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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oregon Beats Oregon State, Eyes BCS Championship Game

Oregon has survived the always tough Civil War, beating rival Oregon State 37-20 and clearing the path to a possible national championship.

Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James had 131 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns for the Ducks, but he was joined in the backfield by sophomore Kenjon Barner, who ran for 133 yards on 15 carries and a score. In all, the Ducks romped for 352 yards on 48 carries.

Even before Oregon pulled away, the Ducks absolutely dominated the Beavers in terms of yardage. Two turnovers and some sloppy play -- in addition to OSU making some big defensive plays -- kept the score close into the third quarter.

A pivotal play for the No. 1 Ducks (12-0, 9-0 Pac-10) came in the third quarter, as the score was just 16-7 and Oregon was lining up to punt. Coach Chip Kelly went into his bag of tricks and called a fake punt, which resulted in a 63-yard run by Michael Clay. Three plays later, Darron Thomas found Drew Davis for a 19-yard touchdown and the Ducks opened up a 23-7 advantage.

Credit Oregon State (5-7, 4-5) for not going away, as the Beavers closed the third quarter strong with a field goal, an Oregon gaffe on the kickoff, a stop and a short punt leading to incredible field position. It was once again the inability to get into the end zone, though, that doomed the home team. A 23-13 deficit could have been a one-point lead if Oregon State scored touchdowns on those two all-important possessions.

On the ensuing possession, Oregon's high-powered offense returned, as the Ducks needed just six plays -- culminating in Barner's 23-yard touchdown run and moving the score to 30-13. From there, it was cruise control for the Pac-10 champions. OSU cut the lead to 37-20 with a tack-on touchdown when there was 1:18 left on the clock.

Markus Wheaton had a big game for Oregon State, catching 11 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Beavers were hurt by four interceptions in addition to failing to convert touchdowns on the two pivotal third-quarter possessions.

Though it's not official, Oregon is all but guaranteed a spot in the BCS National Championship now, having been ranked No. 2 in last week's BCS rankings and with No. 3 TCU idle.

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