CORVALLIS, Ore. – After Oregon’s loss to Stanford last weekend, running back Kenjon Barner figured there were three ways for the Ducks to respond in the Civil War against Oregon State.
“You can let it define you, destroy you or strengthen you,” Barner said. “With this team, every loss we’ve taken in the past, it’s strengthened us, made us stronger. Looking back on (the 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford), it was a loss. We knew what we had to do to get back on the winning track, and we did it.”
Barner ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns – despite leaving the game for a time with what he called a minor injury – and No. 5 Oregon defeated No. 16 Oregon State, 48-24, in the annual Civil War game.
The victory initially kept the Ducks (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) alive for a spot in the Pacific-12 Conference title game, but Stanford defeated UCLA, 35-17, later Saturday to clinch the league’s North Division.
It was Oregon’s fifth consecutive victory in the 116-game rivalry series with the Beavers, and the Ducks hold a 60-46-10 overall edge.
While the Civil War is normally the season finale for both teams, Oregon State (8-3, 6-3) will host Nicholls State on Saturday in a matchup that was supposed to open the season but was put off when Hurricane Isaac bore down on the Colonels’ Thibodaux, La., campus.
The Beavers will have to wait to find out where they’re headed for a bowl game, but already their season can be counted a success after they went 3-9 last year.
Barner appeared to hurt either his abdomen or ribs late in the first half and headed to the locker room. He returned after the break, but much of the work went to De’Anthony Thomas until Barner returned on a scoring drive that made it 41-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Thomas finished with 122 yards rushing and three scores. Oregon redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota threw for 140 yards and a score and ran for 85 yards and a TD as the Ducks rolled up 430 yards rushing against an OSU defense that came in ranked No. 14 in the country against the run, giving up 108.3 yards a game.
OSU’s Sean Mannion threw for 311 yards and a late score but had four interceptions – three of them on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter, two of which resulted in Oregon touchdowns.
“We have another opponent and we don’t have time to pout and feel sorry for ourselves,” Mannion said. “Nicholls State is going to come in here and try to beat us. … I think it will be a good thing because I know everyone is hurting about this one, especially the seniors.”
Attendance was 47,249 fans, a Reser Stadium record.
Oregon put the Stanford loss behind them by striking quickly on their first possession with Mariota’s 42-yard keeper. The touchdown drive took just 1:46, but the Ducks’ two-point try failed.
OSU took a 7-6 lead on Storm Woods’ 7-yard touchdown run, but the Ducks answered with Thomas’ 2-yard TD. Barner added a 1-yard scoring run before he was hurt.
Stanford held Barner to 66 yards the week before, but he had 141 yards before halftime to move past Derek Loville into second place on Oregon’s career rushing list and help the Ducks build a 20-10 halftime lead.
The Beavers narrowed the gap on Woods’ 2-yard scoring run on their first series of the second half.
But it was all Ducks the rest of the way.