Eugene plays host to the 2017 edition of the Civil War on Saturday afternoon. Oregon State have generally played second-fiddle to Oregon, but last season they caught them on a down year and pulled off a 34-24 win against the Ducks. It was the first time Oregon State won the Civil War since 2007. Jonathan Stewart was playing for the Ducks back then. Stewart continues to churn out solid performances in the NFL, but he came up short on that day.
So, despite it being a down year for Oregon in 2016, it must have sure felt nice for Oregon State to finally snap the losing streak against the Ducks. That was then, though, and the Ducks are starting to pick themselves up off the ground. Mark Helfrich got shown the door soon after the loss, and in came from Willie Taggart from South Florida. It was a perfect hire at Oregon and a match made in heaven.
Taggart was familiar with the up-tempo offense at USF, so his playbook translated right over to Eugene. The key is having a quarterback who is good enough to run it effectively. Oregon didn’t have that for a big chunk of the 2017 campaign. Justin Herbert broke his collarbone against Cal and the sky was falling down on their year.
Thankfully for the Ducks, Herbert was able to get back on the field year, as he returned last week vs Arizona. The offense didn’t miss a beat, with Oregon ringing Arizona up for 48 points in a 48-28 win. The presence of Herbert alone paid off for the Ducks. The running lanes and opportunities on the ground opened up, as the Arizona defense had to contend with the run and pass. Without Herbert, the Oregon offense was one-dimensional, handing the ball off virtually every down.
Royce Freeman is a heck of a running back. Handing the ball off to him usually isn’t the worst idea. However, if the defense doesn’t have to worry about any form of a passing game, it’s pretty easy to plug up lanes. Everything is wide open under Herbert at QB. The playbook shrinks severely when he isn’t active on the field. Herbert has passed for 10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions with a 68% completion percentage.
He has deceptive speed to keep defenses on their toes as well. If you doubt his running ability, he’s going to take off and be running down the sidelines. Herbert has ran for 156 yards and 4 touchdowns. Note that he missed five games, six if you want to include the Cal game where he missed 3 quarters. He’s led Oregon to over 35 points in every game this year. We’ll see how he handles the Oregon State defense in the Civil War. Head below for our free Oregon State vs. Oregon pick.
Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks Betting Odds:
Oregon State +25(-110)
vs. Oregon -25(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Oregon State vs. Oregon Pick:
Oregon will attack Oregon State on the ground in this one, leading to deep throws from Herbert. It’s not exactly a secret, but try and stop it. Herbert came back after missing five straight games and put up 48 points on Arizona. He passed for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns, one passing and rushing. The ground game pounded the Wildcats for 355 yards. They will make this aspect of the game look really easy against Oregon State. We discovered how bad Oregon State was against the run in Week 1. Against Portland State, they allowed 301 rushing yards. The Beavers were nearly upset, but pulled out a 35-32 win. With Herbert starting, Oregon have averaged 49.3 points per game.
Oregon State are surrendering 228.9 rushing yards per game for 120th in the FBS. We just saw what Oregon can do against a defense that ranks 87th against the run. Add in the fact that this is a rivalry game, and Oregon want revenge from last season. The ensuing result is going to be a massive day on the ground for Freeman and company. Royce Freeman will be playing in his final game in Eugene. Watch for him to go off in his curtain call on campus. The pass defense for Oregon State hasn’t offered too much resistance either, as they’re 82nd in the nation against the pass.
The Beavers are just looking for a Pac-12 win in the Civil War. They are 1-10 on the year, without a conference victory on their resume. Fifth-year senior Darrell Garretson has passed for 5 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in seven starts. Not the prettiest stat-line. He will be up against a Ducks’ defense who are vulnerable against the passing game, though. If anything is going to keep Oregon State in the game, they’re going to need to find it with Garretson.
Ryan Nall has gashed them on the ground the last two years, but Oregon is much improved against the run. Oregon are 88th in the FBS vs the pass so they’ll need to make their bread there. I think they may be able to put a few drives together, but it’s not going to be enough against Oregon in Eugene. If Oregon lays on the gas pedal, they should at least hit 45 points in this contest. That would leave approximately 20ish points for Oregon State to cover. The Beavers are averaging 21.6 points per game, and have scored 23, 28, and 24 points the last three weeks. In other words, you can see where the spread on this game came from. The spread should be tight, but it should find a way to get OVER 63 points. A final score in the ballpark of 47-21.
PICK: OVER 63 (-110)