The win ensured the Ducks at least a third place finish in the Pac-10 race and possibly a higher position depending on the outcome of the USC-UCLA game. The Trojans defeated California on Saturday 35-10, while the Bruins beat Arizona State, 45-35. The Trojans remain undefeated at 10-0 and 7-0 in the Pac-10 race. UCLA has an identical record to Oregon. USC was ranked No. 1 in both polls on Sunday and UCLA is ranked 12th in the AP and 11th in the USA Today poll.
Oregon's Dennis Dixon points into the Oregan fan section of Martin Stadium after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Kent during the third quarter against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005. (AP Photo/Joe Barrentine)
Dennis Dixon started the game against Washington State and was 16-of-22, 197 yards and the touchdown to Kent. Dixon also had six rushes for 43 yards including one for 22 yards. Kent's touchdown catch was the first score of his career.
The Ducks used the combination of Dixon and fellow sophomore Brady Leaf against the Cougars. Leaf ended the game 12-of-17, 99 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
"It feels good," said Dixon of the win. "The team was relying on me and Brady and we responded."
Senior quarterback Kellen Clemens was lost for the season during the Arizona game but was on the sidelines during the WSU game, crutches and all. Clemens acted as a mentor to the sophomore quarterbacks in the game. Last week Leaf was put in a pressure situation when the coaching staff decided to use him to lead the Ducks in overtime against California. Against the Cougars, it was Leaf on the sideline and Dixon in the ball game in the crucial closing moments of the game. In the final drive, Dixon moved the team 73 yards in 14 plays to the 2-yardline, where place kicker Paul Martinez drilled a 19-yard field goal with one second showing on the game clock to seal the Oregon win.
"I learned a lot from that series," said Dixon of the overtime period last week and what he did in the WSU game. "I talked to Kellen (Clemens) before -- stay within yourself, stay poised and trust the offense, and I think I did that."
Oregon's Dennis Dixon, foreground, scrambles for a first down in the first half against Washington State's Adam Braidwood (13) and Husain Abdullah(23) at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005.(AP Photo/Joe Barrentine)
"It was real cold out there," commented a jubilant Dixon right after the game concluded of the conditions. "Switching series with Brady...you had to go the side line and warm up, and get ready for the next series. I think Brady and me did a good job tonight."
The official attendance for the game was 27,595. The temperature during the game hovered near 36 degrees with calm winds and some clouds. Snow was falling in the Palouse on Sunday morning.
Oregon's Cameron Colvin heads for a touchdown during the second half against Washington State at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005. Oregon won 34-31. (AP Photo/Joe Barrentine)
Colvin's touchdown run of 23 yards was the longest run of the day for the Ducks. Colvin, a sophomore also had three receptions for 11 yards. Junior James Finley was the leading receiver with six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown from Leaf. Senior Tim Day had five catches for 44 yards while Terrence Whitehead had four receptions for 17 yards. Redshirt freshman Jaison Williams had three grabs for 52 yards. Senior Dante Rosario had a catch for 13 yards and junior Kyle Weatherspoon caught a ball for 10 yards.
"This is a special group of kids," comment Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti of his team."The seniors have created that entity and the young players have taken their lead and they understand its anybody's time to step up. Leadership is a shared commodity, not solely the province of the seniors. I'm pleased with those young quarterbacks, those young running backs making some plays. Liberal substitutions all over the place, we had to today because we had some dings. It was a physical game."
Wide receiver Demetrius Williams suffered a concussion during the game and several other players were hobbled. Defensive end Haloti Ngata, Whitehead and cornerback Justin Phinisee all limped off the field at different times during the game. Bellotti expects all will be available for the Civil War next week against Oregon State at Autzen Stadium.