Ducks Clinch At Least A Tie For Pac-10 Title!
Nov. 11, 2000
EUGENE, Ore. - Joey Harrington ran for two second-half touchdowns andpassed for another as No. 6 Oregon clinched at least a tie for the Pac-10 titleby rallying to beat California 25-17 Saturday.
The Ducks (9-1, 7-0 Pac-10) could earn their first Rose Bowl berth since the1994 season if Arizona beats Oregon State later Saturday night.
Kyle Boller completed 15 of 39 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown as Cal(3-7, 2-5) nearly pulled off a huge upset despite its usual offensivestruggles.
Harrington was 20-of-35 for 252 yards in an erratic performance, but his29-yard scoring pass to Keenan Howry with 12:38 to play was the difference.Howry reached up and hauled the pass in with his fingertips to give the Ducksan 18-17 lead.
Oregon added another score after the Golden Bears botched a punt, giving theDucks the ball at the Cal 14. Five plays later, Harrington's 1-yard run made it25-17 lead with 4:48 to go.
Cal got the ball back twice more, but Boller threw an interception and wasunable to move the team on the last possession.
Oregon won its 20th straight home game and 15th of 16 games overall.
For the third straight week, however, Oregon had to score a touchdown in thefourth quarter to win.
Geoff McArthur scored on a 63-yard pass play to put the Golden Bears ahead17-12 with 3:36 left in the third. The teams traded punts, and Harrington beganthe Ducks' first possession of the fourth quarter by hitting Marshaun Tucker instride for a 52-yard gain.
Two plays later, Howry gained a step on cornerback Jemeel Powell, andHarrington led him perfectly for the go-ahead score.
Last week, Oregon scored a touchdown and 2-point conversion to tieWashington State in the fourth before winning in overtime, the week before atArizona State, Harrington threw two touchdown passes in the final 3 1/2 minutes ofregulation, and the Ducks prevailed 56-55 in two overtimes.
Cal came in with the lowest-ranked offense in the Pac-10, but neither teamcould move the ball early. They combined for only 60 rushing yards on 29carries in the first half.
Cal took a 7-0 lead just 2:18 into the game on a 1-yard dive over the top byJoe Igber. The play was set up by a 26-yard pass from Boller over the middle toa diving Phillip Pipersburg.
Cal started the drive at the Oregon 27 after the Ducks lost 20 yards ontheir opening possession, shanked a 33-yard punt and then got called for a15-yard penalty.
The Bears did little to build on their lead, however, gaining just 53 yardson their next five possessions of the half.
Harrington threw long and behind his receivers the entire first half, but hegot the Ducks in position for two field goals by Josh Frankel, from 34 and 43yards. A 31-yard run by Harrington on third and 8 set up the latter kick to cutthe lead to 7-6 at halftime.
Harrington directed the Ducks on a 75-yard, seven-play drive, which endedwith him scrambling a 2 yards to put Oregon back ahead 12-7 with 10:19 left inthe third. The 2-point conversion pass failed.
With Igber getting stuffed, Cal went to third-string tailback SaleemMuhammad, who ran three straight times for 36 yards to loosen up the Bears'ground game. A 15-yard run by Igber moved the ball to the Oregon 21, but Calcouldn't get closer and settled for Mark Jensen's 38-yard field goal.
By LANDON HALL
AP Sports Writer