Remembering that great rivalry

Washington used to be Oregon's top football rival, but now? USC? The SEC?
Oct. 4, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

For the University of Oregon football fans who can remember the 1994 season that culminated with a trip to the Rose Bowl, times have certainly changed.

The team wins more - a lot more, and it's expected to win basically every week. Heck, not basically, just flat out. And, it does.

Oregon wins so often that it's sort of moved right out of the Pac-12 and into the nation's BCS title contenders.

Look at the Ducks' schedule this season and is there another game that sparks any real interest like Nov. 3 at USC?

Washington? Saturday's opponent? Maybe the Huskies will hang on for a half, like Washington State did last year.

If there's one down side to the Oregon football team being so good, it's that there are never any real wins anymore. They're all just waiting to happen. They're all supposed to be victories. The only real drama in any of the games nowadays, is if they can prevent a loss. The real drama for every game the Ducks play is on the opposing sideline. That's what will always make the 1994 season special, because Oregon was the other sideline.

And Washington was Oregon's big rival. OSU hadn't done anything in decades other than lose, and Oregon had been to a couple bowl games in the recent past, so they were due for a special run. The best way to know it was going to happen? Washington. Beat Washington.

The 1994 game, played at Autzen, provided the Ducks the opportunity that set the program up for two decades of success. Kenny Wheaton, just a freshman, returned an interception the lentgh of the field for a touchdown and the Ducks won 31-20.

But, that was a long time ago.

In the following decade, OSU started winning and even went to a BCS game, which made the Civil War important again. And, the Huskies just haven't kept pace. They win sporadically and celebrate when they are able to beat Stanford. The Huskies are ranked thie week - wow!!!

Oregon fans will get pumped when they start drawing votes for No. 1 away from Alabama.

So, Saturday, get out the frankenweenies and marshmallows as the Ducks roast the Huskies across Autzen. Again.


Cougars pose big question for Beavers

Can Oregon State keep its momentum going when it's not the underdog?
Oct. 4, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

After winning just three games a year ago, the Oregon State Beavers have become the nation's biggest surprise in college football, moving from the ranks of "they'll be lucky to finish .500," to No. 14 with three surprising wins.

Oregon State beat defending Big 10 champion Wisconsin at home, beat surprising UCLA in the Rose Bowl and then Arizona last week in Tuscon with a late-game rally led by sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion.

They struggled to run the ball consistently and stop opposing passing games, but on the scoreboard - where it matters - they've come through, with their three wins by just 13 total points.

This week, the Beavers face Washington State, which is 2-3 overall after Pac-12 Conference losses to Colorado and Oregon.

With its season rolling and excitement building in Corvallis, the question for Saturday's game seems simple - can they keep the momentum going?

OSU is favored to win by nearly 15 points, the first time they've been favored to win by oddsmakers.

The concern for Saturday's game is genuine because the last time the Cougars traveled to OSU, the Beavers were favored to win by 23 points - and WSU pulled a huge upset by winning 31-14. It was an exclamation point to a fanatically frustrating season for the Beavers, who began the season with a loss to TCU at Cowboys Stadium, lost to Boise State two weeks later, but beat USC just a week after the WSU loss and eventually finished 5-7.

A loss Saturday would send fans directly back to that season mentally - frustrated.

WSU is a perfect candidate as a program easy to look past. The Cougs got drilled by BYU to open the season, then only narrowly beat FCS rival Eastern Washington 24-20, and then UNLV 35-27, which preceeded a 35-34 loss to Colorado. Oregon looked past the Cougars last week - at least for a half before pulling away for a 51-26 win.

OSU plays at Brigham Young next week.


UP women get wake-up call, 3-1

Denver of the WAC scores a stunning win at Merlo Field over No. 15 Pilots
Sept. 24, 2012

A supremely energized team from Denver University overwhelmed the University of Portland women's soccer team Sunday to claim a 3-1 win over the 15th-ranked Pilots at Merlo Field.

Junior Kristen Hamilton scored a hat-trick after the Pilots had taken a 1-0 lead to power the Pioneers to their eighth win in 11 games. Denver left Portland with a, 8-1-2 record, while Portland sits at 7-2-2 with three more non-conference games before West Coast Conference play begins.

Portland junior Kalia Camelli scored her sixth goal of the season in the 17th minute for a 1-0 lead, but Denver answered just two minutes later.

The Pilots had allowed just four goals prior to Sunday's game, including two during a 3-2 win at USC Sept. 16.

Portland returns to action Thursiday with a home game against Cal-State Northridge.



Oregon State continues to have an impressive season with a 2-0 win over Utah in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.

The Beavers, who scored a 1-0 upset of Portland just three days after the Pilots upset No. 4 North Carolina, are 9-1 overall and tied with USC and Arizona atop the conference standings. They get a major test Thursday at No. 3 Stanford, which has scored five consecutive shutouts.



Civil War fever ready to grip the state

Both Oregon and Oregon State showed they can play to the nation Saturday
Sept. 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

The University of Oregon has been a staple of the Associated Press national rankings for most of the past three years, and is a regular part of the Top 5 among national voters.

Oregon State?

With a 27-20 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl and on ABC, the Beavers showed off they can beat a nationally-ranked team for the second time this season, and with a dominating defense that gave up only a few big plays - not consistent drives.

Both Oregon and OSU earned rankings Sunday, Oregon up one spot to No. 2 and the Beavers moving from a few votes to No. 18 showing that much of the nation paid attention to not only the final score, but how the final score of Saturday's game came about.

OSU's got a defense and a savvy offense that can put together consistent drives.

Put the two Oregon schools together, and you can start to look at their schedules and ponder thatNov. 24 game - Oregon at Oregon State. The Civil War. Will that be the game that sends an Oregon school to the Pac-12 title game for the second-straight year?

Stanford appears as the main test having moved to No. 8 after its win over No. 3 USC two weeks ago.

USC dropped to No. 13, but looks like the team that will win the Pac-12 South and be the opponent in the title game.

UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State all received votes in the poll Sunday.

Stanford gives the Pac-12 North a trio of ranked teams and a pair of exciting contests: OSU at Stanford, Nov. 10, and Nov. 17, Stanford at Oregon.



Sept. 29, at Washington State

Oct. 6, Washington

Oct. 18, at Arizona State

Oct. 27, Colorado

Nov. 3, at USC

Oct. 10, at California

Oct. 17, Stanford

Oct. 24, at Oregon State



Sept. 29, at Arizona

Oct. 6, Washington State

Oct. 13, at Brigham Young

Oct. 20, Utah

Oct. 27, at Washington

Nov. 3, Arizona State

Nov. 10, at Stanford

Nov. 17, California

Nov. 24, Oregon

Dce. 1, Nicholls State


Ducks, Beavers primed for big games

Everyone is unbeaten in both Oregon, OSU games set for national television
Sept. 21, 2012

Oregon's early-season schedule of teams it should've thrashed on the scoreboard played out exactly as it should have, but that part of the season ends Saturday when the Ducks take on Arizona in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.

The game, Oregon's fourth-straight at home, pits the Ducks, 3-0, against a hungry squad from Tucson, which is 3-0, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Oregon State, two weeks removed from a huge win over Wisconsin, pays a visit to UCLA in a nationally-televised game on ABC.

OSU, which had its season opener against Nicholls State postponed by Hurricane Isaac, has played just once - the 10-7 win over the Badgers, who were ranked No. 13 at the time.

UCLA is 3-0.


D-Thomas stays among Heisman hopefuls

Oregon's multi-talented back puts up the numbers and video through two games
Sept. 12, 2012

You can't win the Heisman Trophy in the first two games of the college football season. But, you can lose it.

De'Anthony Thomas has kept his path toward the trophy - which would be a first for a University of Oregon player - in wins over Arkansas State and Fresno State.

In two games, Thomas has touched the ball just 18 times, but his 10 runs and eight receptions have resulted in 247 total yards and three touchdowns.

That's an average of 13.7 yards per touch, a stellar statistic even in the Ducks' near-point-a-minute offense.

Those stats are a solid increase from last season, when he had 101 touches and 1,200 yards receiving and rushing.

His touches are likely to increase as the season moves into more-competitive action.


OSU puts itself on the college map again

Beavers stun Wisconsin, Big 10, 10-7 with stellar defense
Sept. 8, 2012

Whatever problems Oregon State seemed to have with offseason predictions of its demise on the football field were put aside for the first month of the season Saturday when the Beavers pulled off one the big upsets of the weekend with a 10-7 victory over No. 13 Wisconsin.

Facing a team that reached the Rose Bowl and returned its top running back, the Beavers held the Badgers to just 207 yards of total offense, 64 of them coming on their lone scoring drive that ended with 1:31 left in the game.

Montee Ball, mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate, finished with just 65 yards rushing and did not score for the first time in 22 consecutive games.

The Badgers lost for the first time in 33 non-conference games, an amazing streak for any team.

Wisconsin was the first Big 10 school to visit Corvallis since 1971.

The Beavers racked up 354 yards of offense, but scored just on a late second quater field goal by Trevor Romaine of 43 yards, and a third-quarter touchdown pass from Sean Mannion to Markus Wheaton.

OSU, which had its season opener against Nicholls State postponed due to Hurricane Issac, has a bye Saturday and will travel to UCLA for a Sept. 21 game as the lone college team in the nation to have played just one game.


Oregon State readies for Wisconsin visit

The Big 10 champion rolls into Corvallis for Saturday game, OSU's 2012 opener
Sept. 4, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

Corvallis finally gets on the college football map on Saturday when the University of Wisconsin rolls into town for a non-conference FBS game at Reser Stadium.

Oregon State has made itself plenty-well known in the past with huge upsets and bowl runs from its home in the Willamette Valley, but not against an opponent with a following as large as the Badgers.

Wisconsin won the Big 10 title last fall and played Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are likely the largest non-conference program to ever play in Corvallis.

The Beavers and Badgers meet at 1 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be televised by FX.

OSU's recent non-conference home games have been against teams such as Louisville, Brigham Young and Boise State. Oregon State has not played host to a school from the Big 10 since 1971, when Iowa played before a crowd of 24,092 and lost to the Beavers 33-19. OSU, under coach Dee Andros, finished 5-6 that season.

Wisconsin opened with a 26-21 victory over Northern Illinois Saturday at home in front of a crowd of 79,568.

The Badgers are among the top programs in the Big 10, having won 10 or more games the past three seasons. Wisconsin played in the Rose Bowl at the conclusion of the 2010 season as well.

Oregon State lost 35-0 at Camp Randall Stadium last year.



Beavers making soccer waves

Opening with four wins has the team ranked again
Aug. 31, 2012

Oregon State moved into the national rankings and then rallied for a second-straight 2-1 victory Thursday night in Fullerton, Calif.

Led by freshman Sammy Jo Prudhomme's 13 saves, the 21st-ranked Beavers beat Cal-State Fullerton, 2-1, and improved to 4-0, with a home game against UC-Irvine Sunday.

OSU headed to Calif., off victories at Portland and Portland State last week. The Beavers upset Portland just three nights after the Pilots had upset No. 4 North Carolina at home. OSU beat PSU last Friday with a pair of second-half goals after falling behind 1-0.

Jacy Drobney and Marissa Kovac scored for the Beavers, who can complete of sweep of the in-state schools Nov. 2, in their Pac-12 finale at Oregon.


Oregon gets primed for title run

Freshman Mariota set to start at QB for Ducks
August 28, 2012 / Justin Burr, The Quack Factor

EUGENE - It's been a long 242 days since the Ducks were last in action but the wait is finally over.

Saturday the men in green and yellow will storm out of the tunnel in front of a electrified Autzen stadium in their season opener against Arkansas State.

Fans might see a few open seats on Saturday evening as Oregon’s 82 home game sellout streak will most likely come to an end due to high ticket prices and an unworthy opponent. Rest assured that the Autzen crowd will be fired up and louder than ever.

Encased in the stunning new uniforms will be a bounty of new talent. Most notably will be redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota in the starting quarterback role.

This QB race was so closely fought that it gives the Duck faithful much comfort in the depth at the position. If something were to happen to Mariota it would seem that the Ducks wouldn’t miss a beat with Bennett behind center. Experience will be the biggest limiting factor in the young quarterback's success but luckily he will have a few games to break in his skills.

Oregon opens the season with a four-game homestand against less-than-intimidating opponents, which is perfect for a quarterback with zero in-game experience. Depending on how teams defend Oregon, Mariota might bring a more dynamic running game to the offense.

Last season, Darron Thomas saw a significant decrease in rushing having only attempted 56 plays as opposed to the previous season in which he took off running 93 times. Mariota is likely to run more.

Filling the shoes of David Paulson at tight end  might be the most daunting task that the Oregon offense faced this offseason. Sophomore Colt Lyerla will be getting a majority of the reps but veteran Jennings Stewart could bring some maturity to the position. Being a fifth-year senior and having played on both sides of the ball, Stewart has a great football IQ, which will come in handy while he assists his younger teammates. This mentoring role he will play to the younger tight ends might cost him his starting spot on the roster, but his attitude is geared toward team success not individual glory.

Defense will stand out on Saturday as this fierce squad is finally getting the recognition they deserve. Head Coach Chip Kelly attributes their BCS three-peat to the defense, and, although he won’t say it’s the best group he’s coached, he will admit they are good.

Oregon’s defense ranked fifth in the conference in pass defense last season and the young secondary unit looks to improve upon that this season.

Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu  will be the starting corners and with a year of experience under their belts, opposing quarterbacks better think twice before heaving the rock into coverage. Last year Mitchell broke up 10 passes and took 2 the other way, he’s a threat anytime the ball is near.

Oregon should put a mark in the win column with ease come Saturday, but this game will provide much needed growth to the young starting squad.
Chip Kelly and company pride themselves on preparation and one can only assume they have prepared for this game just as they have prepared for every other game which is a recipe for success.


RSS feed