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PAC-10 FOOTBALL

For once, Oregon State had a rooting interest in Oregon

As the Beavers were returning home after beating Washington State, they wanted the Ducks to win in Arizona. Oregon did and now the "Civil War" will determine who goes to the Rose Bowl.

November 25, 2009|By Chris Dufresne

We hate Oregon . . . we're cheering for Oregon?

It doesn't happen often -- maybe once every 113 years -- that you find Beavers glued to the radio praying their archrivals can pull out a victory in Arizona.

But that's what happened Saturday night, after Oregon State defeated Washington State, 42-10.

In Tucson, Oregon and Arizona were engaging in a fairly meaningful game.

"Everyone's got the phone, right?" Oregon State Coach Mike Riley recounted Tuesday during the weekly Pacific 10 Conference football coaches' conference call. "So they [his players] were following the game as we got on the plane in Pullman. Then of course, we didn't have any news as we flew, and then as we got on the buses at the airport it was toward the end of regulation, so it was on the radio."

With the broadcast blaring, three busloads of the Beavers' traveling party caravanned their way back to Corvallis.

The Oregon-Arizona game went to overtime.

"It was quite a bus ride," Riley said, "because of all the ramifications for us."

Victories by Oregon State and Oregon last weekend guaranteed that the winner of the schools' annual "Civil War" game on Dec. 3 would play in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl.

Oregon hasn't played in the game since the 1994 season; Oregon State's last appearance was in January 1965.

To make this the most important Civil War ever played, Oregon State players had to root for Oregon to defeat Arizona, which the Ducks did.

"They wanted this game to be the defining moment," Riley said of his players pulling for the enemy.

Now comes the really hard part -- facing Oregon in Eugene. Last year, Oregon State was playing for a Rose Bowl bid in Corvallis when visiting Oregon clobbered the Beavers, 65-38, while amassing 694 total yards.

"They ran the ball, they threw the ball, they did most anything they wanted to last year," Riley said.

The winner of Oregon-Oregon State faces Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Notes

* Mike Stoops, for the first time since he has been Arizona's coach, did not show his team the film of a previous game. Saturday's 44-41, double-overtime loss to Oregon was just too painful. "I didn't want to live all the 'one plays' throughout the course of that game," Stoops said.

* ESPN this week announced the top three finalists for its annual football awards show in early December. Only two of the 27 total players in nine categories were from the Pac-10: Stanford tailback Toby Gerhart and UCLA kicker Kai Forbath.

* How often do you hear of a holder being player of the week? Nate Costa of Oregon shared honors this week with teammate Jeremiah Masoli and California linebacker Mike Mohamed. Masoli accounted for six touchdowns in Oregon's win, Mohamed saved the Big Game against Stanford with a late interception, but Costa may have recorded the play of the year when he salvaged a bad center snap to allow Morgan Flint to tie Arizona, 31-31, at the end of regulation.

* Cal Coach Jeff Tedford said it has not been determined whether tailback Jahvid Best, who suffered a concussion in a Nov. 7 loss to Oregon State, would play in Cal's regular-season finale against Washington on Dec. 5. Tedford said the issue isn't Best's head, it's the back injury he suffered on his terrifying end zone landing after scoring a touchdown.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/DufresneLATimes

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