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Civil War Preview

Analyzing this weekend’s matchup between Oregon and Oregon State

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Week 13 Weekend Matchup: Oregon Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium

When: November 26, 2016 at 1 P.M. PT

Vegas Over/Under: Oregon -3

After a wild finish at Rice-Eccles Stadium, culminating in a win for the Oregon, the Ducks will head north to Corvallis, to face their cross town rival, the Oregon State Beavers in the annual Civil War game. Currently, Oregon stands at 4-7 overall this season, but a crucial win this weekend could result in the Ducks getting into a possible bowl game.

Meanwhile, the Oregon State Beavers, under second year Head Coach Gary Andersen, are having yet another rough year. So far this season, the Beavers are 3-8 overall (2-6 in the Pac-12 North) which ranks them dead last.

Overall, the Ducks and Beavers have battled each other 119 times, with the Ducks being the victor 63 times (ten of the 119 ended in ties). In addition, the Ducks have out dueled the Beavers over the last eight games, and if they can pull off another win this weekend, it will establish a new record for the most consecutive wins in the Civil War series.

With both teams struggling this season, the 120th Civil War could pan out to be the most interesting and competitive yet.

So what does each team need to do in order to capture a crucial victory on Saturday?

FOR OREGON: Going into last weekend’s matchup, the Ducks were heavily doubted, but came out on the field looking like an entirely different team, putting up an amazing effort both offensively and defensively. Oregon will need to bring that same game-plan this weekend, by scoring quickly and frequently, creating turnovers, minimizing penalties, and holding the Beavers offense to less than 30 points and 400 offensive yards.

Freshman quarterback Justin Herbert will need to command his troops and rally the Oregon Ducks offense. In six games, Herbert has completed 146-227 passes, gaining 1,756 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Herbert has also had to scramble away from pressure 56 times, gaining 166 yards, and scoring two rushing touchdowns.

The Ducks will also need to rely heavily on their ground game, which has been very successful in years past when playing Oregon State. One of the Ducks’ biggest offensive weapons is Royce Freeman, who arguably had his best game last weekend against Utah, since the injury against Virginia. Look for running back Tony Brooks-James to also have a standout game.

So far this season, Freeman and Brooks-James have combined for 241 carries, gaining 1,540 yards, and scoring 17 rushing touchdowns.

In addition, to the ground game, the Ducks’ air core will need to strike frequently and with deadly with precision. Receivers Jalen Brown, Darren Carrington, Johnny Mundt, and Charles Nelson have proven to be key for the Oregon offense (combining for 126 receptions, gaining 1,671 yards, and 15 touchdowns.

However, one of the Ducks’ top receivers, Pharaoh Brown, is currently listed as uncertain for this weekend’s game. So far this season Brown has hauled in 33 receptions, gaining 426 yards, and five touchdowns.

It is no secret that the Ducks’ have been out flanked on defense, but after last weekend’s performance, things are looking up. Defensive leaders Ugo Amadi, Brenden Schooler, and Troy Dye have to find a better way to motivate the defensive players, with a goal of penetrating the offensive line to put additional pressure on the quarterback, creating additional turnovers, and limiting the Beavers to less than 30 points and 400 yards on the battlefield.

FOR OREGON STATE: Even though the Oregon State Beavers have struggled this season, the team has recently started to play with pride and they have also acquired the right skill players to make this a closer than expected matchup.

In addition, Oregon State has finally found a quarterback worthy of building a program around in redshirt sophomore Marcus McMaryion. So far this season, McMaryion has completed 88-150 passing attempts, gaining 1,185 yards, nine touchdown, and five interceptions. However, McMaryion has not faced the pressure to force him to have to scramble out of the pocket, yet.

The Beavers offense also makes good use of their running game. Running backs Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce have combined for 207 carries, gaining 1,247 yards, and scoring 13 touchdowns.

The majority of the Oregon State offense has come from their outstanding wide receivers, who seem to haul in deep touchdown passes time after time. Wide receivers Victor Bolden Jr. and Timmy Hernandez have combined for 59 receptions, gaining 745 yards, and scoring three touchdowns. However, other top receivers, Seth Collins and Jordan Villamin, are listed as questionable for this weekend’ game (combining for 56 receptions, gaining 667 yards, and scoring two touchdowns).

Also, look for running backs Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce to take some snaps while lined-up as wide receivers, after having repeated success in this formation this season. Nall and Pierce have combined for 39 receptions, gaining 300 yards, and scoring three touchdowns.

Lastly, the Beavers’ defense has been somewhat impressive as of late (ranking 88 in the nation) by only giving up 27 points and 433 yards per game. This may lead to yet another battle which the outcome is decided by the defense.

Prediction: Although the Beavers have the talent and heart to beat a struggling Ducks team, there is no getting past how improved the Ducks’ defense looked last week, and the talent they have in young Justin Herbert. Look for the Oregon Ducks to capture their ninth straight Civil War victory by a score of 42-24.