Oregon at Oregon State

Ducks top Oregon St. to secure BCS title game bid

CBSSports.com wire reports

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- As the third quarter turned to the fourth and AC/DC blared in Reser Stadium, Oregon State's sideline was rocking, its players thinking they just might pull off a monster upset.

On its side, top-ranked Oregon stayed cool -- focused on winning the day.

When it was done, and a spot in the BCS national title game was secured, that's when the Ducks finally let loose.

Heisman Trophy contender LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and the fast-paced Ducks negotiated the last speed bump on the way to Glendale, Ariz., grinding out a 37-20 victory over the Beavers in the Civil War on Saturday.

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    The matchup becomes official Sunday, but there will be no surprises when the final Bowl Championship Series standings come out: Oregon will play Auburn on Jan. 10 for its first national championship.

    "The best part about it is ... we expected this," Ducks defensive tackle Brandon Bair said. "It's the way we prepared, the way we planned, we expected this."

    James ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns while Barner had 133 yards and scored twice for the Ducks (12-0, 9-0 Pac-10), who used some stiff defense in the red zone - led by Bair and Casey Matthews - and three interceptions to fend off their feisty rivals.

    Not until the fourth quarter did Oregon finally shake free.

    Barner's 23-yard touchdown run with 12:16 made it 30-13 and James popped through the middle for a 10-yard score with 4:27 left to seal it.

    Jacquizz Rodgers had 87 yards rushing for the Beavers (5-7, 4-5) and scored a touchdown, but they were forced to settle for short field goals twice after good third-quarter drives - and that just won't do against the most prolific offense in the country.

    "We should have gotten into the end zone on those field goals. It hurt us bad," said Markus Wheaton, who had 10 catches for 137 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown that was too little too late.

    When the clock hit 00:00, James and his teammates bounded over to a corner of the stadium to celebrate with their band, their famous Donald Duck-clone mascot and their fans.

    The Oregon faithful spilled onto the field and the push up-pumping mascot got swallowed up as he crowd surfed. The party was headed south, 40 miles down Interstate 5 to Eugene.

    The Ducks, the Pac-10's new power with their high-speed spread offense, rising star coach Chip Kelly and the wildest uniforms Nike and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight can provide (silver helmets and pants on this day), are relative newcomers among college football's elite.

    Yet Kelly disdains such big-picture talk about a shift in the landscape. "Win the day," is his motto - and there are 37 between now and the national title game.

    "We're not going to play a national championship right now, we're going to prepare for one," he said. "But we got to this point 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."

    TCU, which was sitting in third-place in the BCS standings coming into the weekend and needed an upset to get to the championship game, didn't get it from the Beavers in the 114th Civil War. No. 2 Auburn, meanwhile, crushed South Carolina in the SEC championship, ending the Frogs' hopes.

    Oregon State was simply looking to get to .500 and avoid sitting out the bowl season for the first time since the 2005 season. The Beavers didn't play like a three-touchdown underdog and Oregon never did unleash a wave of big plays, like those that have consumed so many other teams.

    The Beavers' blitzes got to quarterback Darron Thomas and the Ducks sometimes sputtered, failing to land a knock-out shot until late.

    "We understand when it's time to grind it out you've got to grind it out," receiver Jeff Maehl said. "We're not going to have those explosive plays all the time."

    The Ducks' longest play of the day came from a linebacker on a fake punt in the third quarter. Michael Clay, the upback, took a snap and burst through the middle of the line, rumbling 64 yards on a fourth down deep in Oregon territory.

    That set up a 19-yard touchdown pass off a screen to D.J. Davis that made it 23-7.

    The Beavers inched closer with two short field goals by Justin Kahut (26 and 22 yards), and 10 seconds into the fourth quarter Oregon's lead was 23-13. It could have been 23-21 if Oregon State turned those field goals into touchdowns.

    "Big time. Big time stops," Thomas said. "Most people talk about our offense, but our defense came out big time."

    With the aide of a pass interference call on third down, Oregon responded after Kahut's second kick. The penalty led to Barner's 23-yard touchdown up the middle. The Ducks were finally in the clear.

    Oregon State would not be giant killers this season, though they dressed in 1967 black throwback uniforms the team that beat No. 1 USC and O.J. Simpson wore.

    These Beavers won't even go bowling.

    "Our No. 1 goal is a bowl game and we want to try to beat Oregon ... so we failed at that," coach Mike Riley said. "But I am not disappointed in this team."

    For decades, Oregon was a second-class Pac-10 team, too. But things turned in the 1990s, first under coach Rich Brooks, then Mike Bellotti.

    With Knight helping to fund the cause, the Ducks have replaced Southern California at the top of the Pac-10. They went to the Rose Bowl last season, but a return trip to Pasadena, Calif., would have been a consolation prize for these Ducks.

    "It's just another win," Thomas said. "We aren't there yet."

    After three early turnovers (two by Oregon), the rivals traded touchdown drives in the first quarter that would typify the way each wanted to play.

    Oregon State took 15 plays and a season-high 7:36 off the clock to go 62 yards for a 6-yard touchdown pass to Rodgers.

    Oregon responded quickly, needing only 2:43 to go 60 yards, capped by a 3-yard TD pass from Thomas to Barner. The Ducks botched the extra point, a low snap leading to a block. Kicker Rob Beard made a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter and missed a 25-yarder on the final play of the first half.

    In between, James capped a 74-yard drive that took 1:55 and included no completed passes with an 8-yard touchdown run to make it 16-7.

    The Ducks were far from their best Saturday, but as the clear skies turned gray and clouds began to cover Mount Hood off in the distance, Oregon showed its resolve and toughness.

    Now it's on to Arizona for the Ducks, the newest members of college football's upper crust.

    Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
    LaMichael James (right) and Kenjon Barner combine for 267 yards rushing and three TDs to help carry Oregon to victory. (Getty Images)
    LaMichael James (right) and Kenjon Barner combine for 267 yards rushing and three TDs to help carry Oregon to victory. (Getty Images)

    Related Video

    Scoring Summary
    ORSTJacquizz Rodgers 6 yd pass from Ryan Katz (Justin Kahut kick)
    ORKenjon Barner 3 yd pass from Darron Thomas (blocked XP)
    ORRob Beard 36 yd FG
    ORLaMichael James 8 yd run (Rob Beard kick)
    ORDrew Davis 19 yd pass from Darron Thomas (Rob Beard kick)
    ORSTJustin Kahut 26 yd FG
    ORSTJustin Kahut 22 yd FG
    ORKenjon Barner 23 yd run (Rob Beard kick)
    ORLaMichael James 10 yd run (Rob Beard kick)
    ORSTMarkus Wheaton 12 yd pass from Ryan Katz (Justin Kahut kick)
    Team Stats
    First Downs2520
    Third Down Efficiency4-117-16
    Fourth Down Efficiency2-31-2
    Plays-Net Yards73-49172-319
    Passing Yds145229
    Kick Return Yds41187
    Punt Return Yds20
    Time of Poss.27:5232:8
    Individual Stats
    OR: LaMichael James 28-134, Kenjon Barner 15-133, Michael Clay 1-64, Josh Huff 2-21, Team 2--2, Darron Thomas 1--4
    ORST: Jacquizz Rodgers 22-87, Markus Wheaton 2-8, Ryan Katz 5--5
    OR: Darron Thomas 14-24-145-0
    ORST: Ryan Katz 23-40-224-3, Cody Vaz 1-2-5-0, Johnny Hekker 0-1-0-1
    OR: Jeff Maehl 7-86, Drew Davis 3-47, Kenjon Barner 2-1, Josh Huff 1-9, Justin Hoffman 1-2
    ORST: Markus Wheaton 10-137, Jacquizz Rodgers 5-20, Jordan Bishop 4-48, Aaron Nichols 2-6, Joe Halahuni 1-14, Brady Camp 1-5, Jordan Jenkins 1--1

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