Senior DT Taylor Hart talks civil war
EUGENE – Oregon Ducks wide receiver Keanon Lowe grew up in Portland a fan of both UO and Oregon State so he understands the importance of the rivalry.
However, four years of playing for the Ducks hasn’t created in him a sense of animosity toward the Beavers.
“I’ve never had any hatred toward Oregon State as a kid growing up in this state,” he said. “Never had any hatred toward them. I’ve always respected that program. Always respected Mike Riley. I root for Oregon State, obviously when they’re not playing us.”
As for the out-of-state guys used to annually whipping the Beavers (Oregon has won five-straight Civil Wars) have a harder time even grasping the magnitude of the event in its 116th year.
“A lot of guys from Texas and other places don’t know what it means until it gets here,” Lowe said.
At least outwardly, many out-of-state players don’t appear to view the Civil War as more than just another game against just another opponent.
Center Hroniss Grasu, from Los Angeles, said he recognizes that it means a lot to the state but…“To me personally it’s just a regular game. I’m not really in to big rivalry games.”
Fair enough, but this isn’t just any rivalry game. However, if you’re goals are to rule the country it only seems logical that winning the state wouldn’t mean all that much.
But it does to fans.
“Just kind of talking around the community and stuff, this game does mean a lot,” Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, from Hawaii, said. “It means a lot to the state. It’s an honor to be able to play in it and just to be able to represent this community the best way that we can is what we’re going to try to do.”
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich grew up in Coos Bay.
“I certainly understand the makeup of (the rivalry) growing up in this state,” Helfrich said.
Yet it falls under the team’s “faceless” opponent mantra.
Regardless of feelings toward the Civil War it is an important game for Oregon (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12). Lose and this officially becomes a disastrous season by modern-day Ducks’ standards.
While for some it might have trouble getting excited to face a 6-5 Oregon State team, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti puts things into the proper perspective.
“Before we used to have to win [the Civil War] so we could feel good about going 2-9,” Aliotti said. “And so did they. Now it’s a game we have to win so we could go 10-2. That’s a pretty good deal.”
Maybe most importantly, the game will be the final one at Autzen Stadium for seniors such as defensive end Taylor Hart.
He great up a UO fan and gets what the rivalry is all about and how much it would mean to him to leave Autzen victorious on Friday.
“This is my last home game at Autzen Stadium so it’s going to be a special game,” he said. “It’s going to be fun, especially going against Oregon State. It’s a fun game. It always has been. It’s been exciting to play against these guys.”
At least someone gets it.