|ESPN.com: NCF Nation||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
|Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images|
|Oregon State's freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers sat out the game with an injured shoulder.|
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State defensive end Slade Norris was hurting just like all the Beavers after they lost 65-38 to rival Oregon in the 112th Civil War as their Rose Bowl dreams most likely were burned up by the exhaust of the Ducks jet-fueled offense.
He dutifully answered questions, however, at least until a reporter got specific about a big Oregon running play.
"To be honest," Norris said with exhausted resignation, "there were a lot of big running plays."
And big passing plays, too.
The Beavers were crestfallen, but they offered few excuses.
"You can't win when you give up 65 points and 700 yards or whatever it was," safety Greg Laybourn said.
It was 694 yards.
The Beavers entered the game ranked 13th in the nation in total defense (290 yards per game). Penn State, in its 45-14 win over Oregon State on Sept. 6, only had 454 total yards. The next highest total vs. the Beavers was 377.
After falling behind 37-17 at halftime, the Beavers battled back in the second half, closing within 13 three times. But they couldn't stop the Ducks.
"Tonight, the bubble burst," Beavers coach Mike Riley said.
While Riley wouldn't offer excuses, there was an obvious one. With freshman phenom running back Jacquizz Rodgers, the Pac-10's leading rusher, on the sidelines with an injured shoulder, the Beavers only gained 89 yards on the ground.
"Yeah, I think it would have been a lot different [with Rodgers]," quarterback Lyle Moevao said.
Losing to their archrival wasn't just tough on the players. A crowd of 46,319 set a new Reser Stadium record amd the overflow turnout was due to anticipation of the program earning its first Rose Bowl berth in 44 years.
Instead, they had to watch as the Ducks mascot swaggered around the stadium in the fourth quarter carrying a rose in mockery.
There's still a faint glimmer of hope. If UCLA upsets USC next weekend, the Beavers would prevail in a tiebreaker with the Ducks and Trojans.
It is fair to say the odds of that happening are not good.
"I'm not going to lose any sleep over that one," Riley said.
The most likely scenario has the Beavers headed to the Sun Bowl.
"It's hard to get excited about that when you know what was possible," Moevao said.
Moevao, who missed two of the last three games due to a shoulder injury, completed 27 of 51 passes for 374 yards with five touchdowns. But both his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
Moevao said his shoulder felt fine. Everything else wasn't so good.
"This definitely hurt," he said.