Reeling from their second loss in three games and with no shot at the Pac-12 title, the No. 12 Oregon Ducks hope to end the regular season with a Civil War victory over the Oregon State Beavers on Friday night at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks hold the all-time series record at 60-46-10, and have won the last five. The last two victories have been by an average of 26 points.
However, a win over the Beavers won’t salvage Oregon’s season. The 42-16 loss at Arizona last week, coupled with the letdown to Stanford, will leave quarterback Marcus Mariotta and the Ducks with two conference losses for the first time since 2008.
Despite a high-octane offense headlined by one of the nation’s most prolific passers in Sean Mannion, the Beavers have lost four straight, including last week’s 69-27 rout at home to Washington.
Just four weeks ago dual-threat Mariotta held the inside track for the Heisman, but he’s been held to 18 total rushing yards in the last three games, while throwing his first two interceptions of the year against Arizona.
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After a violent hit to the head he suffered against the Wildcats, it was unclear if Mariotta would play in the regular season finale. But according to the reports, the sophomore passed his concussion tests and his expected to start.
Mariotta’s health could open a window for the Beavers to snap both losing streaks, with Mannion and conference leading receiver Brandin Cooks. The junior has taken full advantage of head coach Mike Riley’s aerial attack with 1,560 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns.
Mannion leads the nation with 4,089 passing yards this season, but his recent propensity to throw interceptions has stunted Oregon State. In the last three games Mannion’s tossed 10 picks, compared to three in the Beavers previous eight games.
Oregon’s is coming off a disastrous performance, surrendering 304 rushing yards to the Wildcats, more than double their season average. The Ducks should have a slightly easier time against more one-dimensional Oregon State.
The Ducks could go without top running back Byron Marshall, who left the Arizona game with four yards on three carries due to an ankle injury. He’s totaled 995 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, and if he can’t go DeAnthony Thomas and Thomas Tyner are expected to shoulder the running game once again.
Betting Odds: Oregon favored by 22 points
Time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Channel: Fox Sports 1, find it on your cable provider here
Prediction: Oregon 40, Oregon State 30