Civil War Victory Gives No. 4 Oregon Pac-10 Title Outright

Dec 1, 2001

AP Sports Writer

EUGENE, Ore. - Keenan Howry returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown,and Maurice Morris added an 8-yard scoring run with 4:36 left as No. 4 Oregonkept its slim national title hopes alive with a rainswept 17-14 victory overOregon State on Saturday in the 105th Civil War.

Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) already had secured a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, butthe victory gave the Ducks their first outright Pac-10 title since 1994.They're also still clinging to hope of rising from No. 5 in the BCS standingsto the top two and playing in the Rose Bowl.

The Ducks were beaten up at the line of scrimmage nearly the entire game,and the team's powerful offense generated just 143 yards in the first threequarters.

Oregon State (5-6, 3-5) managed just two field goals, however, and led 6-3when punter Carl Tobey drove a low, line-drive kick to Howry. After a blockernearly hit a would-be tackler in the back, Howry ran untouched up the middlefor the score.

A steady rain turned into a full-blown squall, and Oregon State had to puntagain. Oregon then marched 80 yards for the clinching touchdown and a 17-6lead.

Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington didn't help his Heisman bid, completing11 of 22 passes for only 104 yards. But his 28-yard strike to a diving Howry onthird-and-10 was the key play of the Ducks' final scoring drive.

Oregon converted two more third-down plays, and Morris carried nine timesfor 52 of his 102 yards on the drive. On first-and-goal from the 8, Morrisbulled into the end zone, carrying two defenders the last three yards.

The Beavers, who had won two of the previous three meetings, responded witha flurry and put themselves in position to win. First they drove 69 yards in 11plays, capped by Jonathan Smith's 24-yard pass to Josh Hawkins with 2:05 left.Smith threw to Shawn Kintner for a 2-point score to draw Oregon State withinthree, but an onside kick skipped out of bounds, and the Ducks took over.

Then Harrington, whose five interceptions and one fumble led to the Beavers23-13 victory in Corvallis last year, lost the ball after being hit with 1:38left. Jake Cookus recovered at the Oregon 33.

Oregon State lost seven yards on the next two plays before Smith's sidelinepass was intercepted by Rashad Bauman with just under a minute left.

Smith was 20-for-38 for 252 yards. Ken Simonton ran for 84 yards, and failedin his bid to become the fifth player in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yardsfour times. He finished with 971.

The Beavers, who went 11-1 last year and pounded Notre Dame in the FiestaBowl, started 1-3 but had won three of their last four to get within strikingdistance of a third straight bowl game. But

Coach Dennis Erickson fell to 1-2 in Civil Wars against Oregon's MikeBellotti, however. This is Erickson's second losing season in 16 as a collegehead coach.

The Ducks improved to 53-42-10 in the series, which began in 1894.

Even with the twin attack of Morris and Onterrio Smith, Oregon had troublerunning the ball in the first half, and faced several third-and-longsituations.

The Ducks found some breathing room late in the first quarter, but onlymanaged three points. Howry started the drive with a 27-yard punt return, andMorris ran around the left end for a 35-yard gain.

On third-and-4 from the Beavers' 21, Harrington was sacked, and Jared Siegelkicked a 44-yard field goal.

Smith went over the 1,000-yard mark with 30 yards, giving him 1,007. Morrishas 960 yards, giving Oregon a chance at two 1,000-yard rushers for the firsttime in school history.

Oregon State had its chances to take a big early lead, driving insideOregon's 30 three times. But the Beavers settled for two field goals by KirkYliniemi, from 43 and 28 yards out, to take a 6-3 halftime lead.

Yliniemi, a sophomore who won the job only this week after junior Ryan Cescahad struggled in recent games, also missed a 32-yarder.

Jonathan Smith connected on two long, diving passes for James Newson, whobeat Oregon cornerback Steve Smith both times. Jonathan Smith had 141 yards inthe first half, compared with just 41 for Harrington.

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