Dane Miller’s 2023 Week 13 Oregon-OSU Football Preview

The Ducks hope to flip the script on the Beavers on Friday and earn another shot at the Huskies

Posted on November 23, 2023

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

The Ducks found themselves in this same position before last year’s Civil War: Win, and they’re right where they want to be; lose, and they’re at the mercy of others.

Having failed to avenge last season’s loss to rival Washington in September, Oregon hopes to right the ship on Friday by beating the Beavers and earning another shot at the Huskies.

I preview the game here and the picks of our writers and broadcasters appear at the bottom.

No. 16 Oregon State at No. 6 OregonOregon Ducks Logo Pac-12

Friday, November 24
5:30 pm PT, FOX

Recent reports linking Jonathan Smith to the Michigan State job may have taken some of the shine off this season’s Civil War.

What the Oregon State coach ends up deciding has zero effect on Oregon, though. And the Ducks must win this game to get to the Pac-12 Championship for a shot at the Playoff.

Last year, the Beavers ran all over UO in the second half for an historic come-from-behind victory. But this year Oregon features a far stronger defense.

Entering the game No. 10 nationally in points allowed per game and No. 10 in rushing yards allowed per game, Dan Lanning’s team is built to stop OSU’s running offense.

Still, the shifty Damien Martinez, who has rushed for 1,147 yards, and his backfield mate Deshaun Fenwick, who has 497, tend to cause problems for every defense.

Beaver QB DJ Uiagalelei | Mark Ylen/AP

The X-Factor this season, though, is DJ Uiagalelei.

For perhaps the first time in the Pac-12 era, Oregon State has a quarterback that can be described as elite.

With a 20-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and six more scores on the ground, the Beaver QB adds a dimension to Smith’s offense that wasn’t present last season.

One of the keys for Tosh Lupoi’s defense will be getting pressure on him.

Uiagalelei doesn’t make many mistakes because he refuses to make risky throws under pressure. Instead, he will either try and make a play with his legs, throw the ball away, or find a check down.

Oregon QB Bo Nix | Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Any of those three options is preferable over Uiagalelei gouging the Ducks for shots downfield. Play-action, in particular, is when he is most dangerous.

The Oregon secondary, which allows the Pac-12’s fewest passing yards per game, must continue to play disciplined and stick to their assignments.

Otherwise, the speedy OSU receivers could find open space beyond an offensive line capable of allowing Uiagalelei to get the ball into their hands.

On the other side of the ball, the Beavers don’t exactly have the defense to slow down Bo Nix and his prolific receivers. Troy Franklin ranks second nationally with 13 TD receptions and Tez Johnson is 15th with nine.

The Beaver rushing defense is strong—No. 17 nationally—but figures to be challenged by one of the country’s best running back tandems in Bucky Irving and Jordan James, who have rushed for 1,002 and 618 yards, respectively.

Oregon State’s pass defense isn’t as capable, entering the game at No. 63 in passing yards allowed per game. Nix should find success throwing against the OSU secondary.

The result should be an Oregon win and a rematch with Washington in Las Vegas.

Game Picks from Our Senior Writers and Broadcasters

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