History of the Civil War

Riley Youngman, News Contributor

On Friday Nov. 27 the Oregon State University Beavers will travel to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks in the 119th edition of the Civil War.

While this year’s annual rivalry game may not pack as much punch as previous matchups, with the Beavers fighting for their first Pac-12 win on the year, that does not take away from the longstanding storied background between the two largest universities in Oregon.

With 118 collegiate football games having been played between OSU and Oregon since the inaugural match 1894, the Civil War series has an expansive history.

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1894 saw the first ever game between the then Oregon Agricultural College (which would later become Oregon State University) and the University of Oregon.  OSA won the game 16-0.

After the 1899 season, the OAC Board of Regents voted to prohibit athletics on campus for budgetary reasons, which led to the Civil War not being played in 1900 and 1901.

1908 saw the first ever Civil War game played in Portland at the Multnomah Stadium (what is now Providence Park) in front of a sold out crowd of 10,000 people.  Oregon won 8-0.

In 1910, arguments between fans from Oregon and Oregon Agricultural College escalated into unruly behavior as Oregon fans headed toward the train station to return to Eugene, which ultimately prompted Oregon to supply stories of OAC “hooliganism” to the state press.  This upset OAC students and the 1911 Civil War the next year was not played.

In an effort to establish a neutral game site in 1912, a temporary 10,000 person stadium was constructed in Albany, OR before the game.  Students of both schools were kept apart during the game by police and forbidden from visiting downtown Albany before or after the game.

World War II saw the Civil War get suspended for the 1943 and 1944 editions.  

In 1954, 60 Oregon students arrived in Corvallis early and lit the Oregon State bonfire in the middle of the night.  Between 15 and 20 Oregon students were then captured by OSU students and held captive.  The “prisoners” had their heads shaved and painted black and orange.  One Oregon student was even paraded through campus with a sign that read: “I’m a dumb Duck.”

Oregon State went into the 1957 matchup ranked first on the west coast but due to a “no repeat” rule, would not be attending the Rose Bowl even if they beat Oregon.  OSU won 10-7.

1972 saw Oregon students in Corvallis rush the field and take down the south goalpost.  When they turned to take down the north goalpost as well, OSU students and fans attempted to halt them, and a brawl broke out on the field.

The first Civil War game to go to overtime occurred in 1998.  The Beavers escaped with a 44-41 victory in Corvallis.

OSU entered the 2008 game needing a victory to clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl, but was blown out by Ducks 65-38, who set the record for most points scored by one team and total points scored in the series.

The latest major incident of incivility in the Civil War occurred in 2010 after the Ducks beat the Beavers in Corvallis.  A student from Oregon was photographed burning a shirt over the Beaver’s logo, causing extensive damage to the artificial turf.  The student was then identified by police through that photo and charged with several misdemeanors as well as “inciting a riot”.

Through 118 games against UO, OSU has 46 wins, 62 losses, and 6 ties.  The last time OSU emerged victorious was the 2007 game in Eugene, in which the Beavers won 38-31 in double overtime.

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