OSU - Page 4

Wetzler Wins Debut, Beavers Take Series

Oregon State head coach Pat Casey:

Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler:

Oregon State infielder Kavin Keyes:

Oregon State catcher Logan Ice:

Courtesy: OSU Sports Information

CORVALLIS, Ore.– Left-hander Ben Wetzler’s impressive season debut sparked the fourth-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a 13-2 victory over Wright State at Goss Stadium on Sunday in the finale of a four-game series.

Sidelined for the first 11 games of the season by an NCAA sanction, the Beavers’ (9-3) senior ace from Clackamas High School limited the Raiders (3-8) to four hits and one run over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five, walked one and threw 62 strikes in 89 pitches in his first appearance since defeating Louisville in the 2013 College World Series. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 2,032 when he was relieved by Zack Reser with two outs in the eighth inning.

“I felt like a little kid going to make his first start again,” Wetzler said. “It was fun. I think I did an OK job, I know the first couple innings I was kind of antsy and amped up.

“Case [coach Pat Casey] told me all week to kind of control my emotions and do the best I can. I think I was able to do that decently.”

Wetzler’s 25th career victory moved him into an eighth-place tie with Sam Gaviglio and Scott Anderson on Oregon State’s all-time wins list. He was tied with Andrew Checketts for 10th; the career leader is Ken Noble, who had 30 wins from 1975-78.

The sanction cost Wetzler two starts but after becoming eligible on Sunday he wasted little time illustrating why he is considered one of the premier pitchers in the country. In his first three innings he induced seven ground-ball outs, retired nine of the 10 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit.

Joe Ford’s bunt single leading off the fourth ended Wetzler’s no-hit bid. He eventually scored on an RBI single by Jeff Limbaugh to give Wright State a 1-0 lead, but the Beavers replied quickly in the bottom half to tie the game. With runners at the corners and one out, pinch-hitter Michael Howard lifted a sacrifice fly to medium-deep right field to score Dylan Davis.

Oregon State went ahead for good in the fifth, scoring twice despite hitting just one ball to the outfield. Infield singles by Trever Morrison and Andy Peterson and a walk to Caleb Hamilton loaded the bases with no outs. Michael Conforto’s sacrifice fly gave Oregon State a 2-1 advantage and a bases-loaded walk to Gabe Clark made it 3-1.

The Beavers parlayed two walks, two hit batsmen, a balk and Conforto’s booming RBI double to the gap in left-center to score five times in the sixth to clinch the game. Caleb Hamilton and Clark had the other RBIs in the rally on a sacrifice fly and a single, respectively.

Hamilton’s two-run single in the seventh was the big blow in a five-run sixth inning and gave him a career-high three RBIs. Michael Howard smacked a two-run double in the inning, giving him a career-high three RBIs as well.

Conforto and Clark each drove in two runs and Trever Morrison scored three times and had two hits. Aided by a season-high 13 walks and three hit batsmen, Oregon State reached double figures in scoring for the third time this season despite having only eight hits.

The Beavers won the series 3-1 and are 5-1 in their last six games. They resume their 10-game homestand at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday against Portland. The Beavers lead the all-time series 158-60 and have defeated the Pilots 18 consecutive times.

Tickets can be purchased via BeaverTickets.com, by calling 1-800-GOBEAVS or visiting the ticket office at Goss Stadium, which will open at 3:30p.m.

Huskies Hound the Beavers in Corvallis

Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson:

Oregon State guard Roberto Nelson, forward Angus Brandt:

Courtesy: Oregon State Information

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Roberto Nelson scored a team-high 17 points, but Oregon State could not keep up with an energized Washington team, falling 86-62 on Saturday afternoon at Gill Coliseum.

The Huskies took the game by storm, going on a 28-8 run to end the first half that gave them a 44-33 lead at the break. Oregon State (14-12, 6-8 Pac-12) could not overcome the deficit, as Washington (15-13, 7-8) shot an impressive 64.3 percent (18-for-28) from the field in the second frame, keeping the Beavers at bay for nearly the entire contest.

Washington was able to outrebound Oregon State 43-23, which paid dividends for the Dawgs, as they dominated under the hoop, outscoring the Beavers 52-36 in the paint.

Nelson led Oregon State offensively, going 8-of-14 from the floor. He also grabbed a career-high tying eight rebounds and dished out three assists.

Angus Brandt and Devon Collier each added 10 points for the Beavers. 

I didn’t see this coming,” Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. “I’m really surprised that we didn’t play better. This was maybe a case of the pressure of having to win this game being too much for us. I have to be the first one to step up and take the blame for that, but it seemed like we were overwhelmed with the opportunity.”

C.J. Wilcox was lights out for Washington, scoring a game-high 23 points behind a 10-of-16 shooting performance. Oregon natives Andrew Andrews and Nigel Williams-Goss also came up big for the Dawgs, scoring 15 and 14 points respectively.

Nelson would get the fans on their feet after firing to the hoop and getting an and-1 one to fall with 9:19 remaining in the first period. The senior cashed in the shot from the line giving Oregon State a six-point lead, 25-19.

Wilcox put the Huskies on his back, scoring seven straight points to put Washington ahead 26-25 with 7:41 to play in the half. The Dawgs run would reach 11 before the Beavers were able to break it up at the line, trailing 30-27.

Going into halftime, the Huskies maintained a 44-33 advantage after going on a 28-8 run. In the first 20 minutes of play, Washington outrebounded Oregon State 23-14, and dominated inside, outscoring the Beavers 28-14 in the paint. The Beavs were also crippled by seven turnovers that led to eight Washington points in the opening stanza.

The Dawgs entered the second half with vengeance, pushing their lead to 19, 59-40, at the 16-minute mark. Oregon State would respond with a 7-0 run that cut the deficit to 59-47 at 14:05.

The Beavers would cut it back to 11 with just over 10 minutes to play, 64-53. The Huskies would remain in the drivers seat for the rest of the contest though, controlling the game on both ends of the floor.

Coming up, the Beavers hit the road for a matchup with USC on Thursday at 8 p.m. in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.

 

Beavers Win Ugly One with Wazzu

Oregon State forward Angus Brandt and guard Langston Morris-Walker:

Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson:

Courtesy: OSU Sports Information

CORVALLIS, Ore.– Angus Brandt scored a team-high 16 points and Devon Collier added 14 of his own to propel Oregon State to a 68-57 victory over Washington State on Thursday night at Gill Coliseum.

Brandt shined for the Beavers, recording 12 of his 16 points in the first half, which helped keep Oregon State (14-11, 6-7 Pac-12) ahead for the majority of the contest. The big Australian went 5-of-9 from the field and grabbed two rebounds in the winning effort.

Collier was a force in the paint, going 6-of-8 from the floor and pulling down five boards for the Beavers. He also dished out an assist in the physical battle.

Roberto Nelson registered 12 points, seven assists and three rebounds on the night. With his performance, the senior entered the prestigious 1,600-point club, making him only the fifth player in Oregon State history to achieve the accolade.

The win marked the first time since 2006 that the Beavers have swept Washington State (9-17, 2-12) in the season series. Coach Robinson also earned his 92nd win at Oregon State, making him the fourth-winningest coach in school history.

“I am completely honored to be in this position,” Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. “I want to start by thanking all the coaches that came before me and the coaches that are still here helping me. They are always very supportive. And of course, the teams that have come through here and the players that have helped get those wins. It’s really not just me, it’s a whole Oregon State effort; it took teamwork to get here.”

The big men carried the load for Oregon State offensively, as they were able to able to outscore the Cougars 32-16 in the paint, which ultimately led the Beavers to victory.

Washington State was led by Davonte Lacy, who scored a game-high 18 points on 4-of-12 shooting and came up with four boards for the Cougars. D.J. Shelton also contributed, registering a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Cougars came out on a mission; marching out to an early six point lead. Brandt would narrow the gap with a three-ball from the top of the arc at 16:15 that brought Oregon State within three, 8-5.

Oregon State would take over the lead at the 13 minute mark, as Nelson found Collier under the hoop in transition, who dropped in a layup to give the Beavers a 13-12 edge.

Daniel Gomis got the fans on their feet after slamming one home over his defender inside that gave the Beavers a 15-12 edge with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Just a few possessions later, Brandt cashed in another three that pushed the advantage to 20-16.

The Beavers would continue to push, going on a 13-4 run that put them ahead of the Cougars, 26-16. Washington State would respond, closing the half on a 10-4 run that trimmed the Oregon State lead to 30-26 at the intermission.

Oregon State shot an underwhelming 38.5 percent (10-for-26) from the field in the first frame, but was able to hold Washington State to a 42.9 percent clip (9-of-21) in the scrappy half of basketball. The Beavers also outscored the Cougars 16-8 in the paint, largely in part to Brandt’s dominant performance inside, tallying 12 points in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Beavers came into the second half firing, as hot shooting and savvy defense propped Oregon State to a 43-33 advantage five minutes into the period. Washington State would respond by trimming the deficit to six, 48-42, with just over eight minutes left to play. Oregon State would not relent, controlling a 12-point lead with just 1:21 remaining in the contest.

Oregon State would hold on to the lead for the remainder of the low scoring affair, tallying 17 of their 38 points from the stripe in the final frame.

The Beavers wore their Nike N7 jerseys in the highly physical tilt with Wazzu. Nike N7 is Nike’s commitment to bring sport and all of its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada.

Oregon State is set to tip-off at Gill Coliseum again on Saturday, facing the Washington Huskies at 1 p.m. in a game televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Beavers Shut Out Pacific, Improve to 4-0

Courtesy: OSU Sports InformationNew Oregon State Beavers logo

TEMPE, Ariz. – Michael Conforto drove in three runs and Jake Thompson tossed seven scoreless innings in his collegiate debut to pace the second-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a 7-0 win over Pacific Monday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Conforto drove in runs in the third, sixth and seventh innings via a triple, walk and single, respectively. His first two RBI gave Thompson breathing room as the Beavers took a 2-0 lead into the seventh. OSU, however, broke the game open with five-run seventh.

Thompson’s first collegiate game saw the right-hander strike out three while allowing three hits and two walks. The freshman retired 10 of his last 11 batters faced after allowing a single and a walk to open the fourth inning.

He got the win and is 1-0.

The Beavers (4-0 overall), who stranded 11 runners through the first six innings, pushed ahead with the five-run seventh that was highlight by a Jeff Hendrix single that drove in two. Trever Morrison and Andy Peterson, in addition to Conforto’s single, also drove in runs via a walk and groundout, respectively.

Will Lydon took the loss for Pacific and is 1-0 on the year. The right-hander started for the Tigers (1-3) and worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and a run.

The Beavers out-hit their opponent for the first time during the trip, collecting 10 hits to 4 for Pacific. Kavin Keyes led the team with three hits while Conforto and Ice each had two.

The Beavers return to the Phoenix area next weekend for four games in Surprise. OSU takes on Nebraska Friday at 12 p.m. PT (1 p.m. in Arizona) to open the tournament. Follow the game via the Beaver Sports Network and fans can also visit osubeavers.com for free live audio and live stats.

Beaver Bats Stay Hot vs Pacific, OSU 3-0

New Oregon State Beavers logoCourtesy: OSU Sports Information

TEMPE, Ariz. – The second-ranked Oregon State baseball team scored early and often in a 14-6 win over Pacific Sunday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The win pushed the Beavers to 3-0 in the young season with one game remaining on the trip, Sunday against Pacific. The Tigers, meanwhile, are 1-2 on the year.

OSU scored in the first and at one point was tied with Pacific – at 1-1 in the second – but the Beavers reeled off four consecutive innings with at least two runs. This included a three-run third inning that was highlighted by Michael Conforto’s two-run single.

OSU pushed the lead to 8-1 with a four-run fourth in which Conforto and Dylan Davis were each credited with runs driven in. Jeff Hendrix added to the lead in the fifth with a two-run double, and after the team’s half of the sixth, had pushed the lead to 13-2, plenty of cushion for starter Scott Schultz.

Conforto, Davis and Hendrix provided plenty of offense for the Beavers as the trio combined to go 5-for-9 with 10 RBI and five walks, three of which were issued to Hendrix. Conforto tallied five RBI on the day on the strength of three hits, including two doubles.

Caleb Hamilton also had a multi-hit effort for the Beavers and Logan Ice and Michael Howard each recorded their first hits as Oregon State players in the win.

Schultz made the fourth start of his career and worked seven solid innings for the win. The senior struck out three and walked two while allowing six hits and two runs.

Pacific starter Jake Jenkins issued seven walks in just 3 1/3 innings of work to take the loss and move to 0-1 on the year. He allowed three hits and eight runs – six earned – with three strikeouts.

The Beavers took advantage of free passes for the second consecutive game. OSU tallied 10 on Sunday a day after recording 11 against Nebraska.

Oregon State concludes play in Arizona with a 10 a.m. PT (11 a.m. in Arizona) first pitch on Monday against Pacific. Follow the game via the Beaver Sports Network and fans can also visit osubeavers.com for free live audio and live stats.

The 117th Civil War UO vs OSU Behind The Scenes

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When I was about 5 years old I remember my Uncle Mike telling me that I was a Duck and I will always be a Duck!  I could not fathom for the life of me what he was talking about but I looked up to him and I figured he knew what he was talking about.  I immediately went around the corner, pulled off my socks and shoes and examined my feet for their webs!

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium
The Tunnel at Autzen 117th Civil War Photo | Sandy Harris

I have been to a few Duck games at Autzen Stadium and have enjoyed every one of them.  Imagine my surprise when I was asked to cover the 117th Civil War game between the Ducks and Beavers in Eugene this year!  I thought about it for about 5 seconds (It was the day after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, did I want to deal with traffic?) before I answered with a YES!

I would be one of two photographers ON THE FIELD at Autzen Stadium during a Civil War, one of the most anticipated rival games in history!  Autzen Stadium was built in 1967 and holds 54,000 fans; typically going over that amount and averaging approximately 59,000 fans each game…  Hello!  If you have never been to Autzen, I would recommend going at least once.  It really is quite the experience.  Autzen is known for its “loudness”; the roar of the crowd is deafening (in a good way).

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium117th Civil War Autzen Stadium
Photographers lining up for a great shot at the 117th Civil War Autzen Stadium

Autzen stadium cost approximately $2.5 million to build.  The project was lead by the son of Thomas J. Autzen; Portland lumberman and philanthropist who ironically is the Oregon Ducks Rival; an alumnus from Oregon State University in Corvallis.  The Autzen Foundation donated $250,000 to the project.  The link to the University of Oregon is Autzen’s own son who attended the U of O in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.  The stadium is built over a landfill and took nearly 9 months to complete and has seen multiple renovations over the years.

Arrangements were made for me to meet my fellow co-writers Corey Buchanan, Isaac Rosenthal and photographer Dave Peaks in Eugene and we would all head to Autzen, arriving two hours prior to the start of the game. Kick off for this years Civil War was at 4 p.m.

We were directed to were we would park, making our way through the tailgaters we found our spot.  We grabbed our gear, donned our press passes and headed for the stadium.  The aroma’s that surrounded us were amazing and made my chicken salad seem like plain old water compared to the yumminess that wafted passed my ole factory.  Burgers and beans, dogs and nacho’s; you name it, it was in the parking lot.  Wine and beer were being served, little fires were being stoked to stave off the chilliness that was in the air.

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris
Beavers warming up at the 117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris

Up the long flight of stairs we went to the elevators and up to the 5th floor!  That in itself was exciting!  It is quite the view of the stadium from that far up let me tell you.  There are large windows that open up into the “box” area where Corey and Isaac were going to sit, they would be able to see and hear the game from their seats.  Dave and I headed over and signed out our white media vests.  I can say they are not going to win any fashion contests that’s for sure, (I guess white is a neutral color, but dang, when you are in Rome right?  My opinion; they should be pretty yellow!)  At least girl / boy attire.

We met Craig Strobeck from Fishduck and he gave Dave and I a few pointers about shooting on the field; this was the first time for both Dave and I.  Everyone was quite helpful and it was nice to have the support all around us.

Lunch was provided for us before the game.  On the menu served buffet style was a broccoli salad, BBQ pork, rolls for sandwiches, chips and large shortbread cookies (my favorite) in the shape of an O of course.  Refreshments were provided as well.

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris
Ducks warming up at the 117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris

Dave and I finished our lunch, packed up our camera gear and headed for the tunnel.  This is where the photographers were stationed right behind the goal posts.  It was packed by the time we arrived so we made our way to the back, stashed our belongings and headed to the field.

Oh my!  It was a great privilege to walk out on to the field.  To look up into the stands was amazing.  I immediately began to shoot.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.  One day, this day will be history and I am a part of it, the players a part of it, the spectators are a part of this history.  I wanted to make sure I recorded everything I could!

There was so much activity on the field, the Beavers were stretching and tossing the ball around, the Ducks came out and it just seemed like a sea of yellow (my favorite color).  They too warmed up, stretched, tossed the ball around, sprinted back and forth.  At one point they all came over to the corner Dave and I were shooting from and let me tell you, those guys are huge!

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris
117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris

The bands began to appear, officials were coming onto the field and the players were lining up down the center of the field, the Seniors were going to be announced, and this is when we got to go out to the middle of the field to get photographs.  It was very exciting as they came down the “gauntlet” with their families, the fans cheering from the stands.

We found our selves back behind the dotted lines that marked our boundaries at the edge of the field.  The moment I have been waiting for was about to happen.  The Duck, Puddles, my hero was about to climb onto the motorcycle and take his ride around the field!  Holy cow that Duck rocks!   After he made his entrance and exit off the field the bands came together playing their final piece before the game began.

I will be honest, I know very little about football, so its a really good thing that I don’t have to write about it because we would all be confused!   I know there are quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, field goals, touchdowns and that’s about it. The only two things I can tell you for sure is that I know what a touchdown looks like and there are a lot of tight ends on that field.  I can take pictures though and hopefully they will tell a story all by themselves.

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris
117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris

It was amazing to hear the cheers of the fans, the excitement that was in the air was fantastic.  We were all there for the same reason, to have fun.  Sports fans were dressed (some wearing very little clothing) in their duck gear, painted green and yellow, funny hats, decals on their faces, there were even people dressed as banana’s!

Oregon was in the lead at half time.  Once halftime was over, I decided I needed to go up top to see how the guys were (I needed to keep my camera out of the mist) when the Beavers took the lead, it was touch and go for a little bit.  I returned to the field and things were getting tense.  When the clock said 29 seconds left, the Ducks took the ball back and made a touchdown taking the lead by 1 point.  Tell me that wasn’t exciting.  I looked over at Dave, we both cracked a grin and high five’d each other.  I began to hoot and holler with the rest of the crowd, I couldn’t help it.  It was in my blood (according to my Uncle Mike).

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium
Fans jumping the wall at the 117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris

Once the game was truly over and it was official that the Ducks had won the 117th Civil War, the fans went crazy!  They charged the field, the players charged the field, reporters charged the field and I charged the field!  It was just like in the movies.  I turned around to the stands and the fans were jumping onto the field from the stands.

I have a curious personality and I wanted to know more about the Duck (I’m his biggest fan).  Here is some information on Puddles I thought this was pretty interesting on how he got his name.

Dave and I made our way across the field through the sea of fans, back to the tunnel where we left our gear.  The tunnel once again was packed with photographers; laptops out, cameras and lenses of all sizes were everywhere.  We chatted about the game and our experience as we packed up and headed back to the media area where we waited for Corey and Isaac to finish with the press release and to finalize their writing.

We enjoyed some popcorn and soda for the next couple of hours, getting to know each other and talking about our day.  When we finally made it to our vehicle, it was just after 10 pm; a full 8 hours at Autzen Stadium.

117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris
The sea of photographers at the 117th Civil War Autzen Stadium Photo | Sandy Harris

What have I learned from this experience?  I would like to do it again.  I have learned that there are no crowds that late at night so it is much easier to leave, that long after the game.  I learned I love the duck even more.  But most of all, I have a new appreciation for the dedicated sports writers and photographers who spend countless hours not only preparing for sporting events, but their valuable time on location racing back and forth from one end of the field to the next during the entire game and the dedication it takes for the post processing and writing that is involved afterwards when everyone else has gone home.

By the time I got home I was exhausted.  Once I made it to my bed, I slept like I have not slept in a long time and it was a beautiful thing!  For those of you who are dedicated to the sports, your writing and photography is greatly appreciated, my hat is off to you!  It was a pleasure working alongside everyone of you.

Hope to see you out there again!

Sandy

 

PHOTOS: Oregon Ducks-Oregon State Civil War Football 2013

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Shooting the Civil War game between the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers was very exciting.  The Ducks played to win in the last two minutes and the defense upheld the one point victory.

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One expensive mascot, but worth every penny.

The game had it’s ups and downs.  Both teams had their issues throughout the game.  My photos document several turnovers by the Ducks.  It was a fun game to shoot.  The Duck mascot was very active on the sideline.  His antics add to the festivities of the Civil War.  The student section was pretty well behaved unlike some of the other sections.

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#26 – Ben Butterfield with his folks

This being my first College football game as a photographer, I noticed the how BIG the players look when you’re on the field.  They are taller than one might think and when your weight is 280 to 300 pounds, makes them look even bigger.  Another thing that’s noticeable is the speed of the game.  Everything happens quickly and you had better have your camera aimed in the right spot or you have missed the action.

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Josh Huff had a big night

For me, the highlight of the game was Josh Huff scoring the winning touchdown.  What a moment for Josh.  Having read the article written earlier this year about Josh, that was an amazing moment.  The photo of Josh on his back in the end zone was the winning score.  The celebration after the win was pretty hectic.  Sandy and I were right in the middle of the crowd and was it crazy.

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Ball control was at an all time low this game.

I liked when I saw some of the Oregon football players posing with families for photos and some signing footballs for fans.  They are a great group of athletes. All-in-all, it was an amazing afternoon and evening spent being part of the Duck Nation.  Go Ducks in your bowl game.  Make yourselves and your Duck Nation proud.

Once Again, It’s About Pride

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Things are, to say the least, a little bit different, this time around. Last year, Oregon trounced Oregon State to secure their fourth straight BCS bowl berth. In all four of those seasons, the Ducks ended the year with a Civil War victory over Oregon State.

In 2008, Chip Kelly’s last year as offensive coordinator, it was the Beavers playing for a shot at a BCS bowl and the Ducks playing spoiler.

But this time neither the Ducks nor Beavers will play in a January bowl game. This time, for the first time in a long time, it’s about pride. It’s about being better than your in-state rival, and that’s the case for the first time in the academic career of anybody in the student section or any player on either sideline.

Josh Huff drops a sure first down pass from Marcus Mariota  | Photo by Gary Breedlove
Josh Huff drops a sure first down pass from Marcus Mariota | Photo by Gary Breedlove

A few weeks ago the Civil War looked like it would once again be a speedbump for the Ducks on their way to a premier bowl game, but then the Ducks were blown out by Stanford and Arizona while Josh Huff and De’Anthony Thomas were busy implying the Ducks didn’t hold the Rose Bowl in high regard.

Oregon State is playing to secure a winning season and improve their bowl prospects–at 6-5, the Beavs are already bowl eligible but won’t be going anywhere exciting without a season ending win.

A win for the Beavers would also go a long way towards making fans forget about the sudden downward turn things took in Corvallis after the Beavers lost to Stanford. Mike Riley’s crew then lost to USC, Arizona State and Washington in three straight weeks.

The Beavers did have a six game win streak this year, but that started after a season opening loss to FCS Eastern Washington.

Sean Mannion
Sean Mannion | (Greg Wahl-Stephens/Associated Press)

Behind Sean Mannion the Beavers have one of the most potent passing attacks in the nation, racking up 388.3 yards per game–good enough for third in the nation–but Mannion’s 13 picks have cut more than a few Beaver drives short.

In what may be Mariota’s last game in Autzen the sophomore quarterback will be returning form an apparent head injury that knocked him out of the Arizona game.

For Oregon, Byron Marshall will almost certainly eclipse the 1000 yard mark, and will possibly do so on his first touch, entering the night with 995 yards on the season.

De’Anthony Thomas will take the field with 495 yards rushing on the year on just 78 carries.

Oregon Ducks, Cal Bears, Marcus Mariota
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota vs Cal in 2012 | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

Prediction: Oregon wins 48-24. Josh Huff is the MVP. Oregon plays in the Alamo Bowl against the third place team from the Big 12, either Texas, Baylor or Oklahoma. In anticipation of an Oregon/Baylor game, the Alamo Bowl installs four-digit scoreboards. 

Smart’s career night paces OSU over Memphis 101-80

Marcus Smart looked right at home in his return to the national stage.

Smart scored a career-high 39 points and No. 7 Oklahoma State raced past No. 11 Memphis for a 101-80 win on Tuesday night in a one-sided matchup of top teams.

Smart, who bypassed the NBA draft after last season's early exit from the NCAA tournament, had 26 points in the first half and finished with five 3-pointers.

The sophomore was 11 of 21 from the floor _ easily topping his previous career high of 28 points, which he set last season against Oklahoma.

Markel Brown added 20 points and Brian Williams 15 for Oklahoma State (4-0).

Nick King had 23 points for Memphis, and Shaq Goodwin finished with 13. The Tigers (1-1) shot 41.2 percent (28 of 68).

Memphis had played just once before the trip to Stillwater, a 95-69 home win over Austin Peay. And the Tigers appeared to be ill prepared for their first hostile road environment.

More specifically, they weren't prepared for Smart _ who added five steals, four rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks in an outstanding all-around performance.

Surprisingly, Smart didn't even enter the game as the leading scorer for the Cowboys.

In fact, the sophomore was third on Oklahoma State _ behind sixth-man Phil Forte and Brown _ with an average of 13.7 points through the team's opening three blowout victories.

Smart, however, played up to the competition in the Cowboys' return to the national spotlight after last season's crushing loss against Oregon in the NCAA tournament.

In front of a host of NBA scouts and Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, Smart scored 12 of the Cowboys' first 14 points. His last basket during the opening stretch was a dunk on the break that put Oklahoma State ahead 14-7.

The Tigers did their best to stay close, rallying to tie it at 16 after back-to-back baskets by King, but they had no answer for Smart in the first half.

With the Cowboys up 17-16, the 6-foot-4 guard went on a one-man scoring binge that worked the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd into a frenzy.

Smart scored the next 12 points for Oklahoma State _ including three 3-pointers and a trio of free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt _ to put the Cowboys up 29-20. In all, he scored 24 of Oklahoma State's first 29 points.

The Cowboys led 50-32 at halftime and stretched their lead to as many as 34 points in the second half _ comfortably answering their first challenge of the season and reminding the country why Smart was a consensus preseason All-American.

Smart's fifth 3-pointer lifted Oklahoma State to a 64-43 advantage, giving him a career-best 31 points.

It was far from his only highlight of the night.


UCLA Steals O-Line Commitment Najee Toran From Oregon State

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Najee Toran
Najee Toran

The UCLA Bruins have landed a verbal commitment from offensive line prospect Najee Toran, a three-star 6-foot-3, 265-pound prospect from northern Texas. However, the commitment comes with some controversy considering fellow Pac-12 member Oregon State believed they were Toran’s preferred school.

Toran used one of his official visits this weekend at UCLA and clearly has had a change of heart. And as is the case in recruiting, this verbal commitment is not binding and can be switched at any time until he signs his national letter of intent (LOI) in February.

He still holds offers from Boise State, Colorado and Houston amongst other Division 1 programs.

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