EUGENE — Jeremiah Masoli was calm and composed as he led the Oregon offense to the field for the final drive Thursday night.
His teammates and coaches have confidence in him and he showed why.
Masoli’s 6-yard run on a fourth-and-3 play with just more than three minutes in the game gave the Ducks a first down that allowed them to run the clock toward the finish.
Seventh-ranked Oregon secured one more first down to beat No. 13 Oregon State 37-33 and clinch the Pacific-10 Conference championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against Ohio State.
The Ducks were down 30-21 early in the third quarter. Masoli was one of the big reasons his team came out on top.
“Composed like always,” receiver Jeff Maehl said of Masoli. “He’s a special guy. It’s amazing how much composure he has in these situations and the plays that he makes.”
The Ducks took the field with just more than six minutes to play and a four-point lead. Kick the ball back to the Beavers and they’d risk a shift in momentum.
But Masoli wouldn’t let the Ducks lose.
On that fourth down, a designed pass play, he found no open receivers and instead ran right toward the sideline. He made his way past the first-down marker before he went out of bounds.
“It was just him and the safety there and he made the play,” tight end Ed Dickson said.
Masoli finished 14 of 21 passing for 201 yards. His only touchdown and interception came in the first half.
He also rushed for 40 yards on 10 carries.
“Masoli showed great poise, which he has all season,” said running back LaMichael James. “He’s remarkable. He never panicked. After the interception, even after our fumble. He really is poised and a great leader for our program.”
Masoli had an efficient first half, with a 10-for-15 passing effort for 158 yards. He also ran five times for 39 yards.
The interception came on the the third play of the game. The pass went off the outstretched hands of Dickson to Oregon State’s James Dockery, who returned the ball 16 yards to the Oregon 22.
The Beavers turned that into a touchdown seven plays later.
The touchdown was a 73-yarder to Maehl that put the Ducks ahead 14-10 with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, James was unable to secure a Masoli handoff. Oregon State recovered the fumble and used that to get a field goal for 16-14 lead.