CORVALLIS — The score was a little too close for comfort for Oregon in the second half when suddenly, the tide turned for the Ducks.
Sparked by a slew of turnovers, No. 5 Oregon trounced No. 16 Oregon State 48-24 on Saturday at Reser Stadium in a game the Ducks led just 20-17 early in the third quarter.
The Ducks' defense recorded six turnovers altogether — five in the second half — including four interceptions, pushing Oregon's interception total to an NCAA leading 24 on the season, one off the school record of 25, a mark reached three different seasons but not since 1968.
"That's pretty cool," said safety Brian Jackson, who made his second interception of the season with a diving pick of Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion in the second quarter. "Interceptions are great turnovers. I don't think there's many plays better than an interception. To lead the country in interceptions, that's a great statement."
Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and linebacker Kiko Alonso each made their team co-leading fourth interceptions of the season, and Erick Dargan made his third pick of the year with a nifty grab along the sideline. All three interceptions came in the fourth quarter.
The other two turnovers were fumble recoveries by receiver Keanon Lowe in his role on the punt and kickoff coverage teams in the third quarter.
"Kids just made plays," Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said. "I wish I had some magical answers, but we just made some really, really incredible interceptions. Brian Jackson's pick was very nice and just when I thought that would be the best one we had all night, Erick Dargan's was incredible."
OREGON RUNNING BACK De'Anthony Thomas was flagged for a personal foul penalty in the third quarter after an especially physical tackle by Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer.
Thomas was slammed hard to the turf by Poyer at the end of a run and he appeared to stomp Poyer in the chest as the defender was still on the ground.
"I just gave a little shot. ... I was kind of mad," Thomas said.
Kelly had no comment on the play after the game, saying he didn't see what happened.
As for Poyer, the senior said: "I was just finishing the play. I think he felt I shoved his face a little bit and I felt somebody step on me, but I didn't know who it was. It is part of football, I wasn't mad at him."
AT ONE POINT in the game, the Oregon offense was 4-for-4 on fourth-down plays, with three of those conversions keeping alive drives that resulted in touchdowns.
Overall the Ducks were 5-for-6 on fourth down in the game and are 19-for-27 on the year.
KENJON BARNER'S 198 yards rushing moved the senior running back into second all-time at Oregon with a career total of 3,480 yards, and his 1,624 yards this year is the fourth-best single-season total in school history. His two scores against the Beavers also ties him with LaMichael James for the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season.
THE DUCKS WON their fifth straight Civil War on Saturday and extended a handful of other streaks as well.
The victory was the third straight against the Beavers at Reser Stadium and extended Oregon's all-time record in the series to 60-46-10.
It was also the Ducks' 15th straight win in a non-neutral site away game, the longest streak in the nation. Oregon's last loss on the road was in 2009 at Stanford. That was also the only road loss to a conference opponent in Kelly's four seasons as head coach.
"To be great in this conference we always talk about being able to win on the road and this group has one road loss in four years," Kelly said.
Oregon improved to 14-6 against AP top-25 teams in the Kelly era, including 4-1 this season. Oregon State came into the game ranked No. 16.
And lastly, the Ducks are 11-0 this season and 37-0 under Kelly when leading at halftime. They were up 20-10 at the break against the Beavers on Saturday.