Focus shifts to Arizona rematch for Ducks
CORVALLIS — It didn’t take long for attention to turn to Arizona after Oregon was done mauling Oregon State Saturday night in the Civil War at Reser Stadium.
The Ducks’ 47-19 victory against the Beavers was their seventh straight since losing to the Wildcats on Oct. 2.
They’ll get a chance to avenge their one-and-only loss this season next Friday when Oregon (11-1) and Arizona (10-2) play in the Pac-12 championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
“It’s not so much getting back at them as it is we want to compete well,” Oregon running back Royce Freeman said. “I feel like we didn’t compete well the first time we played them. They are a good team and it should be fun.”
The Ducks lost 31-24 to the Wildcats in that game at Autzen Stadium. It was their second straight loss to Arizona, which won the Pac-12 South on Friday when it beat Arizona State and UCLA lost to Stanford.
“We’re just going to play our game,” Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “Arizona did a great job setting and dictating tempo in the last meeting. If we go out and execute to the best of our abilities and execute the game plans that are put in front of us we should hopefully be successful.”
MIA UO: The Ducks were without a handful of regular players on offense Saturday. Starting senior center Hroniss Grasu missed his second straight game with a lower leg injury suffered against Utah on November 8.
Also out against Oregon State were a pair of in-state players in wide receiver Keanon Lowe and running back Thomas Tyner, both Portland natives.
Tyner missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. The sophomore, who was seen at practice this week wearing a walking boot on his right foot, is third on the team with 387 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
Lowe, a senior with 25 receptions for 359 yards and four TDs, missed a pair of games due to an injury earlier this season. He returned to start the last three.
Lowe’s injury didn’t prevent him from being one of Oregon’s four captains and taking part in the pregame coin toss.
DUCK DOMINATION: Oregon has dominated the Civil War for the last half decade. Saturday’s win was the seventh straight for the Ducks, and ensured that no current player has ever lost to Oregon State, including offensive linemen Hamani Stevens.
The senior, who started the first 10 games of this season at guard and the last two at center, was a redshirting freshman in 2008 when the Ducks’ current winning streak began with a 65-38 win in Corvallis, when a victory for the Beavers would have put them in the Rose Bowl. Stevens then took a two-year Mormon mission before returning in time for the 2011 season.
YOUTH SERVING: Oregon freshmen have played a huge role for the Ducks on offense this season. Coming into the game, freshmen had accounted for 43.5 percent of Oregon’s points (219 of 504).
Freeman had accounted for a team-high 96 points coming into the game and he extended his lead on Saturday with a 12-yard touchdown reception from Mariota in the second quarter.
Freshman receiver Charles Nelson has come on strong the last month. He had his fourth and fifth TD receptions of the season on Saturday, with all five coming in the last four games. He also has scored a pair of touchdowns on punt returns.
KEY STOPS: The Oregon defense helped itself early in the game with a pair of big stops on fourth down.
The first came on Oregon State’s first drive of the game when it had fourth-and-1 from the Oregon 30-yard line trailing 6-0. Running back Damien Haskins was stuffed for a 1-yard loss by safety Reggie Daniels to give the ball back to Oregon.
Later in the first half, with the Ducks up 30-0, the Beavers again tried to convert on fourth-and-1 from the Oregon 45 but fullback Tyler Anderson was stopped for no gain by linebacker Rodney Hardrick.
All told, Oregon State went for fourth down five times on Saturday. The Beavers were successful just twice. Oregon’s opponents are 6-for-32 on fourth down this season.