Oregon used a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns from their running back tandem of Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James, both of whom ran for over 130 yards, to finally pull away to a hard-fought 37-20 win over Oregon St. in the 114th. Civil War Saturday.
After attracting the ESPN Gameday show to Corvallis in the early morning hours, and playing in front of a Reser Stadium record crowd of 46,469, which eclipsed the record set in the 2008 Civil War, Oregon St.'s hopes took a hit right away, when quarterback Ryan Katz was knocked out of the game on the first play. And it looked like it just wasn't going to be the Beavers day when after Brandon Hardin ripped the ball loose from Cliff Harris, and Jordan Poyer recovered at the Oregon 28, Cody Vaz had a deflected pass picked off by Terrell Turner to turn away the Oregon St. threat.
But the Beavers refused to fold, and Keith Pankey, playing his last game for Oregon St., jumped on a fumble to stall the Duck's ensuing drive. Katz came back, and wisely handed the ball to Jacquizz Rodgers three straight times, while he regained his bearings. Over 7 and a half minutes later, after 15 plays, Katz found Rodgers for a touchdown on 6 yard swing pass, and a 7-0 lead.
Oregon's Casey Matthews (55) knocked Oregon St.'s Ryan Katz (12) out of the game
temporarily on the first play.
Oregon answered with a nine play drive, capped by a 3 yard touchdown pass to Barner, operating mostly to the outside edges.
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas got most of his completions to the edges of the Oregon St. defense.
Oregon St.'s Lance Mitchell corrals Oregon's Jeff Maehl.
Brandon Hardin blocked Rob Beard's extra point though, and it was clear after one quarter that the game wasn't going to be another Duck blowout.
Brandon Hardin (17) blocks Rob Beard's PAT kick.
Talmadge Jackson III thwarted Oregon St.'s next drive, picking off a Katz pass, and taking it back 52 yards to the Beaver 12 yard line, but the Duck offense couldn't capitalize on the opportunity, as the Oregon St. defense dug in, and forced Oregon to settle for a Beard field goal, giving Oregon a 9-7 lead.
Oregon St. got good field position from a 34 yard kickoff return by Poyer, who accounted for more yards than any back or receiver for either team, rolling up 187 yards on 7 returns.
Jordan Poyer's kick returns was Oregon St.'s best weapon against Oregon.
The Beavers' drive reached the Ducks' 35, but stalled. Oregon St. coach Mike Riley dialed up a surprise with a fake field goal, but holder Johnny Hekker, also a quarterback in high school who had kept drives alive in two earlier games by throwing out of punt formation, had his pass deflect off Joe Halahuni's hand.
Joe Halahuni had Johnny Hekker's pass go off his fingertips.
Michael Clay collected the carom, and James and Barner, with a 17 yards of help from Josh Huff, combined to put together a 74 yard drive, all on the ground, capped by James' 8 yard run, for a 16-7 lead.
It appeared Oregon would take control of the game when Oregon St. went three and out, and the Ducks proceeded to drive to the Beaver two yard line. But once again, Oregon St.'s defense, with a healthy assist in the play disrupting noise department, dug in.
Barner was thrown for a two yard loss, and noise led to a false start penalty. Darron Thomas' toss to Jeff Maehl netted only two yards, as James Dockery hauled Maehl down (below), and Oregon coach Chip Kelly elected to settle for a field goal as time ran out. Beard hooked the kick behind the right upright though, and the score remained 16-7 at halftime.
Oregon kicker Rob Beard (93) hooks a field goal from the right hash.
Oregon opened the second half by driving inside the Oregon St. 30, but the Beaver defense made another stop. James was thrown for a loss, and Stephen Paea forced Thomas to throw an incompletion, leaving Oregon looking at a 47 yard field goal.
Stephen Paea forces Darron Thomas into an inaccurate throw.
After Beard had missed, Kelly elected to gamble, and Thomas found Barner, but Feti Unga found him as well, forcing Oregon to turn the ball over on downs.
Feti Unga (41) prepares to tackle Kenjon Barner (24).
After another Oregon St. three and out, it appeared Oregon was destined for the same thing, but this time it was Kelly who dialed up a surprise, and it was possibly the play of the game.
Oregon St.'s Cameron Collins (5) hit Darron Thomas to force fourth down.
Clay, the up man in punt formation, took a short snap and rambled 64 yards to the Oregon St. 8 yard line.
Michael Clay (46) made the game altering play of the day on a fake punt.
Despite a personal foul at the end of the play, the gamble still led to a 23-7 Duck lead when Thomas found D.J. Davis on a bubble screen for a 19 yard touchdown.
Oregon St. responded with a drive that featured a pair of catches by Jordan Bishop, another by Marcus Wheaton, and 20 yards on consecutive carries by Rodgers.
Jordan Bishop pulls in a leaping catch for Oregon St.
Marcus Wheaton (2) cuts behind a block by Aaron Nichols (46).
But this time it was the Duck defense that dug in, throwing Quizz for a loss, and forcing the Beavers to settle for a Justin Kahut field goal.
Justin Kahut drilled two field goals in his last game for Oregon St.
It was a key stop, and also an indicator of things to come. The Oregon St. defense, aided by a roaring crowd, capitalized on a poor decision by Huff to field a kickoff inside his 5 yard line, once again shut down the Oregon offense, forcing a punt out of the end zone.
But their next drive, which carried into the fourth quarter, and down to the five yard line, also stalled on consecutive Katz incompletions. Another Kahut field goal only cut the deficit to 23-13, whereas touchdowns after twice driving inside the Oregon five, never mind just into the red zone, would have made it a two point game.
Oregon answered with a 71 yard drive, capped by Barner breaking loose for a 23 yard touchdown, and a 30-13 lead.
Oregon's Kenjon Barner ran for 133 yards and a touchdown, and also had a touchdown
catch against Oregon St.
The key play was a pass interference penalty on Michael Doctor, on a badly underthrown pass.
Oregon St.'s Michael Doctor was called for interference against Oregon's Kenjon Barner.
After an exchange of possessions, John Boyett thwarted Oregon St. with another interception of Katz as the clock ticked under the mid-way mark in the fourth quarter.
Thomas used all of his best weapons to put the game out of reach, starting with a 25 yard completion to Maehl (below), who led Oregon in receiving with 86 yards on 7 catches.
Barner raised his rushing total to 133 yards on his 15th. and last carry of the afternoon, and James topped that, with a 10 yard touchdown run that gave him 134 yards, on 28 carries, and made the score 37-13.
Oregon's LaMichael James scores his second touchdown of the day to ice the victory.
Katz wasn't done, completing 6 of 7 passes, and adding an 11 yard scramble. Wheaton's 12 yard scoring catch cut the deficit to 37-20, but Oregon recovered the on-side kick, and the Duck made plans for a trip to Glendale.
Oregon (12-0, 9-0), who already had the Pac-10 championship clinched, became the first team besides USC since the inception of the BCS from the west to reach the national championship game, and will face the Auburn Tigers (13-0), who downed #19 South Carolina 56-17 in the SEC Championship game, to take over as #1 in the AP poll, and hold onto the #1 spot in the BCS.
Oregon St. did better than anyone else against Oregon in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points, and it might have contributed to the Ducks dropping from #1 to #2 in the AP poll.
‘Quizz was held to 87 yards rushing, on 22 carries, though he did add 20 more on 5 catches.
Oregon's Brandon Hanna (44) leads the charge after 'Quizz as he makes one of
his five catches on the day.
Wheaton topped all receivers, with 137 yards, and a touchdown, on 10 catches.
Marcus Wheaton witn one of his 10 catches for Oregon St.
Katz completed 23 of 40 passes, for 224 yards. The number of deflected passes was easily the highest of the season.
Oregon's Brandon Bair deflects a pass by Ryan Katz.
The Beavers finished the season with a 5-7 record, and a 4-5 mark in the Pac-10, a fifth place finish. Oregon St. will miss out on a bowl trip for the first time since 2005, and for only the second time in the last 12 seasons. The seven losses are the most by any Beaver team since 1997, the first season of Riley's first stint as Oregon St. coach.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge) (Click on any photo to enlarge.)