For Beavs, the 800-pound Civil War gorilla

CORVALLIS – So here's a question on the Civil War in light of the UW loss – what kind of rushing numbers might the Ducks put up against the Beavers? With Friday's meeting with the Ducks coming up fast, did the UW's 530 rushing yards successfully hand the Beavers a beat down that will last until season's end? Or can Oregon State recover in time for the trip to Eugene?

Led by UW running back Bishop Sankey, (23 carries, 179 yards, 3 TDs) the Huskies bludgeoned the Beavers early and often on the ground. For those now thinking Sankey and crew may have wrecked this Beaver team for the Civil War, it's hard for me to argue otherwise.

Beating Oregon is all about taking away the run. And OSU has shown a porous rush defense all season long. And then there's this newsflash: Sankey is just one player.

On Friday night in the 117th installment of the Civil War, it will be a game that will feature not one, not two or three, but five potential running threats.

Oregon's run game – which has been immensely effective all season while not-so-quietly amassing 2,251 rush yards and 29 touchdowns between De'Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner and Ayele Forde – presents a sizeable challenge, although Marshall may not play due to injury. But the rest could put up, what, a collective 350 yards is where I'm putting the over/under after Saturday's pratfall against the UW. But it's not only just that game.

The last four games, all lopsided losses, have seen running backs treat the OSU defenders like rag dolls.

Stanford's Tyler Gaffney laced 145 big ones and three scores on the Beavs a month ago. USC's Javorious Allen posted 133 yards and three touchdowns against the Beaver stop corps. Marion Grice of Arizona State accounted for 118 yards and two touchdowns when Oregon State fell in Tempe.

OSU is also facing a quarterback who prior to sustaining a knee injury was always a ground threat, and has gathered up 529 yards and nine touchdowns with just his legs this season.

THE OSU DEFENSIVE COACHING STAFF has both a long and short week ahead of them -- for a game that kicks off Friday at 4 p.m. (Fox Sports 1).

They will need to over-prepare, reinforce key strategies and somehow reinvent their run defense.

They will, undoubtedly, need to coach players harder and figure out ways to better tailor their rush defense around attacking the run as opposed to waiting for the play to come to them. There will not be time for the defense to put out first and second quarter feelers on an elusive and precise Oregon run game.

Realistically, OSU couldn't handle one primary running back, let alone the two and three deeps, this past Saturday. Whatever Oregon State did to prepare for UW it didn't work even for a play. So now, for the final regular season game, it becomes about pride.

Oregon State's defense needed to go out with a bang. Against the run, they need to show their fans, alumni, coaches -- and themselves – that they can do so with more efficiency than an intern shredding files at Enron.

Oregon is not an average football team, and they possess one of the strongest offensive approaches in the Pac-12 this past weekend against Arizona notwithstanding. It's an offense that thrives on a multifaceted run game.

All I know is that Oregon's staff has got to be eyeballing tape of the OSU-UW game with a big fat grin on their faces. And nobody is showing even a trace of a smile in the orange corner. For the Beavs, they have about three days to get ready to turn the frown upside-down.

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