CORVALLIS — The location hasn’t mattered, whether on the turf at Reser Stadium or an hour away in Eugene, the state’s Civil War has belonged to the Oregon Ducks.
They can wear traditional green uniforms or stroll out of the locker room in radioactive yellow pants with silvery things stuck on their helmets — and still it doesn’t matter. The atmosphere and wardrobe may change, but the streak remains.
On Saturday afternoon, No. 5 Oregon continued its dominance over rival No. 15 Oregon State with the 48-24 win. And so, Hockinson’s own Nick Cody walked away from the 116th Civil War the same as he has throughout his Oregon career — with his Ducks (11-1) on top.
“It’s amazing,” said Cody, Oregon’s fifth-year offensive lineman. “Not to lose to the Beavers or (Washington) Huskies in five years. That’s incredible.”
The deep Oregon offensive line, which includes Cody at right guard, cleared the way for 430 rushing yards.
Despite missing plays in the second and third quarters with what appeared to be a rib injury on his right side, Kenjon Barner rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Barner’s backup, the furiously fast De’Anthony Thomas, scored three times on 17 carries for 122 yards.
The defense was just as overwhelming as the Ducks forced six turnovers, setting a school record with 38 for the season.
“This one,” Oregon State senior cornerback Jordan Poyer said, “definitely hurts.”
In the second half, Oregon State (8-3) fell to pieces, though its beginning showed promise for a competitive end.
Oregon State deferred to the second half, and similar to Oregon on its opening scoring drive in the first quarter, the Beavers moved with momentum after the kickoff. Sean Mannion completed five of six passes and Storm Woods capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown.
With 10:41 on the scoreboard, Oregon State had pulled within 20-17. The Beavers would dig into their most important third quarter of the season with the rush of a record-breaking Reser Stadium crowd behind them, and the sight of Barner no longer in front of them.
But Civil Wars aren’t decided that easily.
On Oregon’s next possession, the generously-listed 5-foot-9 Thomas cradled his third carry of the series before Poyer lifted him and drove him backwards. Thomas took exception to the tackle, rising to his feet then kicking Poyer who was still down.
The act drew an unsportsmanlike penalty, Oregon soon faced a third-and-19 play but the Marcus Mariota-to-Josh Huff completion for 28 yards saved the drive — and preserved the swagger.
“That third down that Josh came down with, that huge catch,” Mariota said. “That really just set things and that really got us going.”
Thomas finished things with his 5-yard touchdown and after Oregon State’s Devon Kell muffed the resulting kickoff, Thomas sliced through the defense again — jetting 29 yards to the end zone on a fourth-and-5 play.
Once leading by just a field goal, the Ducks had responded with four straight touchdowns through the second half.
Mannion suddenly only saw Ducks, not his receivers, for four interceptions and by the time the Beavers would run another play outside of their own territory, the deficit had expanded to 31 points.
“I definitely couldn’t have predicted it when I came here,” Cody said of his five-year undefeated streak against Oregon State, “but I couldn’t be happier.”