Duck Soup Oregon State happily knocked Oregon out of the Rose Bowl and earned a share of the Pac-10 title for the first time in 36 years

November 27, 2000

They lined up and linked arms, forming a human chain. Inside the
first ring of unsmiling state troopers was a smaller one, and
inside that was the north goalpost at Oregon State's Reser
Stadium. Fueled by booze and the euphoria of having seen their
school win a share of its first Pac-10 title in 36 years, a mob
of Beavers fans hurled itself at the cops, breaching both chains
and creating anarchy. A couple of smacked asses made it onto the
crossbar but were dragged down by the police before either
upright fell.

Add those state troopers to the list of heroes from last
Saturday's latest fighting of the Civil War, a 23-13 Oregon
State victory over Oregon. The list begins with Robert Prescott,
the wide receiver whose pair of first-quarter touchdown catches
gave the Beavers a 14-0 lead they never relinquished. It
includes Jake Cookus, the former walk-on and now starting free
safety who was on the receiving end of three of the five
interceptions thrown by Ducks quarterback Joey Harrington. Add
tailback Ken Simonton--who had 10 yards rushing at halftime but
finished with 113 on 24 carries--and an offensive line that
allowed zero sacks of Oregon State quarterback Jonathan Smith,
and we're still a hero short.

That would be Marty Maurer from Medford, Ore., a senior tight
end who makes the list not just because each of his five
receptions (for 73 yards) moved the chains for the Beavers at
critical times but also because he restored a reporter's faith
in the malice for all of the Civil War. While some of the other
players seemed to be extending olive branches ("I really don't
understand the Civil War thing. I just took it as another game,"
said Oregon State wideout Chad Johnson; "A couple of my best
friends are Beavers," conceded Oregon defensive tackle Jed
Boice), Maurer recalled that this 106-year-old rivalry is built
on mutual spite and genuine ill will.

"To knock the Ducks out of the Rose Bowl--it feels awesome,"
Maurer said after the game. "I'd love to be in Oregon's locker
room right now." It wasn't a pretty sight. Harrington sat
barefoot on a folding chair, whispering monosyllabic responses to
reporters. The Ducks had free-fallen from the Rose Bowl to a
probable berth in the Culligan Holiday Bowl in the space of a
single afternoon.

Once the 10-1 Beavers had stopped dancing in their locker
room--even coach Dennis Erickson let his hair down and boogied
briefly--they tuned in to the Apple Cup, Washington's
season-ending Armageddon against Washington State. An upset by
the Cougars would have propelled Oregon State to the Rose Bowl.
The Beavers didn't watch for long; the Huskies were in the
process of routing Washington State 51-3 (page 50). Though Oregon
State, Oregon and Washington have identical 7-1 conference
records and share the Pac-10 championship, the Huskies will play
in Pasadena, thanks to a complicated tie-breaking formula.

Even though the Oregon State players saw roses slip from their
grasp, there were no long faces in their dressing room.
"Wherever we end up," said Maurer--the Beavers hope it's the
Fiesta Bowl--"we know we did everything we possibly could."

They know how many light years they've traveled. Oregon State did
not have a winning record from 1971 through 1998. If Maurer's
desire to observe the Ducks' suffering sounds sadistic, or at
odds with his Christian upbringing, consider where he's coming
from. As a junior and senior at tiny Cascade Christian High in
Jacksonville, Ore., he was recruited heavily by Oregon. "Call me
arrogant, but I just assumed I was going there," he says. "My dad
had played there, and I thought I was that caliber of player."

At the end of his senior season, however, the Ducks stopped
calling. Maurer had excelled but against small-school
competition, and the Oregon staff had doubts he could play in
Division I. The rebuff was equally hurtful to Marty's father,
Andy, who had starred for Oregon at tight end in the late 1960s
before going on to an eight-year career as a guard for the
Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, San
Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. Marty took a scholarship to
Oregon State, and the Maurers discarded all of their Ducks
paraphernalia. "It was a lot of stuff," says Marty, "sweatshirts,
caps, those flags that go on your car. It all got tossed."

"We write, 'Return to sender,' on all the Ducks stuff that comes
in the mail," says Andy. When fund-raisers from Oregon call the
Maurer household, they get an earful from him: "I say, 'You
rejected my son, so you don't get any money.'"

Marty is 6'4" and 241 pounds, with average speed and terrific
hands. He may or may not end up in the NFL--a Detroit Lions scout
spoke to him after Saturday's game--but his football resume
includes something his father's lacks: a victory in the Civil
War. Marty now has two. He was a sophomore in 1998, when the
Beavers beat the Ducks 44-41 in double overtime. That game and
its aftermath became one of the storylines for this Civil War.
Oregon State fans stormed the field prematurely during the first
OT and stood on the sidelines as the rest of the game played out.
The Beavers' win brought fans streaming back onto the field,
where some of them, apparently, forgot their manners.

"There were fans spitting on us, hitting us in the back," said
Oregon defensive end Jason Nikolao last week. "Little kids,
women, old people, pointing at us in the face. I wasn't going to
hit a woman or slap a little kid or an old man. But I wanted
somebody my age to pop off, because I wanted to knock somebody
out, I was so mad."

Harrington said he would "never, ever forget" how the Ducks were
"degraded" that night. He called the events of the 1998 Civil War
"the most humiliating experience of my life"--a statement he may
wish to amend after Saturday's six-turnover performance. (He also
coughed up a fumble.)

The Ducks' criticizing the Beavers for inadequate crowd control
is like Eminem chastising Trent Reznor for graphic lyrics. Crowd
control at Oregon's Autzen Stadium is consistently atrocious, in
part because fans come onto the field to exit the stadium.

Unruly mobs are a recurring theme in the history of this rivalry.
"We beat them up there, 12-0, in 1910," said Oregon archivist
emeritus Keith Richard last Thursday. "Afterward, our fans were
going to the train depot. There were fights along the way, more
fights on the train." The Boards of Regents at both schools
conducted investigations and suspended the game for a year.

It wasn't enough that the Beavers won 14-0 at Oregon in 1937.
Oregon State students felt the need to return to Eugene two days
later for some follow-up gloating. "Someone on campus received a
call from a farmer in Junction City, saying that carloads of
Beavers were on their way," said Richard. "When they entered the
campus at 13th Avenue and Kincaid, they were met with
high-pressure water hoses. There was a general melee."

During the 1970s and '80s the two schools played awful football
that reached its nadir in the '83 Civil War, the infamous Toilet
Bowl, a 0-0 tie played in a driving rain. "It was disgusting,"
said Richard. "A few thousand people watching a few dozen inept
people do what they were trained not to do."

Oregon State lost 11 of the next 14 Civil Wars. Asked if he took
pleasure in the suffering of the Beavers, Richard shook his head.
"I felt sorry for them," he said. "They had been a proud
program." He was referring to the Age of the Pumpkin. Recruiting
running backs and quarterbacks and conscripting them into service
as linebackers and linemen, Dee (the Pumpkin) Andros won 33 games
from 1966 to '70. The Beavers finished second three times in that
span but went to no bowls. From 1968 to 1975 the Pac-10 forbade
its teams to play in any postseason game except the Rose Bowl.
"That hurt us," says the spherical Andros, now 76, who remains
hugely popular around Corvallis, due in large part to his record
in Civil Wars. "Won nine, lost two," he says. "Of course the
losses are the ones you remember."

In 1974 Andros's fullback separated his shoulder the week before
the game against Oregon. Despite that injury he insisted he could
play. He could play, Andros said, if he could do 10 pushups. "I
went into his office, dropped down, did the pushups and said,
'See you at practice,'" recalls Dick Maurer. "Riding home on my
bike I was crying, my shoulder hurt so bad." He rushed for 116
yards and two touchdowns in the Beavers' 35-16 win.

A quarter century later, with his father and his uncle Dick
watching, Marty Maurer kept making clutch plays against the team
that had no use for him. On second-and-21 with just over 10
minutes left in the game, Smith faked a handoff to Simonton and
hit Maurer with a 22-yard pass, moving the chains, allowing the
Beavers to eat up more time. Eight minutes later Harrington threw
his final interception--this one was intended for his tight end,
Justin Peelle--and the Oregon State fans took up the cheer for
Washington State: "Let's go Cougars!"

As the last seconds bled off the clock, a Love, American Style
display of fireworks colored the Corvallis sky. Roman candles
were still going off, more sporadically, an hour later, as the
Maurer clan gathered outside the stadium. Andy stood off at a
distance, unable to conceal his paternal pride as he watched his
son mingle with well-wishers. "It's such a delight, being a dad,"
he said.

The Maurer men were off that night to hunt bull elk in southern
Oregon. Marty had been elk hunting only once and had come home
with nothing. "It's different from deer hunting," he said. "It
takes a little more time. I've killed a deer almost every year."
Now he has also bagged his limit of Ducks.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH [T of C] COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT BECK Ken do Simonton chewed up Oregon's defense for 113 yards. COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK Beaver dam Quarterback Smith's watertight wall of blockers prevented the Ducks from sacking him even once.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH Bad air day Darnell Robinson and the rest of the Oregon State defense pressured Harrington into throwing five interceptions. COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER Family feud The Ducks' snubbing of Maurer (87) angered not only him but also his father, a former Oregon standout.

Pranks a Lot

Here are some of the ploys that have fueled the bad blood
between intrastate rivals:

--Brigham Young radio play-by-play man Paul James lives in Salt
Lake City, which is University of Utah (a.k.a. You-You)
territory. Each year on the night before the Cougars-Utes game
his front yard gets hammered by Utah students with all kinds of
items, from litter to VW bugs. Following the game, the
perpetrators clean up the mess.

--Two years ago a group of Cal students uprooted the Stanford
tree costume from the Stanford Band Shak and took it hostage. At
the height of the crisis a photo was sent to the Cal student
paper that showed the captive tree wearing a blindfold.

--In 1961 an old cow, which had been donated to South Carolina's
Sigma Nu chapter, was to be led onto the field at Carolina
Stadium before the South Carolina-Clemson game by a fraternity
brother dressed as longtime Tigers coach Frank Howard. A crown
was to be placed on the cow's head and the title MISS CLEMSON
written on her side in white shoe polish. Unfortunately the
bovine Miss Clemson expired while en route to the stadium.

--Before the 1917 Texas-Texas A&M affair a few Texas alumni
planned to put a 21-7 brand on a longhorn steer as a reminder of
the previous year's victory over the Aggies. A few A&M fans
learned of the plan, sneaked into the steer's pen and branded
him 13-0, recalling the score of the '15 game won by the Aggies.
The Texas folk then converted the 13 to a B, changed the dash to
an E and inserted a V before the 0. Thus did the Longhorn mascot
come to be known as Bevo.

--At the 1997 Big Game, in Palo Alto, an intrepid Cal alumnus,
who had reportedly suffered through broadcasts of several
Stanford home games for the sole purpose of recording the
announcer's voice, was able to briefly control the Stanford
Stadium P.A. system. Late in the fourth quarter of a game that
Stanford would win 21-20, fans in the stands heard this
synthesized announcement: "Penalty. Excessive arrogance.
Stanford sucks."

--In 1989, Steve Spurrier, Duke's coach at the time, led the
Blue Devils to a 41-0 abasement of North Carolina at Kenan
Stadium in Chapel Hill. Afterward the Blue Devils, who had been
running trick plays well into the fourth quarter, posed for a
team photo beneath the scoreboard at Spurrier's behest.