CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris put himself in Oregon State's shoes when contemplating Saturday's Civil War.
If he were a Beaver, Harris says that right about now he'd be thinking: We've got to give it our best shot. They're No. 1 in the nation and we want to knock them off their high horse.
Yep, that about covers it.
With the BCS title game nearly within grasp, there's one thing that top-ranked Oregon can be sure of: The Beavers are going to bring it. Oregon State (5-6, 4-4 Pac-10) needs one more win to become bowl eligible and avoid a losing season for the first time since 2005.
And there's no better time to play the ultimate spoiler's role than in the regular-season finale between the two longtime rivals.
This is it, said Beavers senior cornerback James Dockery. We've got to figure out a way.
It won't be easy. Oregon State has had an uneven season at best, and has dropped three of its last four games, including a disheartening loss to lowly Washington State and a 38-0 shutout by Stanford last weekend.
After breaking in new quarterback Ryan Katz this season, the Beavers were hurt when they lost senior receiver James Rodgers to a season-ending knee injury in early October. Rodgers, the older brother of running back Jacquizz Rodgers, was averaging 176.8 yards of total offense before he was injured.
Little brother Quizz says his own season hasn't met his expectations. He is averaging just under 100 yards rushing per game, down from his average of about 111 last year.
I don't think I've played to my potential, he said. Three games (out of) four, I haven't gotten into the end zone. I gotta change that this week.
Photos:Ducks fans show their colors
The Beavers have had an admittedly difficult schedule. Three of Oregon State's losses came to opponents in the top 10 this week -- TCU, Stanford and Boise State. But the Beavers also beat Arizona, which at the time was ranked ninth, and Southern California, which was No. 20 when the Trojans fell in Corvallis 36-7.
We know we're going to get their best shot. They were home against SC, so we talked today about how we're going to get that team that played SC, Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews said.
They're not just going to roll over and let the season slip away. They need that sixth win to get bowl eligible, so we know they're not going to just give this game up.
Quizz's counterpart on the Ducks, running back LaMichael James, is having a season that has put him in the race for the Heisman Trophy.
James is averaging a BCS-level best 154.8 yards rushing a game for Oregon (11-0, 8-0 Pac-10). He is also leading the nation in scoring with an average of 12 points a game.
The sophomore has rushed for 1,548 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, even though he sat out the opener under a one-game suspension. Coach Chip Kelly imposed the penalty after James pleaded guilty to harassment in connection with an offseason altercation with his ex-girlfriend.
James teams with quarterback Darron Thomas on Oregon's blazingly fast spread-option offense, which is averaging 50.5 points, a national best. The offense also leads the country with 541.7 total yards per game.
Oregon's defense has been just as good, at least in the second half of games. The team has allowed just 64 points after halftime this year, and only 14 in the fourth quarter.
The Ducks, who have already claimed at least a share of the Pac-10 title, have shown vulnerability just once this season, when they squeaked by California 15-13.
Last season was arguably the most hyped Civil War.
Dubbed the War of the Roses, either team would clinch a Rose Bowl berth with a win. The Ducks claimed the trip to Pasadena with a 37-33 victory.
The year before, the Beavers were headed to the Rose Bowl with a victory in the final game, but the Ducks romped to a 65-38 win in Corvallis.
We know we're going to get their best game. We're going to get a lights-out performance, Oregon linebacker Spencer Paysinger said. It's just going to be playing against that home crowd of theirs, they're going to be hyped and they probably have some animosity towards us. We know we're going to get their best shot and we just have to be ready for them.
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