CORVALLIS, Ore. - When push came to shove in the third quarter of a taut Civil War Game, De'Anthony Thomas seemed to dig a little deeper as he helped Oregon put away rival Oregon State 48-24 on Saturday.
No. 5 Oregon scored 28 unanswered points in the second half and blew out the Beavers in the 116th meeting between the two schools.
The win kept alive, for a few hours at least, Oregon's hopes of defending its Pac-12 Conference championship. The Ducks also needed a UCLA victory over Stanford in a game played later Saturday to earn a berth in the conference title game.
Midway through the third quarter Oregon (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) held a 20-17 lead after the Beavers drove 77 yards and Storm Woods recorded his second rushing touchdown.
The contest got testy on the next series. Thomas was hit and driven backward, into the ground. He was flagged for a personal foul for getting up and stomping his foot on Oregon State's Jordan Poyer.
Thomas, forced into a bigger role at running back because Kenjon Barner was out for part of the second and third quarters with an injury, admitted that he got hot in that moment but also said he felt some cheap shots coming his way.
"I just gave a little shot," Thomas said of the kick. "I was a little mad. All the other plays, there were cheap shots and (OSU) was twisting players' ankles up under the piles, but I feel like we adapted to that and didn't really let it get to us."
Two plays later, Thomas ran for 12 yards and had the ball stripped out of his hands, but he was ruled down before the fumble. The Ducks kept rolling and Thomas eventually scored from six yards out to put his team up 27-17 with 6:59 to go in the quarter.
Oregon State then fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff and Oregon's Keanon Lowe recovered. The Ducks took advantage of the miscue and Thomas wound up scoring on a 29-yard run on fourth-and-five with 5:15 to go in the quarter.
"I was just trying to get the first down for my team and it just popped open," Thomas said.
The Beavers (8-3, 6-3) continued to implode as quarterback Sean Mannion threw interceptions on the team's next three possessions, and receiver Markus Wheaton muffed a diving attempt to catch a punt. Lowe covered that loose ball as well.
Oregon State committed six turnovers for the game, while the Ducks had none.
"(The Ducks) are such a good team that you can't win if you give them handouts," Wheaton said. "We mishandled the ball a lot, me included. The punt that I let go and the couple of kickoffs that we let go, they were bad plays."
Oregon State, which is No. 15 in this week's BCS standings, has lost three of its last five games after rising as high as No. 7 in the AP poll.
The Ducks rebounded from its first loss of the season last week against Stanford and piled up 430 rushing yards. Thomas finished with 122 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.
"For some reason the fans don't seem to like us much when we come up here, but that's OK," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "I think our guys do a great job of blocking that out and playing against a real good team."
Oregon running back Kenjon Barner left the game in the second quarter with an apparent rib or abdominal injury, but he came back in the third quarter and scored his second touchdown of the game. He had 198 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Freshman Marcus Mariota was outstanding in his first Civil War appearance, completing 17 of 24 passes for 140 yards and also running for 85 yards on eight carries. He kept Oregon drives alive by converting five of six times on fourth down.
One of Mariota's best plays came on a fourth-and-seven early in the second quarter with the Ducks trailing 7-6. He escaped from a possible sack and found Will Murphy for an eight-yard gain and a first down. Six plays later, Thomas scored his first touchdown and put Oregon on top for good, 13-6.
"We don't blink," Mariota said. "We've just got to take care of the things that we have to do. The offense did a good job of focusing on our assignments."
Notes: Oregon improved to 60-46-10 in its series with Oregon State, the longest running college rivalry west of the Rocky Mountains. ... The Ducks won their 15th straight road game, the longest streak in the nation. ... Oregon State receivers Wheaton and Brandin Cooks both topped 1,000 yards for the season, becoming the first duo to do it for the Beavers since 2003. ... Oregon State still has one regular-season game left, next week against visiting Nicholls State. The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 1 but postponed because of Hurricane Isaac. ... The attendance of 47,249 was a school record at Oregon State.