(Saturday, November 15th)
Final Score: (23) Oregon State 34, California 21
Corvallis, OR (Sports Network) - James Rodgers rushed for a score and returned a kick 86 yards for a touchdown, while little brother Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 144 yards on 27 carries with a score, as the Oregon State Beavers continued their march toward a Pac-10 title with a 34-21 victory over the California Bears.
The 23rd-ranked Beavers (7-3, 6-1 Pac-10) have now posted five straight wins overall and six in a row against league foes, becoming bowl eligible for the eighth time in 10 years with last weekend's 34-6 win over UCLA.
OSU is in control of its own destiny for the Pac-10 title, as the school is at 6-1, with the Beavers owning both a game in hand over the Trojans and the tie-breaker due to their 27-21 upset of USC earlier this season.
USC moved to 7-1 in conference play with a win against Stanford Saturday and is idle next weekend before hosting Note Dame and closing out the season in Los Angeles against UCLA.
Lyle Moevao connected on 14-of-28 pass attempts for 145 yards and an interception, while James Rodgers also led the team in receiving with six grabs for 50 yards.
If the Beavers win out, they will be Pac-10 champions, but that quest will be put to the test next Saturday with a road date in Tucson against Arizona before facing Oregon to close out the season.
"It was a good football game between two teams that really went after each other. I was really proud of our team for being relentless," Beavers head coach Mike Riley said. Both defenses played well and it was going to come down to who took care of the ball and took advantage of opportunities."
Jahvid Best rushed for 116 yards and a TD on 15 carries for the Bears (6-4, 4-3), whose slim hopes for a shot at the Pac-10 championship were further dimmed with the loss, their second straight in league play and fourth consecutive defeat on the road.
Kevin Riley was 11-of-25 passing for 117 yards with a TD and a pick, while wideout Jeremy Ross caught three passes for 30 yards and threw a 30-yard TD on a trick play to Nyan Boateng.
"It's really hard to get in the flow when you are in so many long-yardage situations. We weren't making any progress on first down," Bears head coach Jeff Tedford said. "We really struggled protecting the passer today, and when you end up in that many long-yardage situations, it makes for a difficult day playing against a team like that."
Holding a 17-14 lead entering the second half, OSU got a 31-yard run from James Rodgers on 2nd-and-3 to move into Cal territory. After faltering three times following a 1st-and-goal, the Beavers got a 24-yard field goal from Justin Kahut to come away with points on their opening series.
The Bears were forced to punt on their first series of the second half and the Beavers came back with a quick scoring drive after receiving good field position. On the third play, James Rodgers ripped off an 18-yard score for a 27-14 lead with eight minutes remaining in the third.
Cal came back with a big play, though, which made it a one-score game just 1:23 later. After taking a sack on first down, Riley hit Verran Tucker for 24 yards on 2nd-and-18 and on the next play Best burst around the right side and tore up the sideline for a 65-yard TD.
A pair of punts from both teams led to the fourth, where Kahut missed on a 29-yard boot under a minute in. The Beavers' defense dominated the final quarter as Cal was held to one yard of total offense for the quarter and never came close to reaching OSU territory.
On the Bears' last-gasp effort with under a minute to play, Riley tossed an interception that was returned 25 yards to the end zone by Keenan Lewis to ice the victory for OSU.
Best got Cal rolling on the opening kickoff, taking it back 51 yards, and with an OSU personal foul tacked on, the Bears' set up on the OSU 26 to start the game. Four plays later, Cal took the 7-0 lead behind a five-yard TD grab by Tucker.
The lead was short-lived, however, as James Rodgers returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards to tie the game. OSU's special teams paid dividends late in the quarter as well, when Sammie Stroughter took a punt 56 yards back to the Cal two-yard line, where Jacquizz Rodgers was able to punch it in on the next play for a 14-7 lead with 1:50 left in the first.
Kahut made it a 17-7 game with a 28-yard field goal that capped OSU's opening drive of the second, but the Bears pulled a play from their bag of tricks on the ensuing possession.
Riley completed a 35-yard pass to LaReylle Cunningham on 2nd-and-10 to gain the OSU 30. On the next play Riley tossed a lateral to Ross, who turned and threw a wobbler downfield to a wide-open Boateng at the goal-line for a 17-14 score that lasted until halftime.
In a series that dates back to 1905, Cal owns a 33-28 edge over OSU...The Beavers snapped a two-game losing streak to Cal and have captured eight of the past 10 meetings overall...The Beavers held a significant advantage in time of possession, 34:46-25:14...Cal was 2-for-13 on third down conversions...OSU outgained the Bears 339-232.
11/16 01:34:31 ET