Marcus Mariota struck the pose while breaking a tackle in Corvallis four years ago.
Perhaps Oregon’s Justin Herbert can get an early start on his 2019 Heisman Trophy campaign with a lasting performance against Oregon State on Friday at Reser Stadium (1 p.m., Fox Sports 1).
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In nine career Pac-12 road starts, the junior quarterback has thrown 22 touchdown passes with only two interceptions.
Yet the Ducks (7-4, 4-4) are only 2-7 in those games, a math problem offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo didn’t really have an answer for when asked about it this week.
During the painful 34-24 loss to the Beavers (2-9, 1-7) two years ago, which proved to be the end of the Mark Helfrich era at Oregon, Herbert completed 16 of 28 passes for 180 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
“It was really special going from watching it to playing in it,” Herbert said of the Civil War rivalry. “Coming from Eugene, I know how important it is to everyone. I’ve kind of got that perspective and knowledge behind it.
“It’s always special to be playing football at this time of the year and a great opportunity.”
Herbert will decide after the season whether to go chase the NFL opportunity that’s waiting for him this year or following his senior season.
The 6-foot-6, 237-pound former Sheldon High standout has passed for 2,883 yards with 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.
Herbert should become the fifth player in program history to pass for at least 3,000 yards in a season, joining Mariota (4,454 yards in 2014, 3,665 yards in 2013), Akili Smith (3,763 yards in 1998), Danny O’Neil (3,224 yards in 1993) and Bill Musgrave (3,081 yards in 1989).
“We’re always trying to put two halves together,” said Herbert, who tallied 249 of his 262 passing yards in the first half against Arizona State last Saturday. “We’re hoping things go our way. We’ve been working hard and we’ve been doing everything we can. I’m looking forward to it.”
Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell, who had 103 yards and a touchdown on only four catches during the 31-29 win in the home finale, leads the Pac-12 with 1,105 receiving yards and needs 36 more yards to break Josh Huff’s single-season record of 1,140 set in 2013.
“I think it would be really cool for him,” Herbert said. “He’s a guy that deserves so much and has worked so hard. I think it’s very telling of the work that he’s put in this year, and the things he’s had to go through.”
Oregon’s erratic offense will try to find some consistency against the Beavers, who rank 129th out of 130 FBS teams in points (44.8 ppg) and yards (539.2 ypg) allowed per game.
Redshirt freshman CJ Verdell ran for 70 yards and a touchdown, and true freshman Travis Dye finished with 105 rushing yards against the Sun Devils.
Oregon State will counter with Jermar Jefferson, who ranks eighth nationally with 1,316 rushing yards (119.6 per game). The freshman had 115 yards during the Beavers’ 42-23 loss at Washington last week.
Jake Luton, whose career with the Beavers has been marred by illness and injuries, is completing 63.6 percent of his passes this season with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
The 6-7 senior came off the bench to throw three of those touchdowns during Oregon State’s improbable rally from a 31-3 deficit at Colorado. The 41-34 overtime triumph gave first-year coach Jonathan Smith his first Pac-12 win and was the program’s first road win since 2014.
“There’s a lot of carryover from what you’ve seen in coach Smith’s history,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said of his counterpart, a former Oregon State quarterback who was Washington’s offensive coordinator before returning to his alma mater. “He does a great job, great football coach, extremely smart. They scheme you up pretty well. They understand where the holes are and they go after it.”
The Beavers are averaging 27.1 points this season, and the Ducks are giving up an average of 28.1 points.
During its current three-game road losing skid, Oregon has been outscored 110-60.
“Last year against Washington, they ran a lot of routes to scheme against our corners to get open,” Ducks cornerback Thomas Graham said. “(Smith) and (Oregon defensive coordinator Jim) Leavitt have been going back and forth since Leavitt was at Colorado.
“So that's the main thing for this one, just make sure I know what's coming and when it's coming."
The Ducks led the 2016 game 24-14 before the rains came. And then the coaching changes started.
“It was bad, man,” left guard Shane Lemieux said of the feeling walking off the field after the Beavers snapped an eight-game Civil War losing streak. “I felt disappointment from alumni, I felt disappointment from fans, because obviously we broke the streak. More than that we lost a game that we should never lose.
“That’s kind of implied that we should never lose that game to Oregon State.”