Oregon Knocks Off 'Cats, Controls Pac-10 Destiny

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Oregon's Autzen Stadium might as well be known as the Pac-10's House of Pain.

Once again a nationally-ranked team headed to Eugene, Ore., to take on the Ducks (6-1, 4-0 in the Pac-10), only to fall against the conference frontrunner.

The latest victim was Arizona (5-2, 3-1). The 14-10 win over the Wildcats puts Oregon in control of the race to the Rose Bowl as the only team undefeated in conference play.

No. 24 Arizona would need the No. 7 Ducks to lose two of their remaining Pac-10 games to have a shot at making it to Pasadena in January.

"I'm not even going to lie - I'm thinking about the Rose Bowl," Oregon defensive tackle Jason Nikolao said. "Go get your tickets; we'll meet you down there."

The game was as physical as any game in the conference this season. Players from both teams were flying across the field, unceremoniously dropping opponents to Autzen's synthetic grass.

One of those hits knocked the Wildcats best cornerback, Michael Jolivette, out of the game in the second quarter, when he was banged up on special teams.

The blow was delivered by Oregon's Wesley Mallard, who blindsided Jolivette, sending his helmet and earpad flying in opposite directions, and required 11 stitches in Jolivette's chin.

Oregon capitalized on the injury, scoring its second touchdown against Jolivette's replacement.

"We knew that the most physical team would win," Ducks cornerback Steve Smith said. "I guess we were more physical."

Both defenses held their respective offensive counterparts in check for most of the game.

Oregon's 14 points came on two touchdown passes from Joey Harrington to Marshaun Tucker, in the first and second quarters.

All of the Arizona's points came in the second quarter. Quarterback Ortege Jenkins hooked up with tailback Larry Croom for a 58-yard score and Arizona added a 34-yard field goal from Sean Keel as the first half ended.

The second half saw both defenses assert themselves.

Harrington was 9-of-22 for 123 yards, with only 33 yards in the second half.

Jenkins was 15-of-31 for 200 yards. The Ducks shut down the Wildcats running game, limiting Arizona to 17 yards on 32 carries.

Meanwhile, Oregon's Maurice Morris ran for 114 yards on 34 carries.

"This hurts like hell," Wildcats coach Dick Tomey said. "It really hurts because we put ourselves in a position to win. That was just a tough-gut game between two outstanding defenses."

Jenkins led Arizona from its own 10-yard line to the Ducks' 36 in the final minute of the game. But four straight incompletions ended the Wildcats' hopes for a comeback.

Having already played three of the conferences more formidable opponents - UCLA, Washington and Arizona - the Ducks would have to stumble against Arizona State, Washington State or Cal before a potential Pac-10 deciding game against Oregon State.

The No. 18 Beavers kept the Rose Bowl chase a two-team affair by coming back to dispense with UCLA, 44-38, at the Rose Bowl.

Oregon State (6-1, 3-1) racked up 253 yards on the ground, with 146 coming from Patrick McCall on 23 carries, including a 66-yard run to put the game away in the fourth quarter.

Ken Simonton added 100 yards on 24 carries.

"This win keeps us on the race (for the Rose Bowl) which is unusual for Oregon State," Beavers coach Dennis Erickson said. "Coming back from being down 31-21 says a lot about our team."

Quarterback Jonathan Smith led Oregon State through the air with 351 yards and four touchdowns, completing 22 of 37 pass attempts with one interception.

The Bruins (4-3, 1-3) were led by Cory Paus, who had 363 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA dropped out the top-25 with the loss.


The train wreck that has become the USC football season continued with a 32-30 loss to Stanford (3-4, 2-2) in Palo Alto.

Chris Lewis came off the bench to relieve Randy Fasani on the final drive of the game and found Jamien McCullum in the corner of the end one as time expired.

Lewis had only been in the game 55 seconds, but it was long enough to hand the Trojans (3-4, 0-4) their fourth consecutive loss and spur more speculation about USC head coach Paul Hackett's job security.

Down, 30-26, Fasani banged up his knee and was out for the final drive. Lewis, for the second time this season, led the Cardinal to victory.

"I wasn't nervous," Lewis said. "It's what you play for. There's no reason to get nervous. I'm the No. 1 reliever."

Stanford's Kerry Carter ran for four scores on the way to 123 yards on 20 carries.

Another shaky performance from USC quarterback Carson Palmer (15-of-30, 190 yards, two interceptions) squandered 230 total yards on the ground.

A 41-yard field goal by Mike Barth gave Arizona State (5-2, 2-2) an overtime win over Washington State (3-4, 1-3).


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