Ducks enter War hot, Beavers cold
EUGENE — Vernon Adams Jr. is grateful the No. 18 Ducks are on track to finish strong after a senior season of ups and downs.
The quarterback transfer from Eastern Washington will play in his final home game at Autzen Stadium when Oregon hosts Oregon State today in the 119th Civil War.
"I've just enjoyed my time here, meeting new friends and enjoying this experience. I'm just very thankful for it," Adams said this week.
Adams broke his index finger in the opener against his former team. He struggled with the injury before Oregon sat him down for a couple of games.
Since his return, the Ducks (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12) have gone 5-0. Against USC last weekend, Adams threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns, matching the school record.
"It's an awesome feeling for us because the Ducks are used to winning," he said.
Riding that momentum, Oregon faces an in-state rival that went in the opposite direction in a rebuilding year.
The Beavers, under new coach Gary Andersen, have lost eight straight and face the real possibility of going winless in conference for the first time since 1997.
Oregon State (2-9, 0-8) has a seven-game losing streak to the Ducks in the Civil War. The Beavers are five-touchdown underdogs.
"It's a rivalry. We hate the Ducks. Ducks hate the Beavers," Oregon State running back Storm Barrs-Woods said. "That's how it goes."
Some other things of note when the Ducks host the Beavers:
FLASHBACK: Adams has faced the Beavers before with positive results. Eastern Washington pulled off a 49-46 upset over then-No. 25 Oregon State to open the 2013 season. Adams passed for 411 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 107 and two TDs, including the go-ahead score with 18 seconds left. The Eagles became just the third FCS team to beat a ranked FBS team.
ROYCE ROLLS: Oregon running back Royce Freeman ranks third in the nation with 1,539 rushing yards; he leads the country in rushes of 10 yards or more with 51. He's averaging 139.9 yards per game, and he's just the fourth Oregon running back to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, joining Maurice Morris, Onterrio Smith and LaMichael James.
"He's been so great for us and he's probably the most underrated back in the country," Adams said. "He should definitely be in the Heisman talk. I'm upset that he doesn't get as much credit as he deserves."
COLLINS' ROLE? Last week Andersen said true freshman quarterback Seth Collins was done for the season after he had missed four games with a left knee injury. But on Monday Collins was at practice — playing at wide receiver. There's a good chance Collins could play in the Civil War, just not at QB. Marcus McMaryion will get his first career start against the Ducks.
"If we have an opportunity to use (Collins) and we think it's the best thing for the offense, then we absolutely will," Andersen said.
AGAIN WITH THE UNIFORMS: No surprise here, Oregon will wear new uniforms in the 119th Civil War. The new Nike look is dubbed "Oregon 33" in homage to Oregon becoming the 33rd state in the Union. The green jersey has a camouflage feel, paired with yellow pants and a yellow helmet featuring the image of a flying duck.
THE LAST TIME: Last year's game was an easy 47-19 victory for the Ducks on the road to college football's first playoffs and the national championship game. Marcus Mariota, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy, threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns, while running for two more. In his final college game, Sean Mannion threw for 162 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the Pac-12's all-time leader in passing yards with 13,600.