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2009 BN Pac-10 Awards: Game of the Year

The 2009 Pac-10 regular season has come to a close and as we all know, between the end of the regular season and beginning of the bowl season is the all-important awards season. So in that spirit, I present to you, the 2009 BruinsNation Pac-10 Awards. Throughout this week, we have presented to you our Pac-10 awards, as voted on by the frontpagers and a select few members of the community, totaling ten votes. Monday was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, with Tuesday bringing us the Defensive Player of the Year, Wednesday giving us Freshman of the Year and yesterday giving us Coach of the Year. This wraps up our 2009 BruinsNation Pac-10 Awards week.

Winner: Oregon St. vs. Oregon, Civil War- There's no surprise with this selection, but had you told someone before the year that the Civil War would have so much on the line, you would have been laughed at. Oregon and Oregon St. were picked to finish third and fourth in the Pac-10, respectively, with a total of one first place vote between the two. Neither team got off to a stellar start either as the Ducks had a disastrous first game in Boise and the Beavers were 2-2 after four games, including a Pac-10 loss. After that though, the two teams took off and set up a barn burner of a finale in Eugene.

Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon is the loudest and most intimidating of Pac-10 venues and one of the loudest in the country. That was the setting for a rivalry game with a Rose Bowl berth on the line. Oregon St. entered the season finale a single game behind Oregon and if they beat the Ducks, they would finish in a tie atop the Pac-10 with the Beavers earning the spot in the Rose Bowl thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker. The game, on Thursday night, was broadcast live across the country on ESPN and received the big game treatment often lacking in the Pac-10.

The Beavers got off to a flying start when they picked off Jeremiah Masoli and returned the ball to the Oregon 23 to set up a OSU touchdown. Masoli led the Ducks back down the field though and LaMichael James scored from a yard out to even the game at sevens. After a OSU field goal, Masoli found Jeff Maehl for a 73 yard TD pass as the Ducks took a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Oregon St. was able to kick their way back into the lead, nailing a pair of field goals to give them a 16-14 lead, but Oregon's James found a seam again, this time from six yards, for another Oregon touchdown and the Ducks led 21-16. Oregon was keeping the Oregon St. offense out of the end zone, but they weren't doing much to stop them as Sean Canfield was throwing the ball at will. Canfield finally found James Rodgers from 28 yards out to put the Beavers into the end zone and into the lead again with 14 seconds left in the first half as OSU took a 23-21 lead into the locker room.

After receiving the opening kick of the second half, Oregon St. marched right down field on nine plays to score yet again. Canfield capped it with a nine yard TD pass, but was getting plenty of help from both Rodgers brothers. Down 30-21, LaGarrette Blount finally made a name for himself for a football related play, powering through from 12 yards to get the Ducks within two. An Oregon St. field goal made it 33-28, but the Beavers wouldn't score again.

James flashed his speed just one more time, but it was a big one as he raced to the end zone from 52 yards away, putting the Ducks ahead for good. Oregon added a field goal in the fourth quarter for good measure, but 37-33 was plenty for the Ducks as they gave their fans a chance to storm the field and celebrate a berth in the Rose Bowl.