Loud and foggy

It was louder than ever and a good thing too because if you were sitting in the press box you might not have known what was going on the field because of the fog. The players on the field did however, and if you are an Oregon Duck you know your team scored 56 points and the Oregon State Beavers scored 14. The 109th annual Civil War, played in the fog was a good old fashion blow out, and now the Oregon Ducks are looking at the BCS for a bowl they believe they deserve.

(PHOTO) The University of Oregon and Oregon State are seen playing in a fog-filled Autzen Stadium during the first half Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"Yes," responded senior wide receiver Demetrius Williams to the question of should the Ducks go to a BCS. "It's out of the bag now."

For the last few weeks the Ducks have not talked about bowl games, instead they've talked about the upcoming opponent and now with a 10-1 record 7-1 in the Pac-10, the Ducks have no reason to be polite about their aspirations. The only loss the Ducks suffered was the No. 1 ranked USC Trojans and that was in the fourth game of the season.

"I think we should be able to go to a BCS bowl with the season we had," said Williams. "We only lost one game and it was to the national champions, and we just played a bad half. We just did really well this year and I think we should be going to the BCS."

The game with the Beavers though was nearly over before the fans arriving at kickoff had a chance to find their seats. The Beavers took the opening kickoff and by making two first downs it appeared that the game might be a contest, but on a second and 10 at the Oregon 45-yardline, OSU quarterback Ryan Gunderson fired the ball right into the hands of a breaking Oregon cornerback, Aaron Gipson. Gipson was in the end zone 60 yards later and for Beaver fans the worst of their fears were starting to come true. OSU may have controlled the clock in the first quarter (11 minutes to 4 minutes), the Ducks controlled the score board. Oregon was able to score again on a 10-play, 94-yard drive culminating with quarterback Dennis Dixon hooking up running back Terrence Whitehead for a 14-yard pass play. The Beavers scored a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, on a 2-yard run by Yvenson Bernard. OSU only other score was in the third quarter on a 2-yard pass from Gunderson to Josh Hawkins. Everything else worth talking about in this game, were Oregon's ability to move the ball on long drives and a remarkable kickoff return.

Oregon scored on drives of 94 yards (1st quarter), 57 yards (2nd quarter), 78 yards (2nd quarter), 90 yards (3rd quarter) and 77 yards (4th quarter). Oregon also scored on a 15-yard drive late in the game and a spectacular 97-yard kickoff return by Jonathan Stewart to start the 2nd half.

"I got the ball and we were supposed cut it to act like we are going it," describe Stewart of his touchdown return. "I veered off a little bit to the right and the hole was wide open, I just took it up and Tim Day, I saw him because he was big number 85. I followed him and once he got his block off, I passed everybody and took it to the house."

Oregon's head coach Mike Bellotti looked that the Oregon offense's ability to sustain the long drives as important parts of the game.

"The drives and ability to control the ball were crucial to this game," said Bellotti.

The 94-yard return by Stewart is the fourth longest in school history and Stewart is the first player since at least the early 60s to record two kickoffs in a season. Stewart returned a kickoff against Montana for 83 yards on September 10, 2005.

Dixon was sensational against the Beavers going 12-for-17, 204 yards and three touchdowns. Dee Williams was the leading receiver with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. James Finley had three grabs for 40 yards and Jaison Williams (2-75) and Whitehead (2-20) each had a touchdown reception. Dixon also ran for 21 yards and was particularly troubling for the Beavers in his ability to convert third downs and keeping drives alive. Oregon ended up converting 6-of-11 3rd downs and finished the day with a total of 402 yards of offense (140 rushing and 262 passing). Oregon State finished the day with 297 yards of total offense (119 passing and 178 passing). Brady Leaf also contributed 54 yards of passing on a 5-for-11 day as the Ducks used rotating quarterbacks during the game.

"A lot of people did write us off, but Dennis and I stepped up to the best of our abilities," Leaf said of the two-quarterback system the Ducks have used since starter Kellen Clemens was lost for the year. "We got the wins, and our team has fought behind us."

Defensively, Oregon kept the Beavers confined to the run game and even though OSU's Mike Hass had a great day (10 catches for 107 yards) over all the Beavers could not sustain effective drives. Gunderson finished the day 22-of-43, 175 yards, four interceptions and one touchdown. Bernard finished the day with 128 yards on 33 carries and the one touchdown.

"One of the things we wanted to do was contain Mike Hass," said Bellotti. "We knew he was going to get his catches, but we didn't want to allow the big play or allow him to get in the end zone."

Senior linebacker Anthony Trucks was the leading tackler for Oregon with 13 tackles (5 solo, 8 assists) and also recorded an interception and three quarterback hurries. Linebacker Blair Phillips had 10 tackles (7 solo and 3 assists) including three for loss. Gipson had two interceptions and Cole Linehan also recorded an interception and the only sack of the day for the Ducks.

"I knew he would have at least two picks this game," said cornerback Justin Phinisee of his teammate Gipson. "I actually thought it would be three. He did a lot of film watching. That's how he got those picks, watching film and knowing the routes and knowing the receivers."

The excitement of the game was evident even those in the upper reaches of the stadium did not always have a good view of the action due to the foggy conditions. However, the 58,525 were extremely vocal and the Ducks home earned the respect of at least one Beaver even though he believes the crowd didn't affect the outcome of the game.

"Autzen is a great stadium to play in," said OSU's linebacker Keith Ellison. "The fans are great and it's probably the best stadium in the Pac-10, but I don't think the crowd was too much of a factor."

With the win, the Ducks now wait and see what bowl they will go to. All eyes will be on the BCS rankings that will be released on Monday to determine if the Ducks move up. The Ducks have done all they can do and whatever happens now is out of Oregon's control. Regardless, this has been a special season for a team that finished a disappointing 5-6 last year and stayed home for the holidays.

"I'm very proud of this group of kids; they are an amazing group, the seniors especially, in terms of their character, their pride, and their poise," said Bellotti of his team. "Our motto this year was ‘focus and finish' and we have done that. They've done what they needed to do to be in the best bowl possible. Obviously that is out of our hands now, but our players have done whatever we've asked them to do all year long."

As the jubilant crowd left the stadium and quiet surrounded the Autzen complex, it was clear it was now time to wait to see what the BCS rankings would have in store for the 10-1 Oregon Ducks.

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