Beaver Nation will tell stories about the epic 4th quarter of the 2016 Civil War game for years to come. The story telling will include a “monsoon-like” down pour, “hurricane force” winds, and coming back from a 10 point deficit to win 34-24. “The Wrecking Nall” and Artavis Pierce’s performances that day are what legends are made of. They ran through the Ducks like a saw through wood. Flash forward to one year later. The Beavers and the Ducks clash for state supremacy. Many in the great state of Oregon feel that both teams will have much better records in 2017. Bowl positioning could be a big factor in 2017’s most important game in the Beaver state. The last two Civil War games were competitive contests. The 2017 season will likely follow the same trend.
Oregon Ducks 2016 Season:
After beginning their 2016 campaign 2-0, the Ducks fell on hard times. Despite being very talented, the Ducks seemed to lack the explosion that they once possessed during a successful decade of multiple Pac-12 titles and two National Title game appearances. The Ducks fell flat to a disappointing 4-8 season, their first losing season since 2004. Head Coach Mark Helfrich ended up losing his job. The Ducks were able to move the ball well, but they were unable to stop it. The Duck Offense ranked 15th Nationally in “Total Offense.” In contrast, the Oregon Defense ranked 126th in “Total Defense.” Opposing Offenses were able to put up video game numbers. Star RB Royce Freeman had a disappointing Junior season and didn’t look fully healthy. The Ducks ended the disappointing season with a Civil War loss to the Beavs. Duck fans hope to quickly forget the 2016 season.
2017 Outlook for the Ducks:
There is buzz around Eugene as Oregon begins the Willie Taggart Era. Taggart made a splash in recruiting this off season, and he lured in Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt from Pac-12 foe Colorado. Ducks also lured in former Beaver legend, Keith Heyward to coach the Defensive Backs. One of the highlights of the 2016 season was the phenomenal play by QB Justin Herbert. Herbert enters his Sophomore season with valuable experience and a healthy RB in Freeman. Ducks return 8 starters on Offense and 8 on Defense.
The Oregon Defense has no where to go but up after a disastrous 2016 season. Leavitt was a strong hire and will have his hands full rebuilding the Duck D. There are high hopes for Sophomore Inside Linebacker Troy Dye. Dye led all Ducks with 91 tackles.
The Civil War Match-up:
The Civil War venue shifts to Eugene. Shock-waves were made this off season when former Duck RB, Thomas Tyner, announced his return to college football after medical retirement. The Aloha High School Alum shocked fans of both teams as he announced his return to football at Oregon State. The Civil War game will mark Tyner’s return to Autzen Stadium. However, Tyner will be wearing Orange and Black and will be dressing in the visitor locker room. Tyner’s “return” to Eugene will be a big story, but it won’t overshadow the magnitude of the game itself.
Will the Beavers be able to have success on the ground in 2017 like they did in 2016? Ryan Nall has had major success against Oregon in his first two years as a Beaver. In the 2015 Civil War, Nall rushed for 174 yards. In the 2016 Civil War game, Nall rushed for 155 yards with 4 TD’s. Nall will be aided by Tyner and the rising star Sophomore Artavis Pierce. Both teams will be significantly better in 2017. Ducks will want revenge from their 2016 loss. The Beaver Football program gained positive momentum with the 2016 Civil War victory. Beavers will want to start a new Civil War Streak. Look for both offenses to explode. Hebert and Freeman will have excellent games for the Ducks. In addition, the Beaver running game will have success, and an improved Beaver passing game will make plays when it matters.
My prediction is that It will be a back and forth see-saw battle, look for the Beavers to take the lead after a Ryan Nall touchdown in the last minute and hang on to win back-to-back Civil War’s for the first time since 2006-07.
Prediction: Beavers 38, Ducks 34