December 3, 2009 in Sports

It’s coming up roses for Oregon

Ducks win Pac-10 title, Rose Bowl berth with Civil War victory
Bud Withers The Seattle Times
Rick Bowmer photo

Oregon’s LaMichael James (21) celebrates with teammate D.J. Davis (10) after scoring against Oregon State in the second quarter during the annual Civil War game in Eugene tonight.
(Full-size photo)

EUGENE, Ore. — It was billed as a Civil War for the ages, the biggest of all of them.

It might have been the best.

With a Rose Bowl berth on the line for both teams, Oregon came back from a nine-point, second-half deficit and won the bid to Pasadena with a 37-33 victory over the Beavers on Thursday night.

After OSU misfired on a fourth-and-15 pass deep in Oregon territory with slightly more than six minutes left, the Ducks, nursing the 37-33 lead, converted on a punishing 6-yard run by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli at the OSU 27.

Then Oregon, at the OSU 19 at the two-minute mark, succeeded on another fourth-and-two, using a pitch left from Masoli to Kenyon Barner for 5 yards, and that sewed it up.

Moments later, the Ducks celebrated their first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1994 season. They’ll play Ohio State, the Big Ten champion.

Oregon State took a 30-21 lead with 10:51 left in the third quarter, but Oregon wouldn’t go away. The Ducks, using previously suspended running back LeGarrette Blount, answered immediately with a pivotal 68-yard drive, Blount carrying the last 12 yards.

The Beavers countered with Justin Kahut’s 45-yard field goal. But LaMichael James hit the left side and ripped off 52 yards for the go-ahead score, the fifth lead change of the game that put the Ducks up 34-33.

Oregon added a 34-yard field goal by Morgan Flint at the 10:13 mark of the fourth quarter for the 37-33 margin.

Back came the Beavers, with the clock winding inside the halfway mark of the final quarter. James Rodgers caught a 33-yard pass from Sean Canfield to position the Beavers at the Oregon 22. But the Ducks, who got a better pass rush in the second half on Canfield, corralled him for a 6-yard sack. And with 6:09 remaining, OSU elected to go for it on fourth-and-15 rather than have Kahut attempt a 44-yard field goal with a slight headwind.

Canfield’s sideline pass to Rodgers was mistimed, and the Ducks took over.

In a first half with four lead changes, the Beavers went to the locker room with a 23-21 lead after moving 75 yards in six plays in just 58 seconds for the go-ahead score.

Down 21-16, OSU benefited from a pass-interference call on Oregon’s Talmadge Jackson against Rodgers to start the drive. With 20 seconds left and the ball at the Oregon 28, Canfield dropped back and hit Rodgers on a deep post route. He took it in stride against Ducks corner Cliff Harris, and the Beavers nosed back in front by two.

It was a high-scoring, if mistake-prone, first half. Oregon State hurt itself with eight penalties, while the Ducks threw an interception on their first series and lost a fumble, resulting in 10 OSU points.

Jacquizz Rodgers scored from the 1 for OSU after Masoli’s tipped pass was picked off by OSU corner James Dockery at the Oregon 22. Masoli, operating the Oregon spread offense to sizzling perfection on the next drive, got the Ducks even at 7-7.

The Beavers responded with Kahut’s 40-yard field goal, but Masoli quickly found Jeff Maehl behind Dockery on a 73-yard pass play to push the Ducks back into the lead, 14-10.

Two more Kahut field goals made it 16-14, but Masoli engineered a late 58-yard march and James scored his second TD of the half to make it 21-16, Ducks.

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