Oregon can win another appearance in the Pac-12 championship game when it visits rival Oregon State on Saturday.
The No. 9 Ducks (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) may become the first Pac-12 team to secure four straight title games with a win over the Beavers on Saturday. Oregon exacted revenge against Utah last weekend, beating the Utes 20-17 to keep those Pac-12 title hopes alive. After giving up 76 total points in two losses to Utah last season, the Ducks held the Utes for 170 passing yards and forced three interceptions. Camden Lewis provided the only points for both teams in the fourth quarter when he blasted a 41-yard field goal.
The No. 21 Beavers (8-3, 5-3) promise another tough test. Oregon State has won five of its last six games since starting 2-0 in the league and has eight wins in a season for the first time since 2012. A strong defense has led the Beavers to success. Oregon State’s defense hasn’t conceded any first-quarter points in their last five games, and their opponents have only 27 points in the second quarter over the same period. Only Washington has surpassed 10 points against the Beavers in their last five games.
Related: College football predictions for every week 13 game
Oregon leads the series 67-48-10 and has won eight of its last 10 games against Oregon State.
No. 9 Oregon at No. 21 Oregon State
Kicking off: Saturday, November 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Live broadcast: fuboTV (start free trial)
Tickets: As low as $156 on SITickets.com*
When Oregon has the ball
Bo Nix was not at full strength when he played against Utah after picking up an injury against Washington a week earlier. It didn’t slow Nix down when it mattered. The senior quarterback threw for 287 yards and a touchdown. He also had a critical two-yard run to hit a first down that iced the game late in the fourth quarter. Oregon will need Nix to be more mobile against Oregon State to ease defensive pressure. If he gets any closer to 100 percent this weekend, the Beavers will have to figure out how to contain a quarterback who has helped the Ducks average 531 yards per game since their season opener.
Bucky Irving is nearing his first 1,000-yard season and the sophomore will be hungry to make a bigger impact this week after gaining just 20 yards in 10 carries against Utah. Before facing the Utes, Irving had rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his previous four games. Noah Whittington formed an effective one-two in the backfield with Irving. The duo has rushed for 1,533 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground this season. Whittington finished with 53 yards on 10 carries against the Utes.
When Oregon State has the ball
Damien Martinez continues to be a game changer in the backfield. Martinez rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona State in a 31-7 win over the Sun Devils last weekend. Martinez became the first Oregon State running back to rush for 100 or more yards in five straight games since Steven Jackson in 2003. He has grounded 722 yards in his last six games while averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Martinez has totaled 867 rushing yards this season and is nearing the fourth freshman at Oregon State to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Ben Gulbranson has settled in well as a quarterback over the course of the season. He’s 5-1 since taking over as a starter. Gulbranson didn’t have much to do with Martinez’s rise, but the one thing he does that particularly helps the Beavers is take care of football. The newcomer has thrown just one interception in his last 137 pass attempts, completing 88 passes at this stretch. He has a pair of 200-yard plays in his six starts. Gulbranson completed 71.4 percent of his pass attempts against Arizona State — matching his career high as a starter.
Oregon will face a stingy defense for the second straight week. Allowing just 330.6 yards and 20.3 points per game, Oregon State ranks only behind Utah among Pac-12 teams in total defense. The Ducks were lucky not to lose to the Utes a week ago after making several late errors. Oregon’s defense came to the rescue, and in another defensive struggle, the Ducks will have enough offense on offense to return to Las Vegas in December.
Prediction: Oregon 24, Oregon State 20
Podcast: Week 13 preview, predictions, anti-spread tips, breakdown of the latest CFB playoff rankings, and coaching news and rumors
– Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter based in Utah. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.
*Price at publication.