CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon is going to play for the program's first national title on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz., after beating rival Oregon State 37-20.
How the game was won: Oregon State fought hard, but Oregon was just better. It wasn't a pretty performance -- the Ducks offense sputtered at times -- but the defense stepped up and the Beavers could not find a consistent answer for the Ducks running game.
Turning point: Holding a 7-6 lead, Oregon State faced a third-and-8 on Oregon's 43-yard line, but Ryan Katz's pass was tipped by Spencer Paysinger and cornerback Talmadge Jackson returned the interception 52 yards to the Beavers 12-yard line. Though the Beavers held Oregon to just a field goal -- that put the Ducks ahead -- they would never trail thereafter.
Player of the game: Kenjon Barner is back. The Ducks backup running back suffered a severe concussion at Washington State on Oct. 9, and it took a while for him to regain his rhythm. But his 133 yards on just 15 carries with a 23-yard touchdown means Auburn needs to prepare for two good running backs.
Best call: Oregon coach Chip Kelly called a fake punt on a fourth-and-3 from the Ducks 28-yard line while holding a 16-7 lead in the third quarter. A 64-yard run from Michael Clay -- a direct snap run right up the middle -- more than converted. And then they scored a touchdown and went up 23-7.
What Oregon learned, What Oregon State learned: Oregon learned it's going to play for the national title. Oregon State learned it will finish 5-7 and won't go to a bowl game.