Ducks conjure up late magic in win
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Oregon 43-yard field goal hit the crossbar and bounced over to tie the game.
Arizona responded with a go-ahead 71-yard touchdown pass on the first play of its drive.
And that was all before two overtimes and Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's winning 1-yard touchdown run.
Mystique and drama ruled in 11th-ranked Oregon's 44-41 victory over the Wildcats Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. Rallying from 10 points down early in the final quarter, the Ducks kept their Rose Bowl dreams afloat by setting up a winner-take-all Civil War game against Oregon State on Dec. 3.
"Our guys didn't flinch," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said.
Both teams scored a touchdown in the first overtime, and after Arizona hit a 41-yard field goal to start the second overtime, the Ducks (9-2, 7-1 Pac-10) sealed the victory on Masoli's 1-yard run on their fourth play. To start the march to the goal line, he found Ed Dickson for a 23-yard pass.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight and we knew we had to take it to the end," Dickson said. "That's a good team right there."
MAKING HIS MARK: Running back LaMichael James broke the Pac-10 record for a freshman on his 14-yard run midway through the final quarter. He finished with 117 yards on 19 carries to eclipse 100 yards in six consecutive games.
James' record stands at 1,310 yards. He entered the game needing 60 yards to match the conference record previously owned by Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, who had 1,253 yards.
"My coaches have faith in me, and I have faith in my offensive line," James said.
A CRAZY BOUNCE: The Ducks' game-tying 43-yard field goal by Morgan Flint wasn't pretty but certainly was effective after the low liner bounced off the crossbar and over, tying the game 24-24 with 8:02 remaining.
"That's his limit," Kelly said of the 43 yards.
Added James: "Just luck. God was with us tonight."
COOL UNDER PRESSURE: Masoli rebounded from two early fumbles to throw the tying touchdown on an 8-yard pass with six seconds left and the 4-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Maehl in the first overtime before calling his own number on the game-winning run.
"We have perseverance," Masoli said. "It's one of the characteristics of this team."
ODDS AND ENDS: Oregon tried to ice Arizona kicker Alex Zendejas twice right before the half by calling two timeouts before his 47-yard field goal attempt. Zendejas then nailed the kick — his previous longest was 37 yards — and he let the Ducks know it. He moved toward the Oregon sideline and appeared to jaw at the Ducks before a referee steered him away. ... Arizona tailback Nic Grigsby returned to action after missing the previous two games with a shoulder injury, but was re-injured. He finished with 24 yards on four carries.
Keola Antolin (ankle) didn't play the second half after rushing for 46 yards on three carries.