Pac-12: Corvallis 0814

Plenty of pain but no excuses from Oregon State

November, 30, 2008

Posted by'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.

Oregon steals Civil War spotlight with big plays

November, 30, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

 Tom Hauck/Getty Images
 Jeremiah Johnson ran for 219 yards and a score for the Ducks and Oregon all but crushed Oregon State's hopes of going to the Rose Bowl with a 65-38 victory Saturday.

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- What came out of the Oregon locker room minutes after the Ducks rumbled through Oregon State's Rose Bowl plans was mostly predictable: It was about us, not them.

One way to make the predictable post-game locker room chatter resonate, however, is to actually make it about you and not them. And the Ducks made it all about their super-special selves by putting on an extraordinary offensive show in a 65-38 track meet where they were a lot faster.

They rolled up 694 total yards against the nation's 15th-ranked defense by posting 10 plays of more than 20 yards and eight of more than 35 yards.

"Our offense, obviously, could not be stopped," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti explained.

And that doesn't include defensive touchdowns of 40 and 70 yards.

The Ducks rushed for 385 yards against a defense that previously yielded just 112 yards per game. The Ducks passed for 309 yards against a defense that previously yielded just 178 yards per game.

And as fancy as the Ducks were, they didn't turn the ball over.

"I don't know how they make these impossible plays," Oregon strong safety Patrick Chung said. "One pass, T-Scott is gone. One block, Jeremiah is gone. It's an explosive offense."

"T-Scott" is receiver Terence Scott who hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass that made the count 51-31 early in the fourth quarter.

"Jeremiah" is running back Jeremiah Johnson, whose 83-yard touchdown run overshadowed his 79-yard run that didn't go for a touchdown. Johnson needed just 17 carries to net 219 yards, the biggest individual rushing total in the 112-year history of the Civil War.

While Oregon has run well all season -- its 268 yards rushing per game ranked sixth in the nation -- it's the recent development of the passing game that has led to 120 points in the last two matchups.

Sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, a first-year JC transfer who began the preseason at No. 5 on the depth chart, completed 11 of 17 for 274 yards with three touchdowns.

"Everybody was up in arms a couple of weeks ago -- everyone was booing him -- but he doesn't pay attention to that," offensive coordinator Chip Kelly said. "He has as strong an arm and as quick release as anybody I've ever seen."

But this was Masoli's and the offense's best all-around show of the season. In previous critical Pac-10 showdowns vs. USC and California, the Ducks only scored 26 points combined.

"I think we were lacking continuity," offensive guard Mark Lewis said. "We had all the pieces in place but we may not have trusted each other as much."

Suffice it to say, there was trust in a gleeful locker room.

The Ducks, who will go to the Holiday Bowl unless UCLA upsets USC next weekend, ended a two-game losing streak in the series and won in Corvallis for the first time since 1996. OSU would still go to the Rose Bowl if UCLA beats USC.

Oregon State trailed 37-17 at the half and narrowed the margin to 13 points three times in the second half. But they couldn't stop the Ducks.

"I don't have anything I can put my finger on or any excuses -- nothing," Beavers coach Mike Riley said. "Oregon played better than the Beavers tonight."

The Beavers piled up 463 yards themselves, but only 89 of those yards came on the ground. With running back Jacquizz Rodgers on the sidelines, the Ducks made OSU one-dimensional.

"That was a big loss for them," Chung said. "He's a very good running back."

But this ended up not being about the Beavers, whose fans started bolting when tight end Ed Dickson hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Masoli with four minutes left.

The Ducks stole the spotlight.

Moreover, after endless national chatter about how down the Pac-10 is this season, there were a lot of eager grins among the Ducks about the Holiday Bowl, which will be played against the No. 3 team from the Big 12.

Fancy Big 12 offenses? We shall see.

"Everything is starting to plug into place for us," Lewis said. "It will be interesting to see how the Holiday Bowl turns out."

Final: Oregon 65, Oregon State 38

November, 29, 2008
Oregon rolls up 384 yards rushing and Jeremiah Masoli passes for three touchdowns as No. 23 Oregon routs No. 17 Oregon State, 65-38.

3Q update: Oregon 44, Oregon State 31

November, 29, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State is fighting. It's 44-31 heading into the fourth, and that's not an insurmountable margin in a frenzied game like this. Will the Beavers be able to make a magical comeback?

It's going to come down to stopping the Ducks' running game, which has piled up 334 yards.

The third quarter did feature a priceless moment when referee Jay Stricherz unwittingly left his field microphone on. That allowed the assembled crowed to hear him discuss with his fellow officials and Mike Riley a controversial call where Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli appeared to fumble but the play had been ruled dead.

The Beavers thought they had a recovery for a touchdown but the whistle had been blown. Still, Riley talked the officials into reviewing the play.

"After further review it was determined this play was not reviewable," Stricherz said.

Halftime: Oregon 37, Oregon State 17

November, 29, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Wow, this one went all to pieces for Oregon State.

Oregon State's defense, ranked 13th in the nation, entered the day giving up 289 yards per game. The Ducks had 281 with 8:24 left in the second quarter.

They finished the half with 442 and lead 37-17 at the break

Penn State, in its 45-14 win over Oregon State on Sept. 6, only had 454 total yards, the most the Beavers had previously given up this season by 77 yards.

So, yeah, the Beavers defense is having a horrible, rotten day.

Ducks running back Jeremiah Johnson has 203 yards on 12 carries, his biggest chunks coming on runs of 83 and 79 yards.

That almost makes quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's 8 of 14 for 155 yards with a touchdown seem pedestrian.

Things started to turn when a pair of OSU trips inside the Ducks 10 yielded only three points.

Of course, the Ducks saw a pair of impressive drives inside the Beavers 10 end in short field goals, but they also were in the midst of exploding for 20 second-quarter points.

If there is one thing the Beavers can draw hope from it is this: The Ducks led Arizona 45-17 at halftime two weeks ago and barely held on for a 55-45 win.

The Beavers are going to need a miracle to earn their first Rose Bowl invitation in 44 years.

Perhaps coach Mike Riley will go with Sean Canfield in the second half, though Moevao did lead a 48-yard touchdown drive in 34 seconds to close the first half.

1Q update: Oregon 17, Oregon State 7

November, 29, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Roses are going to dry up and blow away if Oregon State can't slow down this Oregon offense.

The Ducks, in a bit of a surprise, came out throwing. Then they ran. Both types of attack yielded big big plays.

On their first touchdown drive, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli threw for 69 of the 80 yards.

A few weeks ago, Masoli's passing was drawing boos from his home fans.

Then, after the Beavers cut the Ducks lead to 10-7, Jeremiah Johnson got great blocking on the perimeter and sprinted 79 yards to the Beavers 8-yard line. His sidekick, LeGarrette Blount, rumbled in on the next play to make it 17-7.

The Ducks owned a 198-88 advantage in total yards in the first quarter.

Rose Bowl dreams won't survive that.

Blooming roses are close for Beavers of OSU

November, 29, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- What do Adam Sandler, Mike Tyson, Cindy Crawford, Tim Wakefield, Chris Rock, Soledad O'Brien , David Schwimmer, Paula Jones, Tone-Loc , John Cusack, Patrick Dempsey, Rocco DiSpirito and Tom Glavine have in common?

Those poor souls, born in 1966, have lived their entire lives without Oregon State playing in a Rose Bowl.

Everyone younger than 44, including yours truly, can say the same.

Today, this void may be filled.

With a Civil War victory over rival Oregon inside the friendly confines of Reser Stadium, Oregon State will go to its first Rose Bowl since 1965.

The Beavers, ranked 17th in the BCS standings, also will have their first three-game winning streak over Oregon since winning eight in a row between 1964 and 1971.

So, yeah, the stakes on this magnificent fall day -- sunny, 50s -- are pretty big.

As for Oregon, ranked 23rd, it would like to spoil the Beavers party, sure, but the Ducks also have a lot to play for.

A victory earns them a berth in the Holiday Bowl, and demotes the Beavers to the Sun Bowl. It gives them a ninth win with a chance at a 10th and gives them traction in the national polls.

Unlike the healthy and rested Ducks, who had a bye last weekend, the Beavers have some issues.

Last week, they posted a clutch, comeback win at Arizona to keep their Rose Bowl dreams alive. It was a costly effort, though, with sensational freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers getting knocked out of the action early with a sprained shoulder.

Rodgers won't play against the Ducks.

Moreover, the Beavers had intrigue at the quarterback spot all week. Backup Sean Canfield has gone 3-0 -- two starts -- in place of injured starter Lyle Moevao, who's been struggling with his own sprained shoulder.

But, after a week of evaluation, coach Mike Riley gave the starting nod back to Moevao, who may show some rust, as he did two weeks ago in the win over California.

On the other side of the ball, the biggest question is: Can the Beavers resurgent defense slow down the Ducks potent running game? The Ducks have rushed for over 200 yards against every foe other than USC.

The tailgate outside Reser was going strong since early this morning. The atmosphere here this evening should be electric.