A matter of character and heart.

The mission for the Oregon Ducks during Civil War is simple -- beat Oregon State. Head Coach Mike Bellotti said in his weekly telephone conference streamed on the Internet that Oregon's advantage over Oregon State has nothing to do with statistics or records, but with the character and heart of his players and the home field advantage of Autzen Stadium. Oregon, 7-4, 4-3 in Pac-10 will face Oregon State, 7-3, 4-2, at Autzen for the 107th meetings between the two Willamette Valley schools.

An Oregon win will put the Ducks in a position for a better bowl game and recover a season that had great wins and horrible defeats.

"Our task is the defeat Oregon State," stated Bellotti.

The Ducks must control the line of scrimmage and be able to surge forward and reestablish a new line so that the running game can be effective. If the running game is effective then play action can be executed and the Ducks will be able to pass at their discretion. Defensively, the Ducks must deal with three players that are statically No. 1 in their respective position in the Pac-10.

Running back Stephen Jackson, a junior is averaging 126.6 yards per game on 282 carries for 1,266 yards. Jackson has been the main threat for the Beavers and has caused nightmares for the previous 10 defensive coordinators trying to figure out a way to hold Jackson down.

The problem is intensified because the Beavers also boast of the top statistical quarterback in the conference in junior Derek Anderson. Anderson, despite a rocky start to the season is having a sensational year. He has thrown for 2,980 yards on 185-for-372, 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Anderson's primary receiver is senior James Newson. Newson has 63 catches for 1,059 yards and two touchdowns. Added into the mix is senior tight end Tim Euhus who has 31 catches for 372 yards and six touchdowns and sophomore Mike Hass with 26 catches for 654 yards and six touchdowns. Jackson also is a receiver threat with 28 catches for 309 yards and two touchdown receptions.

Jackson will be the focus of the Oregon defense, a unit that has prided it in being tough on stopping the run. However, Bellotti points out the Ducks must mix up their defensive schemes using man-to-man, zone or a combination of both to cause confusion and keep Oregon State off balance. The Ducks may try to present a seven or eight man front on the defense line in order to counter the big back in orange and black, but when doing so the Beavers' passing attack then becomes cause for concern. Even if the Ducks find a way to throttle the dangerous Newson, a player (Euhus) that the Ducks wanted to walk on from nearby Churchill High School in Eugene could be a big problem operating from the tight end position. Throw in another walk on from Portland's Jesuit High School (Hass) and the Ducks have their work cut out for them. Oregon failed to stop the Oregon State attack last year in losing 45-24 at Reser Stadium. Anderson had a monumental day against the Ducks a year ago with a 31-for-37 for 370 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Jackson rushed for 153 yards and one touchdown. This year though, the focus will be on holding down Jackson's performance and challenging Anderson to make good choices. Anderson has had struggles this season as indicated by the 17 interceptions and the Oregon defensive line must put pressure on him in order to challenge his confidence early on in the game. The key though for the Ducks is Jackson.

"They have arguably the best running back in the nation," Bellotti said acknowledging the degree of difficulty for his defensive unit.

Defensively, OSU has a very active line led by senior tackle Dwan Edwards and junior end Bill Swancutt. The Beaver linebacker corps is fast and tough with senior linebacker Richard Siegler leading with 71 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and has recovered two fumbles. Bellotti describes the OSU secondary as a group of ball hawkers that have size and speed including redshirt freshman cornerback Brandon Browner, 6-4, 194, and junior safety Mitch Meeuwsen, 6-3, 211. Siegler ignited the emotions of Duck fans last Saturday when he announced "Duck Season" after the Beavers had thrashed Stanford in Corvallis. Siegler's talk will have to be backed up and so far this season the Beavers have done a good job in holding down opponents to 289.5 yards per game while the Beaver offensive is averaging 460.9 yards per game. Oregon is averaging 382.5 yards on offense and has been allowing 366.5 yards on defense. The Ducks want to create mismatches in their passing game so that the third and fourth receiver will find opportunities to test the OSU defense. Most critically though, the Ducks want to control the offensive line of scrimmage.

"We have to reestablish our line of scrimmage," said Bellotti. "We can not have it pushed back beyond the boundaries."

And what about the Ducks? Will the Ducks stay with the two-quarterback system it used for most of the season? Probably not based on the last five quarters Kellen Clemens has played. Actually, Bellotti thinks there has been in a noticeable change in Clemens starting with a disastrous first quarter against Cal when Clemens missed two wide open receivers badly. In the Cal game, something must have switched on for Clemens because when he came back into the game in the fourth quarter, trailing Cal 17-7, the signal caller feom Burns controlled his emotions and led the Ducks to a dramatic come from behind win. Against UCLA last week, Clemens again was in control and led the Ducks to a win in the Rose Bowl against a Bruins team known for its stingy defense, 31-13. Bellotti thinks that Clemens now is the best quarterback on the roster and gives the Ducks the best chance to win. Senior Jason Fife is available if Clemens should falter, but there is no plan to give Fife any extra playing time because he is a senior. The Ducks want to put themselves in the best position to win the game. Bellotti believes that Clemens has some comparable characteristics to Joey Harrington in what might be the most significant area in Clemens' development -- his leadership. Leadership has been a topic that Bellotti has been emphasizing for the last couple of weeks. The Oregon coach was very disappointed in the Ducks performance against Arizona State and Washington and let the team know it. However, since the Washington game, Bellotti describes his approach as taking the high road and being more positive in his reinforcement of his charges. Clemens has also stepped up and by controlling his emotions and the results are noticeable.

"The excitement in his voice has changed," Bellotti observed of Clemens. "The team has picked up on it."

Among the seniors playing for the last time on Autzen turf is senior linebacker Kevin Mitchell and safety Keith Lewis. The pressure on Lewis will be great during the Civil War because he will be used in several roles including stopping Jackson. Lewis is a player that has been silenced from talking to media, and though while Bellotti is not as concerned about the amount of talking going on between players on the field and out of earshot of the public, he would rather that public statements be less vocal and intense. Lewis is a great athlete in Bellotti's mind and getting better all the time. Mitchell has gone through a number of transitions during his five years in Eugene. Bellotti thinks he will remember Mitchell not only for his playing achievements but for the kind of person he is off the field. Mitchell is the Ducks' leading tackler this year with 95 tackles, but it is the leadership Mitchell is providing the other players that is impressing Bellotti and that is about personal responsibility and team commitment.

"His message has been so consistent and positive and in line with my thinking," said Bellotti of Mitchell.

The Civil War falls on a weekend known for rivalry contests throughout the country. Oregon State's head coach Mike Riley grew up in Corvallis and for him the game is of special significance comparable to the Auburn-Alabama game and that is saying something considering Riley is an Alabama alum. Bellotti has coached in 15 Civil Wars and though some of the games seem to blend together, but the 1994 contest that insured the Ducks a bid to the Rose Bowl is the one game that sticks out in his mind.

"I think because of my personal background this has been the one (Civil War series) that I really enjoy," said Riley.

Bellotti was asked several times for his opinion why there have been so many lopsided games all over the country this year. He is at a loss of an explanation. It could be because of new coaching staffs or new players, but Oregon is a good example of a team that has experienced the thrill of a big win and the bitterness of the losing badly. The Ducks have an experienced coaching staff and have a relatively young team that has been decimated with the loss of 16 scholarship players. However, going into the Civil War the group of players that are manning the Ducks sidelines are warriors according the their head coach. The Ducks have banded together and found a leader in Clemens, who is like Harrington, and for at least two games has found a way to control his emotions and lead the Ducks to success. Throw in a stadium that should be filled to nearly 60,000 screaming fans and the 2003 version of the Civil War should be a game to remember. Bellotti has said that the games in November are the one's to remember, and if what he says about heart, character and a stadium of mystique is true then November 22, 2003 is going to be something.

Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

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