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Oregon and Oregon State Meet in 121st Civil War Game

Arizona v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

A bitter taste remains for current players on the Oregon Ducks after last season’s Civil War against the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis. With bowl eligibility secured, the Ducks will look to dish a little payback to the Beavers in Eugene.

Oregon (6-5) undoubtedly missed Justin Herbert after suffering a broken collarbone injury. His return last week against Arizona came as a relief amongst Ducks’ fans and the coaching staff. Autzen Stadium erupted after he was announced as the starter.

In return, Herbert reignited the Ducks’ offense in a 48-28 victory over the Wildcats. Herbert threw for 235 yards and one touchdown. He did throw one interception which initially went for a pick-six, but Dane Cruikshank got called for taunting before crossing the end zone.

Royce Freeman benefitted from Herbert’s return in a big way with four touchdowns and 135 yards rushing. Tony Brooks-James contributed 124 yards on the ground as Oregon piled a total of 353 yards rushing amongst the tailbacks.

Perhaps the biggest jolt came from the Oregon defense, stifling rising quarterback Khalil Tate who threw two interceptions. With Oregon back at full strength offensively, the defense rode the momentum and made critical stops.

For a vanilla offense seen in recent games, Herbert immediately brought back the Ducks’ offense to the high-flying, up-tempo style accustomed to Oregon Football. Herbert did appear to look rusty with a few passes but did his part to help the Ducks win the day.

As a result, the Ducks secured bowl eligibility after missing out last season. The sixth win should come as a relief to Willie Taggart in his first year as head coach. To get a bowl game is enormous for Taggart considering the roster he had to start.

Taggart is expecting a decent recruiting class since coming to Oregon. To secure a bowl game shows he has Oregon on the right track in return to the national spotlight.

With a bowl game secured, Oregon does not face the pressure of a “must-win” situation in the final regular season game. The Ducks can play with swagger on Saturday against the Beavers who are a good team despite their record.

For Oregon State (1-10), their bowl game came last year in the Civil War. A 34-24 victory over Oregon not only snapped a losing streak in the series but prevented the Ducks from any possibility of a bowl game.

Oregon State’s current season has gone off the rails from the start. Halfway through the season, Gary Andersen departed as head coach, stunning the entire program.

The Beavers could have just spiraled out of control but instead chose to unite and not be pushovers in the Pac-12. Spirited contests against Colorado, Stanford, and Cal showed how good Oregon State could be. Against the Cardinal at home, the Beavers deserved to win the game, but a late turnover proved costly in a 15-14 loss.

Lopsided losses to the Arizona schools have Oregon State limping into the game against Oregon. Expect a physical game from the Beavers who will be playing for pride in a down season.

Darell Garretson leads the Beavers at quarterback with over 1,300 yards passing. At tailback, Ryan Nall has carried the load with eight touchdowns and just under 800 yards rushing on the season. Noah Togiai is a top target for Garretson with 461 yards receiving.

An interesting twist is at hand in this year’s Civil War as a former Duck will be on the Beavers sideline. Thomas Tyner returned to football this season after injuries forced him to retire medically on Oregon. Upon recruitment in high school, Tyner thought about signing with the Beavers before ultimately picking the Ducks.

Tyner will be facing former teammates on Oregon when he gets the call. He is not the same running back as seen with the Ducks but has shown flashes of how good he is. Against Stanford, he scored a rushing touchdown, an opponent he delivered damage to at his time with Oregon. On Saturday, he could be a potential x-factor in keeping the game close.

With Herbert as the starter, Oregon is averaging about 49 points per game. The Beavers are allowing about 40 points per game. Charles Nelson will look to factor into the game. He was just one of many disappointed players walking off the field last year at Oregon State.

The Civil War is nothing but civil. Forget about Oregon being the favorites as stats do not matter in a rivalry game. Oregon and Oregon State will battle until the end as altercations will undoubtedly come throughout the game.

In the end, expect big brother to beat little brother.