Many keys to success for Ducks, Beavers

2009-12-02T08:15:00Z Many keys to success for Ducks, BeaversBy Jesse Sowa, for the Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
December 02, 2009 8:15 am  • 

EUGENE -Ask 10 different players or coaches involved in tonight's historic Civil War in Autzen Stadium what the keys will be and you might just get 10 different answers.

But one thing is for sure no matter whose mouth it comes from.

"This is a big, big game. It's for the Rose Bowl," Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said. "Our guys are going to be prepared and they will play their butts off."

No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 13 Oregon State in one of the single-biggest sporting events in the state. Ever.

The winner represents the Pacific-10 Conference in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against Ohio State.

Accurate or not, soundbites from both sides declare this a matchup of two evenly matched teams.

For Oregon junior center Jordan Holmes, the obvious answer in where to find the difference-makers is at the line of scrimmage.

"It's going to be the offensive and defensive fronts, when it comes down to it," said Holmes, whose father Mike attended Oregon while his mother Gail went to OSU.

"They're solid on both sides of the ball, and we're pretty solid on both sides of the ball. It's just going to be a battle."

Casey Matthews, an Oregon junior linebacker, has an answer as well: Stopping OSU's running game.

The Ducks have a stiff challenge in trying to slow down Jacquizz Rodgers, who in 2008 became the first freshman ever named the conference's offensive player of the year.

Oregon caught a break last season when Rodgers didn't play in the Civil War due to injury.

"If we can get them down and get them to pass, I think our pressure will go a long way in helping our team to win," Matthews said.

For Oregon senior running back Andre Crenshaw, it comes down to preparation.

Both teams have had 12 days since their last games to get ready.

Oregon slipped past Arizona on the road in double overtime. OSU also traveled, rolling over Washington State.

"Whoever prepares better and plays the hardest is usually going to come out with the victory," Crenshaw said earlier this week. "We're preparing hard. We're just doing everything we can right now."

Momentum has carried a big load for the winning team in recent years.

That could lead Oregon senior kicker Morgan Flint to be correct in believing emotions will play a factor.

"If we're able to use our emotions as a positive, then I think the Autzen crowd is definitely going to help us with that," Flint said. "Emotions are pretty tricky. They can help you or they can hurt you.

"Hopefully we can channel that energy into a positive force for us."

For Oregon's Chip Kelly, in his first year as head coach, it's about turnovers.

In 2008, the Ducks intercepted OSU quarterback Lyle Moevao twice, returning both for touchdowns. The Ducks also recovered a Beavers fumble in the 65-38 win.

Oregon didn't give the ball away in that game.

"In a Pac-10 game it's always going to come down to turnovers, number one," Kelly said. "Who can hold onto the ball better, who can create turnovers and then what you do with those turnovers."

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