They’ve been playing the Civil War football game in Oregon since 1894, one of the oldest rivalries in the nation. I’m not sure they’ve ever done it any better than Friday evening’s game, a 36-35 Oregon victory.
It had six lead changes, four in the fourth quarter, the final one on Josh Huff’s touchdown catch from Marcus Mariota with only half a minute left.
I saw a 30-29 Beaver victory at Autzen Stadium in 1971, but I think this was probably better than that one. In 1998, OSU won a 44-41 double-overtime game in Corvallis – that was the one where the fans spilled prematurely onto the field in celebration, only to have to retract it when a penalty was called – but that was only a 5-6 OSU team and Oregon had four losses. This was higher-quality stuff, and ironically, it came after both teams had entered the game on obvious down notes.
The Ducks have lately ripped the Beavers’ hearts out, winning six in a row. The first two of those, in 2008 at OSU (a 65-38 Oregon walkover) and a memorable 37-33, Thursday-night game in 2009 in Eugene, kept the Beavers out of the Rose Bowl.
Hard to say what this one means beyond the excellence itself, but it gets Oregon to 10 victories, and OSU’s loss could have a slight benefit to Washington State’s bowl quest. The Beavers have five straight losses, and while this one was certainly creditable, it drops them into identical 6-6 and 4-5 records with WSU, and the Cougar fan base is relatively excited about the prospect of returning to a bowl game for the first time in a decade, giving WSU more appeal there to bowl execs.