Oregon and Oregon State head into the 120th edition of the Civil War with momentum. Who saw this coming?
The Ducks (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) rallied Saturday for a 30-28 victory at No. 12 Utah on Justin Herbert’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Darren Carrington with two seconds left.
In Corvallis, the Beavers (3-8, 2-6) rolled to a 42-17 victory over Arizona behind Marcus McMaryion’s career-high five touchdown passes to snap a five-game losing streak.
“We’ve got something to build off of,” McMaryion told Beavers Sports Radio Network. “Civil War, you never know what’s gonna happen. It’s always a toss-up.”
Not lately. Oregon has won eight consecutive games in a rivalry that dates back to 1894.
OREGON VS. OREGON STATE
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Reser Stadium
Records: Oregon (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12), OSU (3-8, 2-6)
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Series: Oregon leads the overall series 63-46-10 and has won eight consecutive Civil War matchups
For the first time since 1991, both teams are guaranteed to finish the season with a losing record, and a bowl game will not be on the line for either team for the first time since 1996.
Actually, Oregon remains a longshot for a bowl game with a fifth win, but that unlikely scenario would transpire only if there weren't enough bowl-elilgible teams to fill the 41 bowl games.
Realistically, the Ducks and Beavers will play their final games of the 2016 season on Saturday at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.
“It’s a great opportunity and I got my first taste of this rivalry last year and it’s as special as everybody says it is without a doubt,” second-year OSU coach Gary Andersen said.
While Andersen is concluding Season 2 of a rebuild, fourth-year Oregon coach Mark Helfrich could be coaching in his final game with the Ducks.
Despite the upset at Utah, Helfrich has been on the hot seat for weeks as speculation about his job status continues to swirl.
“That’s the nature of the beast,” Helfrich, who led Oregon to the national championship game less than two years ago, told the Register Guard after the Utah game. “Ten percent love you regardless, 10 percent hate you regardless and 80 percent swing vote.”
The Ducks are 13-11 since the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, and that’s probably not good enough to save Helfrich’s job regardless what happens in the Civil War.
OSU, which was 2-10 in Andersen’s first season and 0-9 in the Pac-12, has been much more competitive in 2016 and has won two conference games.
The Beavers staged a furious second-half comeback in last year’s Civil War before losing 52-42 at Autzen Stadium in Eugune.
“I’m excited. I’m trying to get revenge,” OSU running back Ryan Nall said. “It’s been a while since the Beavers won and I think it’s our time.”