Oregon-Oregon State add unique chapter to historic rivalry

The rivalry might not have a catchy label but heated feelings remain prevalent when No. 9 Oregon visits Oregon State in Pac-12 action on Friday at Corvallis.Five months ago, the two schools dropped the “Civil War” tag that was long associated with the annual contest. The mutual change came one month after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis prompted names and symbols of the Confederacy to be scrutinized.Oregon (3-0, 3-0 Pac-12) has prevailed in 11 of the past 12 meetings entering the 124th game of the series between schools located about 45 miles apart.Another difference is the audience. No fans will be in attendance due to coronavirus protocols and both coaches wish the typical game-day atmosphere was possible.”I feel for the fans, I do,” Ducks coach Mario Cristobal told reporters on Monday. “Because you can feel the enthusiasm, the energy, the anticipation for games like this, in the community.”Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith knows the rivalry from the standpoint of a player and coach. He quarterbacked the Beavers from 1998-2001 and ranks third in school history with 9,680 career passing yards.”We’d love to have Beaver Nation out here,” Smith said during a press conference on Monday. “At the same time, I feel grateful that we’re able to play this game in 2020. All of us get that it’s really different, but I’m grateful we get to play them.”The Ducks can’t afford to stumble against Oregon State (1-2, 1-2 Pac-12).Oregon is currently the Pac-12’s best option per landing a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff. But the Ducks would see any chance evaporate with a loss.Oregon rolled to solid wins in its first two games — 35-14 over Stanford, 43-29 at Washington State — before struggling to post a 38-35 home victory over UCLA last Saturday.”We were a little bit out of sync, and like we told those guys, ‘Look, when you win, you don’t apologize for winning, you don’t get down for winning, you just recognize where you got to get better,'” Cristobal said. “And we weren’t at our very best, and we know that we have to improve certain things.”Sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns against UCLA and is getting comfortable as the replacement for departed first-round NFL draft selection Justin Herbert. Shough has thrown for 646 yards and seven touchdowns over the past two games.Shough also has 197 rushing yards, second on the team behind junior CJ Verdell’s 241.