EUGENE, Oregon — After a disappointing season, Oregon State gave its best effort in the finale.
Freshman Ryan Nall ran for 174 yards and a touchdown and the Beavers came within three points of No. 18 Oregon twice in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell 52-42 Friday in the 119th Civil War.
"We didn't get the outcome that we wanted to but I think everyone can walk away saying they left everything on the field," Nall said.
It was the ninth straight loss for the Beavers (2-10, 0-9), the most since 1995 when they lost 10 in a row. Oregon State did not win a conference game for the first time since 1997.
It was also the Beavers' seventh straight loss in the series.
But they made it exciting in the end.
Victor Bolden ran 78 yards on a punt return for the touchdown to narrow the score to 38-35 early in the fourth quarter. Oregon's Vernon Adams answered on the next drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Bralon Addison.
Then Nall broke away for a 66-yard scoring run to draw the Beavers within 45-42 with 7:05 to go. Again Adams answered with a 24-yard TD pass to Addison for the final margin.
"Quite frankly, I'm sure nobody gave them a chance but themselves and the people that are closest to us, and they battled like crazy," Beavers coach Gary Andersen said. "It was a good feeling and it was something they can build on."
Adams threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns as Oregon extended its winning streak to six games. Royce Freeman ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12), who will now wait to see how the postseason bowl picture shakes out. Stanford will represent the Pac-12 North in the conference championship game.
Addison caught eight passes for 106 yards and scored four touchdowns for Oregon, including a 13-yard TD run.
Oregon State's Seth Collins, who missed four games with a left knee injury, returned and ran for three touchdowns while sharing quarterback duties with first-time starter Marcus McMaryion.
The mobile Collins, who still led the team in rushing despite his injury, scored on a 4-yard run to give the Beavers the early 7-0 lead. Andersen said last week said Collins would sit the rest of the season, but the true freshman quarterback returned to practice this week — at receiver.
Collins was the starter at QB at the start of the season, with redshirt freshman McMaryion serving as backup. Nick Mitchell, also a redshirt freshman, later played himself into the backup role.
Mitchell started while Collins was sidelined, but this week Andersen announced McMaryion would get his first career start, and hinted that Collins would play.
"Seth is going to be a huge part of this offense as we move forward in a lot of different ways. You could see how dynamic he is," said Andersen, in his first season with the Beavers after taking over for Mike Riley.
The Beavers' early lead was short-lived and on the next series of the game Addison ran for a score to tie it.
Taj Griffin added a 14-yard touchdown run and Aidan Schnieder kicked a 25-yard field goal to extend the Ducks' lead to 17-7.
Freeman rushed for a 3-yard touchdown before Adams' 37-yard pass to Addison — which extended Oregon's streak of games with at least one touchdown pass to 80. The TD gave the Ducks a 31-7 lead at the half.
The Beavers rebounded after the break with Collins running from 1-yard and 9-yards out for consecutive touchdowns.
After Freeman's 19-yard scoring run made it 38-21 for the Ducks, McMaryion's 6-yard scoring run closed the gap again for Oregon State and set up the final quarter.
"I think we finally started getting a couple of those plays that for the entire season have been going against us and the momentum started to swing," defensive end Lavonte Barnett said.
Oregon State has been hit by injuries this season — in addition to learning Andersen's new system and playing with inexperienced quarterbacks — and had only 54 scholarship players available for the game.