Friday, December 13, 2002
No. 8 Oregon State 23, No. 6 Oregon 13
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- With almost cruel quickness, Oregon State crushed its
intrastate rival's Rose Bowl hopes. Then, the Beavers watched as their own dreams of
Pasadena came to an end.
Jonathan Smith threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Robert Prescott, and Jake
Cookus had three of his team's five interceptions as No. 8 Oregon State reached 10
victories for the first time in school history by dominating No. 6 Oregon 23-13 on Saturday in the 104th Civil War.
"I never would have thought that we'd be 10-1," said
Oregon State receiver Chad Johnson. "But a season
is like climbing a mountain, and we only stumbled
once on our way up."
That one setback cost the Beavers (10-1, 7-1) their
first trip to the Rose Bowl since the 1964 season.
Washington (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP),
which beat Oregon State 33-30 in Seattle on Oct. 7,
clinched the berth by defeating Washington State
51-3 on Saturday night.
Washington (10-1, 7-1) ended up in a three-way tie
with Oregon State and Oregon (9-2, 7-1), and even
though the Huskies lost to Oregon, they won the
tiebreaker based on non-conference records.
Washington went 3-0, while the Ducks won two and
lost to Wisconsin.
Rose Bowl or not, the Beavers finished their best
season ever, topping their 9-1-1 mark in 1939. It was just last year that they stopped an
NCAA-record streak of 28 straight losing seasons. In his second season, coach Dennis
Erickson might have pulled off the biggest achievement of his career, taking a woeful
program to a possible berth in a BCS bowl.
"These seniors, they've been through a lot, went through some agony," Erickson said.
"When you go 10-1 at a school that has never been 10-1, and was at rock-bottom a few
years ago, it doesn't get any better than that."
Meanwhile, Oregon flopped in the most eagerly
awaited Civil War in 36 years.
"We're shocked right now," cornerback Rashad
Bauman said. "We knew what was at stake. We
knew as soon as the clock hit double-zero that the
Rose Bowl hopes were gone."
On a chilly, cloudless day, Joey Harrington couldn't
seem to find his receivers, falling into his habit of
overthrowing them and trying to guide passes into
Harrington, who had been 13-1 as the Ducks'
starting quarterback, completed 24 of 46 passes for
333 yards. He entered the game with just seven
Harrington had led the Ducks back from
fourth-quarter deficits the previous three games, but
Oregon State's defense was too strong. Oregon got
to the Beavers' 10 midway through the fourth, but
Harrington was hit from behind by Sefa O'Reilly, and
DeLawrence Grant recovered.
"We score, we cut it to three points," Harrington
said quietly. "We've battled back all year. ... We had
a chance to do what we dreamed to do. We didn't do it."
The Ducks also committed 12 penalties for a season-high 132 yards. Two
pass-interference calls against the defense -- both on third and long -- kept drives going
for the Beavers and led to 10 first-half points.
Oregon State's Ken Simonton, the top rusher in the Pac-10 at 136.1 yards per game,
gained 113, and his 20-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter extended the
Beavers' lead to 23-7.
Smith completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yards. Prescott, who pleaded innocent
Thursday to a felony assault charge stemming from a fight in July, had six receptions for
Cookus, starting his second straight game at free safety for Calvin Carlyle, who had a
sprained left ankle, made an impact immediately.
Harrington overthrew receiver Keenan Howry, who tipped the ball into the arms of
Cookus. He returned it 31 yards to the Oregon 17.
"I was getting really good reads on the quarterback, and seemed to know where he was
going," Cookus said.
Three plays later, on third-and-8, Prescott got past free safety Rasuli Webster, and
Smith threw over the middle for a 31-yard touchdown.
The Beavers began their second scoring drive at their own 12, but kept the ball moving
because of a pass-interference penalty on the Ducks on third-and-10.
Three plays later, Prescott got behind another Oregon defensive back, Ryan Mitchell,
made a difficult catch over his left shoulder and ran for a 49-yard touchdown.
"We've taken shots down the field all year," said Smith, wearing a white hat that
proclaimed him Pac-10 champion. "I thought the key to the game was going up 14-0 and
forcing them to play catch-up all game long."
Another pass-interference call against the Ducks, on third-and-13, kept an Oregon State
drive going early in the second quarter. The Beavers got a 32-yard field goal by Ryan
Cesca out of it and went ahead 17-0, the Ducks' largest deficit of the season.
Oregon held the ball for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter, but managed just
one score. Harrington directed an 81-yard drive late in the period, highlighted by a
33-yard lob to Marshaun Tucker down to the Beavers' 6. On the next play, Harrington
scored on a sneak with 7:38 left before halftime.
The Ducks got back into the game when Bauman intercepted a pass by Smith and
returned it to the Beavers' 30. After a 29-yard pass from Harrington to LaCorey Collins,
Maurice Morris jumped across the goal line to get Oregon to 23-13 with 14:24 to go.
He was stopped on the 2-point conversion run, and Oregon didn't score again.
|Robert Prescott's two first-quarter TDs helped Oregon State knock off Oregon last year.|