Sunday November 22nd, 2009

Oftentimes, the most exciting college football Saturdays are the ones you least expect. On a day without a single game between two ranked teams, the sport provided us an all-day marathon of dramatic finishes, culminating with No. 11 Oregon's 44-41 double-overtime win at Arizona.

With both teams playing for control of their Rose Bowl fate, the Ducks and Wildcats staged a classic Pac-10 shootout, but Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli ultimately stole the show. Masoli accounted for all but one of the Ducks' scores -- three rushing touchdowns, three passing touchdowns.

After teammate Talmadge Jackson picked off a deflected pass in the end zone with 3:11 left, Masoli took over, needing to drive 80 yards to send the game to overtime. During a timeout with 38 seconds remaining and Oregon at the Widcats' 25-yard-line, hordes of red-clad Arizona students began climbing a wall to get onto the field for an anticipated victory celebration, but Masoli put an end to that. On fourth and 5, he completed a 7-yard dart to Jeff Maehl, and with nine seconds left, he hit tight end Ed Dickson for a game-tying touchdown.

Arizona QB Nick Foles had a big night of his own. After Masoli's scrambling 4-yard scoring throw to Mahel to begin overtime, Foles responded with his fourth touchdown of the night to send it to a second frame. But this time, Oregon's defense repeatedly pressured Foles, forcing the Wildcats to settle for a field goal. Next thing you knew, Masoli was crossing the goal line for the winning touchdown.

It was a heartbreaking night for Arizona fans (especially those that prematurely hatched their celebration). The loss ensures the Wildcats (6-4, 4-3 Pac-10) will go another year as the Pac-10's lone team never to reach Pasadena.

Oregon (9-2, 7-1), on the other hand, is now set to host an epic Thursday night Civil War against rival Oregon State (8-3, 6-2) on Dec. 3. The winner heads to the Rose Bowl to take on Ohio State. Here's hoping it's even half as thrilling as Saturday night's duel in Tucson.

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