12 conference play, ouch.
Oregon’s season was a rollercoaster ride in 2015, peeks and valleys alongside a great deal of screaming and little kids throwing up. Yet, they still would not allow OSU to grab their lone win in conference on the last day of the 2015 regular season. The Ducks won 52-42 to add to their long, successful legacy against their neighbors. The head-to-head series is led by the Ducks who own a 63-46-10 record against Oregon State.
The Beavers struggled from the outset last season, recording just two wins on their way to a 2-10 mark, including 0-9 in the Pac-12. To make matters worse, they allowed the most points during conference play, 398 (33.6), while scoring the least total points for the regular season, 228 (19.0).
It was a very sad season for OSU’s program, years after stars like Jaquizz Rodgers, Chad Whoever, TJ Whoseyourmama and of course, Steven Jackson exited for professional stardom.
2015 did not see one player register 1,000 yards of any kind, not even a starting quarterback. Truly, a season to never remember for the Beavers. 2016 can only get better, right?
Ryan Nall solidified his starting role for 2016 after his breakout performance against the Ducks last season. The running back trampled all over the defense to the tune of 19 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown.
The sophomore will be the bell cow this year, so it will be interesting to see how he handles 200-300 carries on the season. If he can handle the load with his speed and power running style, OSU may be floating around the .500 mark.
NEW COWBOY IN TOWN:
Gary Anderson is going to start junior quarterback Darrell Garretson who transferred from Uath State. The new trend in college football, the transfer quarterback, is certainly working in favor for a great deal of Pac-12 team’s this season, including the Ducks.
WHEN OREGON STATE IS ON DEFENSE:
Cornerback Treston Decoud alongside linebackers Caleb Saulo and Bright Ugwoegbu will be the keys to the Beavers defense in 2016, if their is indeed one on the field. Last season, Saulo finished second on the team in tackles with 69 and will be relied on in the middle linebacker position of the OSU 3-4 defense.
The Beavers also have freshman defensive tackle Elu Ayden who could quickly become a mainstay for the head coach. When Anderson left the Wisconsin Badgers two years ago, Ayden was the lone player to follow him to Corvallis. He will prove his worth this season.
WHO TO WATCH:
Former quarterback of the Beavers, Seth Collins has switched over to wide receiver for the 2016 campaign. The explosive athlete has been receiving rave reviews all spring, but more importantly he understands the offense from all angles. Late in games, the OSU offense can rely on his knowledge, but his athleticism and speed will open eyes.
Last year, Collins completed just 83 of 160 passes for 935 yards, including six touchdowns and four interceptions. Clearly the signal caller spot was not for him, but he did impressively rush for 575 yards on 108 carries (5.3 YPC) with eight touchdowns, exhibiting his athleticism.
Not to pile on the Beavers, but they leave me very little room to maneuver. Oregon State will put up a fight as they usually do from Reser Stadium in Corvallis. However, it will not be enough in the end as the Ducks will squeak past OSU on the back of Royce Freeman.
The Heisman candidate will solidify his ticket for New York City and the trophy presentation on ESPN with 288 yards rushing and four touchdowns. It will be hard to slow him down from the start, as he will rush for 197 yards in the first half alone.
The Ducks will have trouble slowing down Nall, as they did last season, and Collins will add a touchdown of his own both throwing and receiving. The trick play will come early in the third quarter with the Beavers nearing desperation time.
In the end, the Ducks will prevail 49-27 to earn themselves an invitation to the Pac-12 Championship Game, cruising to the Pac-12 North Title. The Ducks will close out the Pac-12 regular season in fine fashion, similar to last year’s Cival War in Eugene.