OREGON STATE WON in Pasadena for the first time since 2000 as they won their fourth straight conference game improving to 6-3 and becoming bowl eligible.
Jacquizz Rodgers set a Pac-10 rushing record for freshmen and Sean Canfield filled in ably at quarterback to help Oregon State beat UCLA 34-6 on Saturday.
Rodgers ran for 144 yards to increase his season total to 1,089 - the most ever by a freshman in the conference. He's only the third Pac-10 first-year player to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Ken Simonton, the Beavers' career rushing leader, had 1,028 in 1998 and Darrin Nelson had 1,069 for Stanford in 1977.
Rodgers, who has now rushed for over 100 yards seven times, scored on a 1-yard TD run with 7:18 left in the third quarter and a 5-yard pass with 10:15 remaining after an interception by safety Greg Laybourne.
The victory helped keep Oregon State's chances at a return trip to the Rose Bowl alive. The Beavers (6-3, 5-1 Pac-10) need to run the table in their final three games against No. 21 California, Arizona and Oregon to win the conference title.
Oregon State's 27-21 upset victory over USC on Sept. 25 would serve as the tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl if it came down to that. The school's last appearance in Pasadena on New Year's Day was at the end of the 1964 season, a 34-7 loss to Michigan.
Canfield completed 16 of 22 passes for 222 yards, including a 75-yard pass play to James Rodgers that set up one of Justin Kahut's two field goals. Last week, the left-handed Canfield led the Beavers to a come-from-behind 27-25 victory over Arizona State, throwing for 218 yards and two touchdowns after starting quarterback Lyle Moevao went down in the second quarter with a strained muscle in his shoulder.
Saturday's win, which snapped a five-game losing streak against UCLA, came a year and five days after Canfield injured his shoulder against USC and lost his starting job to Moevao. Canfield underwent surgery for a torn labrum and missed spring practice, then suffered a setback early in fall practice when shoulder soreness sidelined him for the first few games.
UCLA (3-6, 2-4) was 2-for-15 on third-down conversions after coming up empty on its first nine attempts. Kevin Craft completed 20 of 42 passes for 189 yards and threw two interceptions, one by Patrick Henderson that set up Ryan McCants' 35-yard touchdown run with 2:18 to play.
James Rodgers had six receptions for 115 yards, and Stroughter gained 93 yards on six catches.
UCLA, coming off a bye that followed a 41-20 loss at Cal, was missing offensive guards Micah Reed and Scott Glicksberg along with defensive tackle Jess Ward - all of whom were suspended for the game for violating team rules.
The blue and gold alas are out of bowl contention this season. I can only look forward to next season.
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