"I hate the Ducks,' says one Beaver; 'You feel a lot of hatred in that stadium," says another
CORVALLIS - The various degrees of emotions within Oregon State's program about rival Oregon come out in vivid color during Civil War week.
All you have to do is ask.
The ninth-ranked Ducks, winners of the last three meetings with Oregon State, are four-touchdown favorites to make it four in a row Saturday in a 12:30 p.m. match-up at Autzen Stadium.
Another loss would be unpalatable to OSU defensive end Scott Crichton.
'I hate the Ducks,' said the redshirt freshman, who was on the sidelines at Reser Stadium for last year's 37-20 defeat by the Beavers' archrivals. 'I don't like how they're flashy, they have all this new stuff ... I just don't like it. I don't like their fans, either.
'It's a big rivalry. I'm a Beaver. Is this going to be in the newspaper? Yeah, well, I've just heard stuff about them, and I keep that in mind.'
Senior linebacker Cameron Collins has heard stuff from the Duck fans, too, during his two previous visits to Autzen - as a redshirting freshman in 2007 and as a sophomore in '09.
'It's chaotic,' Collins said. 'You feel a lot of hatred in that stadium. There's a lot of name-calling, people yelling at you, even when you're not playing - when you're on the bench. You get some of that everywhere, but I don't think I've experienced it quite like I have at Autzen.
'It's one of the loudest places I've played. I like it. I like when you're the object of that hate. It's like an us-against-the-world feeling. Everybody there hates you, but you have your band of brothers, your teammates, with one common goal - to go out there and win.'
For Jordan Poyer, facing Oregon is personal - and not just because of the junior cornerback's Beaver family legacy, with grandfather Lynn Baxter (basketball) and mother Julie Poyer (softball).
Poyer was recruited by Oregon as a quarterback out of Astoria High and attended a UO football camp the summer after his junior year - a week after pitching in the state Class 4A championship baseball game.
'Throwing a baseball and football are two totally different elements, and I didn't do too well,' OSU's star junior cornerback said. 'After that, (the Ducks) stopped recruiting me.
'I don't like to say it, but it gives me a lot more motivation to play in this game, knowing the situation that happened. I'm more than happy to be at Oregon State. I can't ask for anything more than to be a Beaver. I'm excited to play the game this weekend.'
Poyer said he gets a condescending attitude from the Oregon players and their fans, using Cliff Harris' 'big brother/little brother' comments of a year ago as example.
'I give a lot of respect to them, but I don't like the Ducks,' he said. 'There are a lot of friends and fans of mine back home who are also Duck fans, but they don't get to see or hear the stuff I do with the Ducks.
'Coming from this state, a win Saturday would mean the world to me.'
James Rodgers has developed a friendship with Oregon tailback and fellow Texan LaMichael James.
'We met a few years ago and have had a real good relationship,' OSU's senior flanker said. 'We talk probably once a week. But we probably won't talk this week. He knows we're coming down there to play.'
In his fifth year at Oregon State, Rodgers has developed a taste for the rivalry.
'For this state, it's a big thing,' he said. 'I see why (the schools) dislike each other.'
Does he dislike the Ducks?
'It's football,' Rodgers said. 'Mostly it's for the fans, but it's for bragging rights. Both teams want to win.'
Rodgers was the hero of the 2007 Civil War game, scoring on a 25-yard run in double overtime in the Beavers' 38-31 victory at Autzen.
'It is a difficult place to play,' he said. 'The crowd is loud. It's something you have to get used to. Other than that, it's a football field like everywhere else.'
Oregon State is a blue-collar program. Oregon, with the support of Nike founder Phil Knight, is much about bling and flash and state-of-the-art facilities. Does that make OSU quarterback Sean Mannion have disdain for the Ducks?
'I like everything we've got here,' said the redshirt freshman, not one to contribute to bulletin-board material.
Coach Mike Riley grew up as a Beaver fan, the son of former OSU assistant coach Bud Riley. The junior Riley smiles when asked if he hates the Ducks.
'I hate to lose to the Ducks,' the OSU coach said. 'I have a lot of respect for a lot of people who have coached at their school, going back to Rich Brooks, a former Beaver, who did a great job with that program. I've known Mike (Bellotti) and I know Chip (Kelly) well now. To hate to lose to them doesn't have anything to do with the respect you have for their program.'
Riley and Kelly, in fact, form a mutual-admiration society.
'It starts with respect for what he's doing,' Riley said of Oregon's head coach. 'He's a ball coach. I like him a lot. His focus is football, and he has done a great job with his program. We don't see each other a lot, but when we do, I appreciate and like him.'