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Oregon's response: A runaway Civil War victory

CORVALLIS — Oregon responded, won and then waited.

Would the Ducks be playing in the Pac-12 title game? Would dominoes fall and the Ducks end up in the BCS national championship game? Or would the destination be the Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 3 in Glendale, Ariz.?

No, no and probably yes.

The Ducks took care of part of their unfinished business Saturday, bouncing back from a loss to Stanford the previous week and beating Oregon State 48-24 at Reser Stadium with a team effort — offense, defense, special teams.

Oregon finished its regular season with an 11-1 record, 8-1 in the Pac-12, with its fifth consecutive win in the Civil War game.

The Ducks appear in position to return to a BCS bowl, probably the Fiesta on Jan. 3 at Glendale, Ariz.

Against Stanford, "we lost our control," Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Fellow Ducks surround De'Anthony Thomas after one of his three rushing touchdowns in Oregon's 48-24 Civil War triumph at Oregon State on Saturday.The Ducks had to live with it — and live with wherever they land in the bowl picture because of the defeat.

The Ducks showed character by responding Saturday in convincing fashion.

"The coaches were thinking we were more upset about it," safety Brian Jackson said, of the Stanford loss. "But we were all on the same page. Nothing you can do about the past. Continue on."

From the start before an OSU-record crowd of 47,249, the Ducks appeared to have their mojo back. Kenjon Barner ran hard, the offensive line blocked well and Mariota scored a touchdown on a 42-yard quarterback draw play 1:46 into the game.

The Ducks trailed 7-6 after Oregon State responded with a drive and a Storm Woods' 7-yard touchdown run, but Oregon regained the lead on the first of three De'Anthony Thomas touchdown runs, a 2-yarder 1:41 into the second quarter.

The Ducks never trailed the rest of the way, and watched as Oregon State fell apart in the 116th Civil War game.

Credit to Oregon. Debit to Oregon State. The Beavers had six turnovers — Jackson's interception of QB Sean Mannion at the UO 5 in the first half and three more interceptions and two lost fumbles in the second half, one fumble coming from 6-4, 250-pound upback Devon Kell on a short UO kickoff.

The Beavers had closed to within 20-17, scoring on their opening second-half drive, a 2-yard run by Woods.

"We didn't blink," Mariota said.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly enjoys the way his team comes back from its only loss of the season to win the Civil War for the fifth year in a row.Barner got hurt late in the first half, but the Ducks came back with a contentious drive that included Thomas kicking an OSU player and drawing a personal foul. Mariota hit Josh Huff for 28 yards and a first down and, after some fumble and penalty issues, the Ducks scored on Thomas' 5-yard TD run to lead 27-17.

Then came the onslaught of Beaver turnovers.

Kell muffed the kickoff, the Ducks recovering. Thomas scored his third TD on a 29-yard run. It was 34-17.

Markus Wheaton slid trying to catch a punt, and UO recovered. The Beavers forced a punt, but Mannion served up another interception, by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Barner, having returned, scored on a 1-yard run. It was 41-17.

Kiko Alonso picked off Mannon, and Mariota tossed a 2-yard TD pass to B.J. Kelley. It was 48-17.

Later, Erick Dargan made the fourth interception.

"It was crazy how much the ball ended up being in our hands," Jackson said. "You've got to give us credit. We fought for the ball. It was amazing. 'Wow, we're back on the field again.' "

The Oregon offense was clearly on its game, too — especially rushing the ball, with 430 yards on 64 carries (6.7 per). Coach Chip Kelly promised that the Ducks' ground game would show up after Cal and Stanford limited Barner to 131 combined yards and Oregon under 200 yards in each game.

Barner eclipsed his previous two-game total in the first half (141), but took a jarring hit from Anthony Watkins and missed some third-quarter series. Thomas picked up the slack.

Barner had 198 yards on 28 carries, and Thomas added 122 yards on 17 carries in arguably his best game of the Pac-12 season. Mariota had 85 yards rushing on eight carries and, oh, he went 17 of 24 for 140 yards passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. The three-headed monster in the run game had the Beavers scrambling to stop the Ducks.

"We did a good job of complementing each other," offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said, "and playing hard. We didn't play with our normal effort and edge (against Stanford)."

But it was the defense that really showed well. The Ducks forced the six turnovers, rattled Mannion (31 of 49, 311 yards, four picks, one TD), held down receivers Wheaton (7 catches, 98 yards, no TDs) and Brandin Cooks (5 catches, 74 yards, no TDs) and kept the OSU running game in check (82 yards on 25 carries).

The Ducks' defense, even with the Stanford loss, responded from its most shocking performance quite well. Since USC put up 51 points and 615 yards on the Ducks, and despite having to navigate some injuries, the defense essentially has allowed 17 points in the each of the past three games; Oregon State scored a TD with 20 seconds left to reach its 24 points.

"Attitude and fundamentals," said linebacker Michael Clay, of Oregon's response to the USC offensive barrage. "You don't want 51 points put on you. We regrouped, got better, put our best foot forward, and it showed on the scoreboard. We just want to show how good our defense is."

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: MEG WILLIAMS - A young fan has fun with a Duck pinata before Saturday's noon kickoff.Against OSU, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti added: "We played great against the run. We did a nice job in turnovers, and we held them in explosion plays. We don't completely just shut (a team) out, but we stopped it good enough. I'm proud of our kids."

Kelly had high praise for the defense.

"Our defense really responded after the USC game," he said. "Down the stretch, playing a lot of guys on the defensive side, they just came to play. It's a group that has some core leaders in Kiko, Michael and Dion (Jordan). We're still young in some spots, especially in the secondary, after losing John (Boyett) and Avery (Patterson).

"We went back and forth (Saturday), and then the turnover wave started. It was big. Those guys making stops from a turnover aspect was huge."

Indeed, the Beavers blew their opportunity at an upset with their many mistakes. Disregard the turnovers — two other big plays were Mariota escaping the grasp of OSU's Scott Crichton on fourth-and-7 and throwing an 8-yard pass to Will Murphy (that set up a touchdown), and Wheaton dropping a third-down pass in UO territory. And, the Beavers could have managed their final first-half possession better.

The Mariota play exhibited the redshirt freshman's terrific athleticism.

"It just kind of happened," Mariota said. "I can't say I wanted to do that. I'm glad 'Murph' was open, and I got him the ball."

Said Murphy: "I ran a bubble (route) against the sideline and saw Marcus disappear into the line. I thought for sure it was a sack. Sure enough, Mariota comes sprinting out of it. I don't know how he does it, but he's a playmaker. ... For me, you've got to know where the sticks are at. It won't do any good to catch a ball two yards short of the first down."

So, the Ducks won their fifth in a row against Oregon State and extended another impressive streak: 15 wins in a row on the road since ...

"Nov. 7, 2009 sticks with you," said Kelly, of Oregon's only road loss of his four-year tenure at Stanford. "Every loss hurts, but this group has one road loss in four years."

"We sure had what appeared to be a good opportunity," OSU coach Mike Riley said. "But we did not take very good care of the football. We gave them way too many opportunities."

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - UO quarterback Marcus Mariota whips a jump pass up the field against Oregon State.SCORE BY QUARTERS

OREGON 6 14 14 14 -- 48

OSU 7 3 7 7 -- 24

FIRST QUARTER

OREGON — Marcus Mariota 42 run (pass failed) 13:14

OSU — Storm Woods 7 run (Trevor Romaine kick) 1:28

SECOND QUARTER

OREGON — De'Anthony Thomas 2 run (Alejandro Maldonado kick) 13:19

OREGON — Kenjon Barner 1 run (Maldonado kick) 8:02

OSU — Romaine 36 FG 0:01

THIRD QUARTER

OSU — Woods 2 run (Romaine kick) 10:41

OREGON — Thomas 5 run (Maldonado kick) 6:59

OREGON — Thomas 29 run (Maldonado kick) 5:15

FOURTH QUARTER

OREGON — Barner 1 run (Maldonado kick) 12:51

OREGON — B.J. Kelley 2 pass from Mariota (Maldonado kick) 10:29

OSU — Micah Hatfield 6 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick) :20

Att. — 47,249