EUGENE, Ore. -- In one of the most epic Civil War games in recent memory, No. 7 Oregon defeated No. 16 Oregon State on Thursday night 37-33 to earn the right to represent the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day.
The Ducks (10-2, 8-1) won their first outirght Pac-10 title since 2001, and will go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
Redshirt freshman running back LaMichael James (right) ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter, a 52-yard scamper that put the Ducks up for good 34-33.
Another running back that had a succesful night against a stout Beavers run defense was senior LaGarrette Blount. Blount, who had not played since he was reinstated before the Stanford game, ran nine times for 51 yards and a touchdown.
It was clear that the fans noticed, too, when Blount entered the game near the beginning of the second half. The crowd immediately erupted in cheers, but quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and Blount both tried to hush the crowd and contain theri excitement.
Oregon's LaGarrette Blount (9) scores on Oregon State in the second half during their NCAA college football game, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009, in Eugene, Ore. Oregon defeated Oregon State 37-33 to win the Pac-10 title and go on to play in the Rose Bowl. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) | MORE GAME PHOTOS
Masoli (left) struggled early, but finished strong, competing 14 of 21 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 10 times for 40 yards, including a three-yard run on a crucial fourth-down play with less than two minutes to go in the game.
For the Beavers (8-4, 6-3), it was a heartbreaking end to an otherwise great effort. Quarterback Sean Canfield looked unstoppable at times in the first half, and finished 24 of 36 for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver James Rodgers had a stellar outing as well, catching 10 balls for 139 yards and a touchdown.
The Ducks did a great job, however, at stopping the run, in particular superb running back Jacquizz Rodgers. The younger Rodgers brother had just 64 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and also cought seven passes for 71 yards.
It was a rocky start for the Ducks, and the Beavers got on the board early off of a tipped Masoli pass that was intercepted by Kaulin Krebs. The turnover resulted in a Jacquizz Rodgers touchdown, and Oregon State led 7-0 early.
The Ducks drove down the field on their next posession, and the game was tied after a short touchdown run by James 7-7.
After a Justin Kahut field goal for the Beavers, the Ducks struck right back with a 73-yard touchdown bomb to recever Jeff Maehl, and the Ducks took the lead for the first time 14-10. Maehl led the team with six catches and 138 receiving yards, and that touchdown.
In the second quarter, Kahut added two more field goals to give the Beavers the lead back, 16-14. But with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Ducks scored once again to take the lead, this time another James touchdown run.
Oregon State didn't have much time left on the clock, but Canfield led the Beavers on a scoring drive to give Oregon State the 23-21 halftime lead. The drive was finished off with a Canfield pass to James Rodgers.
In the third quarter, the Beavers took their opening posession and went 75 yards in nine plays that ended with another Canfield touchdown pass, this time to Casey Kjos. The Beavers looked to be in control, and they led 30-21.
The next drive for the Ducks was the emergence of Blount. He finished off a long scoring drive with a physical 12-yard touchdown run, and the Ducks and the crowd were immediately back in the game, and the Ducks trailed by only two, 30-28.
Kahut added another field goal for the Beavers, but that was the last time Oregon State would score in the game.
Oregon's next posession resulted in the long touchdown run by James, and kicker Morgan Flint added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to extend the Ducks' lead to 37-33.
The final period was dominated by the running game of Masoli and crew, as well as the defense for Oregon. The Ducks' defense didn't allow any more points, and the Oregon offense allowed only one posession for the Beavers the entire quarter, one that ended in a failed conversion of a fourth and fifteen.
The Ducks will play Big Ten champion Ohio State in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Years Day. The Beavers will find out which bowl they will play in this Sunday.