So Oregon takes the 113th edition of the Civil War over Oregon State, 37-33, vanquishing their in-state rival and earning their first berth to the Rose Bowl in fifteen years. Both teams did themselves proud this game, with a tight contest never really certain until about six minutes remaining, when Oregon State's fourth-down attempt ended without a conversion and gave the ball back to the Ducks.
LaMichael James undoubtedly won the battle of the running backs, outgaining his Texan counterpart Jacquizz Rodgers by over a hundred yards. Rodgers finished with 64 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries; James went for 166 yards and three touchdowns on 25 rushes. Both backs showcased their skills, but the younger James ended up proving his mettle even more and overtaking Jacquizz for second place behind Toby Gerhart in the overall Pac-10 rushing stats.
Ultimately, though, while Oregon won this game, what I think was most readily apparent was that Sean Canfield is undoubtedly deserving of the Pac-10 quarterback of the year award. Doing everything he could to win this game for the Beavers, Canfield ended with 306 yards on 24-of-36 passing and two touchdowns. While Masoli performed admirably, recovering from his early interception to finish with 201 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-21 passing (an identical completion percentage to Canfield) as well as 40 yards on ten carries, Canfield was simply the better passer in this game. He has proven himself time and time again and is wholly worthy of the award even in defeat.
LaMichael James might have been the strongest back overall, but the catalyst to the Oregon comeback was without a doubt LeGarrette Blount. Coming back from his suspension a few weeks ago, Blount had not seen any game action until the Civil War. On Senior Day at Autzen, Blount finished with 51 yards and a touchdown on nine carries to go back over a thousand yards on his Oregon career and set the Ducks up as a favorite come the turn of 2010.
But this game will be remembered most because Oregon advanced. The first team behind the six undefeated teams in the BCS standings, the Ducks now know that they are headed to Pasadena for a New Year's Day date with Big Ten champion Ohio State. Masoli once again proved up to the task, and this year LaMichael James and LeGarrette Blount combined to be the most civil of warriors... Blount becoming the most civil as a bookend to his most uncivil beginning to the 2009 season.