Deep Dive: Get to know the Oregon State Beavers
Last season ended with Oregon State picking up their first victory over the Ducks since 2007, and the win had many in Corvallis believing that 2017 might be the year the Beavers turn the corner.
But a 31-point thrashing on the road against Colorado State to open the season, followed by a come-from-behind victory over the the winless Football Championship Subdivision Portland State Vikings and a 34-point home loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers showed that the Beavers still had a long way to go.
After losing back-to-back games to the Washington schools by a combined score of 94-30, the Beavers lost 38-10 to the USC Trojans in what ended up being the last game for head coach Gary Andersen, who left millions on the table and mutually agreed to part ways with the program. The school then named Cory Hall interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
The coaching change initially made the Beavers more competitive. In their next two games against Colorado and Stanford, they led with under two minutes to go but ultimately lost. The Beavers opened November with a 14-point loss to California and a 21-point loss to the Arizona Wildcats.
Despite Oregon State’s struggles this season and the results from last season, Oregon head coach Willie Taggart says revenge isn’t on the mind of the players — but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten what happened last season in Corvallis.
“We showed them the low-lights,” Taggart said of reviewing last season’s results. “We just show them and remind them what that looked like.”
. The Ducks open as a 23.5-point favorite for the 121st Civil War. The largest margin of victory by Oregon in the Civil War is its 44-0 win over the Beavers in 1987.
“We can’t take anybody lightly,” Royce Freeman, one of 20 seniors listed on the roster to play his last game at Autzen Stadium, said. “Finishing out the season right is definitely what we’re focused on this week.”
Offensively, the Beavers rank 83rd in the nation in passing offense and 94th in the nation in rushing offense. The defense ranks 118th in the nation, giving up 6.51 yards per play. One thing that stands out for Oregon co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal is the size of the players.
“A really large group of guys,” Cristobal said. “Across the front, they’re averaging 325 pounds. They’re real long. … They play the ball well and they understand their scheme.”
Prior to last season’s loss, it’s been a long time since Oregon players and fans felt what it’s like to lose in a Civil War game; however, the recent matchups have been close games. Three out of the last four meetings between the two schools have been decided by ten points or less, despite Oregon State finishing those seasons with four wins or less.
“We’ve got that bitter taste in our mouths that we’ve had for an entire year,” Taggart said. ”I don’t think our guys want that taste anymore. … You can throw the records out in a ball game like this. You’ve got to come ready to play.”
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.