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(Saturday, December 4th)
Final Score: (1) Oregon 37, Oregon State 20
Corvallis, OR (Sports Network) - Darron Thomas threw two touchdown passes and the top-ranked Oregon Ducks punched their ticket to the BCS title game with a 37-20 win over Oregon State in the 114th chapter of the Civil War.
The national title game will now be between Oregon and Auburn, as the Tigers dominated South Carolina on Saturday. It is the first time that Oregon will be in a national title game as the contest will take place on January 10 in Glendale, Arizona.
"We're not going to play a national championship right now, we're going to prepare for one," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. "And we'll play the game on the 10th (of January). But we got to this point we're at now by our preparation and we know we're going to have to go to work for the next month to show up on the 10th. And that's what these are all about, they understand the task at hand and they accept it heartily."
The Ducks (12-0, 9-0 Pac-10) took the Pac-10 outright with the win while the Beavers (5-7, 4-5) came into the contest needing to win to become bowl eligible and avoid its first losing season since 2005.
LaMichael James had 28 carries for 134 yards and two scores and Kenjon Barner added 133 yards with a score on 15 carries and also caught a touchdown pass for Oregon, which now has a 58-46-10 advantage in the Civil War series. Thomas finished 14-for-24 with 145 yards.
"I'm going to celebrate this win," said James. "I'm going to ride this one for about three days. We don't have a game for a while. I'm going to enjoy this, it was a big one."
Ryan Katz totaled 224 yards on 23-of-40 passing with two scores and three interceptions for Oregon State, which dropped four of its final five games of the season. Jacquizz Rodgers had 87 yards on 22 carries and five catches for 20 yards and a score. Markus Wheaton had 10 catches for 137 yards and a TD.
"I felt like we should have moved the ball consistently all day," said Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. "I'm disappointed in that, and I'm not going to like the film. I think we had opportunities and we weren't just quite good enough, in-sync, to finish those plays off. I don't think I'm looking through rose-colored glasses either; I think we left some big opportunities out on the field offensively."
On the opening possession of the game, Katz was briefly knocked out and Oregon State had to punt, but Cliff Harris fumbled the punt and the Beavers got the ball back at the Oregon 28.
However, Cody Vaz, who took over under center for a spell, was picked off by Terrell Turner and the Ducks took over at their own 30.
Oregon got past midfield and had a 1st-and-10 at the Oregon State 34, but Josh Huff fumbled the ball and Keith Pankey jumped on it to give it back to the Beavers at their own 38.
With Katz back under center, the Beavers methodically moved down the field as the team covered 62 yards over 15 plays and got into the end zone on a 3rd-and-goal when Katz hit Rodgers for a six-yard score for a 7-0 lead with 3:23 left in the first.
Oregon answered on its next touch thanks in part to Oregon State booting the kickoff out of bounds to give Oregon excellent field position. Nine plays later, which included a fourth down conversion, Thomas lofted the ball to the right corner of the end zone where Barner caught it on a three-yard score. However, the extra point was blocked and it was a 7-6 game heading to the second.
Katz was picked off by Talmadge Jackson III and it was returned 52 yards down to the Oregon State 12. However, the defense held and Oregon was limited to a 36-yard field goal from Rob Beard for a 9-7 lead with 12:09 left in the first half.
The Beavers faced a fourth down in Oregon territory and went for the fake punt, but Johnny Hekker's pass was picked off.
The Ducks then needed just seven plays to cover 74 yards and make it a 16-7 game with 7:03 left in the half when James took it into the end zone around the left end untouched from eight yards out.
Oregon State was held again and Oregon got the ball back with under five minutes to play. The team got into a 1st-and-goal situation but was unable to get in and lined up for a 25-yard field goal on the final play of the half. However, Beard missed it to the right and it was a nine-point game going into the locker room.
After an exchange of possessions to start the second half, the Ducks added to their lead when Thomas hit D.J. Davis on a short pass and Davis took it into the end zone from 19 yards out for a 23-7 lead with 8:39 left in the third. Three plays before that, Oregon faced a fourth down, but went for the fake as Michael Clay took the direct snap for 64 yards to get the ball into scoring position.
Oregon State responded with a 65-yard drive that saw the team stall at the nine-yard line and a 26-yard field goal from Justin Kahut made it a 23-10 game with under five minutes to play in the third.
The Beavers pinned the Ducks deep on the kickoff and forced a punt to get the ball back in Oregon territory. However, all they could manage was a 22-yard field goal from Kahut and it was a 23-13 game early in the fourth quarter.
Any hope Oregon State had, though, was dashed on Oregon's next touch as Barner took a handoff 23 yards into the end zone for a 30-13 lead with just over 12 minutes to play.
Oregon State was unable to even get across midfield on its next two possessions and Katz was picked off on the second touch by John Boyett. Five plays later, James ran the ball in from 10 yards out to seal the win with 4:27 to play.
Katz hit Wheaton in the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown to account for the final score.
Jeff Maehl led Oregon receivers with seven catches for 86 yards...Oregon State controlled the ball for over 32 minutes, but was outgained, 491-319...The Ducks were penalized 10 games for 61 yards...This is the ninth time and second straight season that Oregon has won the Pac-10.
12/04 20:38:47 ET