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Ducks Smell The Roses

By Michael Bearak     Dec 4, 2009 in Sports
In a game for the ages the Oregon Ducks fended off their rival Oregon State Beavers in their annual Civil War game. The victory clinched a trip to the Rose Bowl
It was a winner take all game in Eugene, Oregon this evening as the Ducks survived to earn their first trip to the Rose Bowl since the 1994-1995 season. The Ducks held off their rivals with a 37-33 victory on their home field marking the second straight year the Ducks not only beat the Beavers but also denied them a chance at both the PAC-10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl as well. This year was an all or nothing game for the two teams the first time in history where both teams had the exact same goal riding on the game.
The Ducks were led with a balanced attack from quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James. Masoli had 201 yards passing on a 14 of 21 night. While he did have one interception he also threw for a touchdown as well. On top of that Masoli rushed for 40 yards including a 4th down scramble late in the 4th quarter to eat more time off the clock for his Ducks. In maintaining a balanced offense, head coach Chip Kelly relied on two running backs first Freshman LaMichael James and then Senior LeGarrette Blount back from his suspension. James handled most of the work load amassing 166 yards on 25 attempts along with 3 touchdowns. The night gives the Freshman 1,476 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. James ran for 100 or more yards in 9 games this season and rushed for 150 or more yards 6 times. In Blount's first game seeing action since week one of the season he rushed for 51 yards on 9 carries and had 1 touchdown. Masoli found junior wide receiver Jeff Maehl for 138 yards on 6 receptions with one touchdown.
The victory is also the Ducks 7th Civil War victory in the last 8 meetings in Eugene.
The Beavers were led by senior quarterback Sean Canfield who threw for 306 yards on a 24 for 36 day with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Beavers were unable to get much going on the ground though to balance things out as the team relied almost entirely on the two-Rogers in sophomore Jacquizz Rogers who is a running back and junior James Rogers a wide receiver. Jacquizz had 64 yards on 16 carries along with 73 yards on 7 receptions. James Rogers, primarily a receiver, had 149 yards on 10 catches and an additional 29 yards on 5 carries.
Ted Miller of ESPN noted, "It was a game befitting the biggest Civil War in the 113-year history of the series."
Miller in his blog also pointed out some very interesting facts about LaMichael James, he had 2-runs for over 20 yards against the Beavers, one of which was for 52 yards...One 3-times this season have there been runs over 20 yards against this Beavers defense. LaMichael James leads the nation with 18 runs of 20 or more yards.
The Ducks can now purchase their plane tickets for Pasadena and a January 1st date with the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. This will be Oregon's 5 visit and Ohio State's 15th and first since 1997. Oregon hasn't won the Rose Bowl since 1917, when it beat Pennsylvania 14-0 , Ohio State's last victory was that January 1997 victory over Arizona State 20-17. Oregon and Ohio State met in the Rose Bowl before in 1958 with Ohio State winning 7-6. The most notable and historical fact of that game was that Oregon quarterback Jack Crabtree was the 2nd player in Rose Bowl history to win the game's Most Valuable Player Award outright and be on the losing team.
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