EUGENE - Remember this date: Nov. 26, 2016.
That was the last time Oregon State won a Civil War game. It wasn't that long ago. Only a year. But that date could have legs.
Oregon whipped OSU 69-10 tonight in the 121st Civil War at Autzen Stadium. The score very much reflected the disparity between the two programs. So much so that UO coach Willie Taggart dropped some smack talk afterwards by saying that the Ducks, who led 52-7 at halftime, wore raincoats at the end of this game because "it was raining touchdowns."
Taggart was making a reference to statements made during the week by OSU interim coach Cory Hall, who recalled the second half of OSU's victory last year when the rain came and Oregon's players began putting on raincoats while the Beavers welcomed the elements. Hall said he knew then that the Beavers would win. And they did, 34-24, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the 121-game series. It might be a long time before OSU defeats UO again.
The trajectory of the two programs couldn't be anymore contrasting. Oregon has a young, rising star coach in Taggart, who happens to be a recruiting dynamo. Oregon State saw its so-called savior coach, Gary Andersen, quit mid-season and is now scrambling to find its next leader.
Oregon has a potentially limitless ceiling. The Ducks' 2018 recruiting class ranks No. 1 on Scout.come and No. 6 on both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. OSU's class ranks 79th on Rivals. A new coach could change that but he won't be able to get the Beavers into the top 30, let alone top 10. The talent disparity between the two programs that was on display tonight will continue to grow.
Oregon gained 577 yards compared to 211 for Oregon State.
Of course, strange things could happen. Maybe a new OSU coach will hit big on an elite quarterback while Oregon is left scrambling after Justin Herbert, four touchdown passes tonight, moves on to the NFL in the next couple of years. Maybe Taggart bolts for another program soon and a new coach falters in recruiting, setting the table for Oregon State to pounce.
Anything could happen. But after Saturday night's beatdown - the largest margin of victory in this series - it's difficult to walk away not believing that at least another eight-game Civil War winning streak for the Ducks has already begun.