Only Beavers in Ducks' path to title game

One final hurdle
Oregon running back LaMichael James (center) is averaging a BCS-level best 154.8 yards per game for the No. 1 Ducks.

CORVALLIS, Ore. --- Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris put himself in Oregon State's shoes when contemplating today's Civil War.


If he were a Beaver, Harris says that right about now he'd be thinking: "We've got to give it our best shot. They're No. 1 in the nation and we want to knock them off their high horse."

Yep, that about covers it.

With the BCS title game nearly within grasp, there's one thing that top-ranked Oregon can be sure of: The Beavers are going to bring it. Oregon State (5-6, 4-4 Pac-10) needs one more win to become bowl eligible and avoid a losing season for the first time since 2005.

And there's no better time to play the ultimate spoiler's role than in the regular-season season finale between the two longtime rivals.

"This is it," said Beavers senior cornerback James Dockery. "We've got to figure out a way."

It won't be easy. Oregon State has had an uneven season at best, and has dropped three of its past four games, including a disheartening loss to lowly Washington State and a 38-0 shutout by Stanford.

After breaking in new quarterback Ryan Katz this season, the Beavers were hurt when they lost senior receiver James Rodgers to a season-ending knee injury in early October. Rodgers, the older brother of running back Jacquizz Rodgers, was averaging 176.8 yards of total offense before he was injured.

Little brother Quizz says his own season hasn't met his expectations. He is averaging just under 100 yards rushing per game, down from his average of about 111 last year.

The Beavers have had an admittedly difficult schedule. Three of Oregon State's losses came to opponents in the top 10 this week -- Texas Christian, Stanford and Boise State. But the Beavers also beat Arizona, which at the time was ranked ninth, and Southern California, which was No. 20 when the Trojans fell in Corvallis 36-7.

"We know we're going to get their best shot. They were home against SC, so we talked today about how we're going to get that team that played SC," Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews said. "They're not just going to roll over and let the season slip away.."

Quizz's counterpart on the Ducks, running back LaMichael James, is having a season that has put him in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

James is averaging a BCS-level best 154.8 yards rushing a game for Oregon (11-0, 8-0 Pac-10). He is also leading the nation in scoring with an average of 12 points a game.

The sophomore has rushed for 1,548 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, even though he sat out the opener under a one-game suspension. Coach Chip Kelly imposed the penalty after James pleaded guilty to harassment in connection with an off-season altercation with his ex-girlfriend.

Top 25 schedule

- No. 1 Oregon at Oregon State, 3:30 p.m.

- No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 18 South Carolina at Atlanta, 4 p.m.

- No. 9 Boise State vs. Utah State, 3 p.m.

- No. 10 Oklahoma vs. No. 13 Nebraska at Arlington, Texas, 8 p.m.

- No. 12 Virginia Tech vs. No. 20 Florida State at Charlotte, N.C, 7:45 p.m.

- No. 14 Nevada at Louisiana Tech, 3 p.m.

- No. 23 West Virginia vs. Rutgers, Noon

- No. 25 Hawaii vs. UNLV, 10:30 p.m.



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