Notoriously sloppy Special Teams could play a role

In each of the past two seasons, the Civil War has come down to the last play.


Serna was the hero of the 2006 Civil War after he scored the eventual winning field goal in Oregon State's 30-28 win.
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In 2006, it was Alexis Serna who booted a 40-yard field goal to win the game after Brady Leaf led the Ducks to a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The Ducks assembled a potential game-winning drive of their own, but Matt Evensen's field goal was blocked by Ben Siegert to win the game for OSU.

Last year, Matt Evensen and Alexis Serna traded field goals in the first overtime of the 111th Civil War before James Rodgers scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on the first play of double overtime. But before that, both teams had chances to win the game on field goal attempts in regulation. Alexis Serna had a 35-yard field goal attempt blocked, and Matt Evensen missed a 41 yarder as time expired due to poor clock management. Of course, it was the Oregon State defense that sealed the game, stopping UO running back Jonathan Stewart on a 4th and 1 play.

Although Oregon State has won both of the games in the past two years that were decided on the last play, they enter this year's game without the greatest kicker in Oregon State history, Alexis Serna.

But the Civil War wasn't kind to Alexis, who scored 384 points over the course of his career at Oregon State. Last year, Serna was 1 for 4 in the rivalry game, with the 35-yarder in overtime being his only successful field goal of the game. He missed from distances of 33, 50, and 35.

The Beavers enter this year's Civil War riding the leg of plackicker Justin Kahut, the sophomore out of Clackamas High School who kicked a 24-yard field goal last week as time expired to give Oregon State a 19-17 win over the Arizona Wildcats. This all came after he missed a routine extra point earlier in the fourth quarter, denying Oregon State of a share of the lead with just under four minutes remaining in he game.


Morgan Flint has emerged as a diamond in the rough for Mike Bellotti. He's 4-for-4 on FG's so far this season-- and apparently hasn't missed in practice, either.
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Kahut has been getting big-game experience this year, but he's yet to kick in a Civil War atmosphere. He's 14 of 20 on field goal attempts this season, and is 6 of 7 so far in November. Kahut has been nearly perfect-- 11 of 12-- on field goals from under 40 yards. He's 3 of 8 on field goals longer than 40 yards.

The Ducks have got inconsistent play from their primary kicker, Matt Evensen, this season. Matt earned Pac-10 Special Teams player of the week honors after Oregon's win over Purdue when he was 4 of 4, but has since been benched in favor of junior Morgan Flint. Evensen is currently 11 of 18 on the season, and he's strugled-- like Kahut-- on attempts longer than 40 yards. He's only converted on every field goal attempt in three games this season.

Evensen has been limited to kickoffs in Oregon's last two games against Stanford and Arizona. Morgan Flint, his replacement, has been a perfect 4 of 4 in those games, so we'll likely see Flint in the Civil War. He hasn't been tested in a true pressure situation yet, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts. However, Coach Bellotti reports that Flint hasn't missed a kick in the past two weeks-- in practice, or in a game. Flint walked-on at Oregon four years ago and has stuck around. Finally, he's earned the starting spot. Plus, Evensen has had two opportunities to win Civil Wars for Oregon, and he's missed both attempts.

Oregon kickers are 1 of 5 on field goal attempts in the past two Civil Wars. If Saturday's game becomes a field goal battle, each team will likely do battle with a kicker who has less than a full year of experience and has never played in a Civil War.

Calculate the field goal percentages for both teams, and you'll find that both Oregon and Oregon State are 15 of 22 on the season, for 68.2%. 

It couldn't get much more equal than that.

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