Beavers must settle on a quarterback

CORVALLIS — The Oregon State Beavers are in the enviable position of having two healthy — and capable — quarterbacks available for the Civil War.

Lyle Moevao, who has started in nine games this season for No. 17 Oregon State, was throwing again in practice this week after sitting out last weekend's game against Arizona with a sore shoulder.

Coach Mike Riley said Moevao threw before the game in Tempe and could have been available as backup if needed.

Sean Canfield started and helped lead the Beavers on a comeback drive in the final two minutes that ended with Justin Kahut's field goal and a 19-17 Oregon State victory.

Canfield completed 20 of 32 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown against the Wildcats. He also led the Beavers over California 34-21 in his other start this season.

Canfield, a left-hander who missed fall practice while rehabbing a shoulder injury, has thrown for 703 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions this season, while Moevao, a righty, has thrown for 1,967 yards and 14 scores, with nine interceptions.

"I'm really excited about the fact that we have two guys who are capable of winning games," Riley said. "I was really impressed with Sean's poise down the stretch and the plays that he's made since he's quarterbacked our team. Obviously we've liked the work Lyle has done this year, so I think that's a good thing for the Beavers and we'll figure out the starting deal later on this week."

No doubt the decision will be handled very carefully.

The Rose Bowl is on the line for the Beavers (8-3, 7-1) in the 112th Civil War. Win, and Oregon State is headed to Pasadena on New Year's Day for a game against No. 6 Penn State. The Beavers lost to the Nittany Lions 45-14 early in the season.

The Beavers would like nothing more than to avenge that loss. But first, they have to beat the Ducks.

"You dream about going to this bowl game and that bowl game, and then it finally comes down to your last game, rivalry week," Moevao said. "We know this will be a tough challenge playing at home. We know what's at stake. You either win or you lose."

Meanwhile, No. 19 Oregon (8-3, 6-2) has a healthy and established starter for the annual rivalry game for first time in several years.

Jeremiah Masoli, who won the starting job while Justin Roper was injured and then won over fans who maligned his passing game, will lead the Ducks on Saturday.

On Tuesday, coach Mike Bellotti recounted the quarterback troubles that had marked the Civil War for the Ducks over the past three years:

In 2005, Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf had to step in for Kellen Clemens, who broke his ankle earlier in the season. The Ducks won that game at Autzen Stadium, 56-14.

In 2006, Leaf made his first start of the season in the Civil War after Dixon had struggled down the stretch. The Beavers won at Reser Stadium, 30-28.

And last year, with both Dixon and Leaf out with injuries, the Ducks turned to Cody Kempt and Justin Roper. Oregon State won that one in double overtime at Autzen, 38-31.

Masoli started fall practice as Oregon's third-string quarterback, behind Nate Costa and Roper. Costa suffered a knee injury a week before the opener that required season-ending surgery.

Roper became the team's starter but missed nearly four weeks with a knee injury, and Masoli stepped into the starting role. The junior college transfer has thrown for nine touchdowns and run for six more for the Ducks.


PREPPING FOR QUIZZ: Even though Oregon State coach Mike Riley is "very doubtful" freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers is going to play in the Civil War, the Oregon Ducks are nonetheless preparing for him. Just in case.

Oregon freshman LaMichael James, who is redshirting this season, is impersonating Rodgers on the Ducks' scout team in practice this week. James is 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, while Rodgers is 5-foot-7 and 190 pounds.

Coach Mike Bellotti said he's been impressed with James.

"He's been opening eyes all season," the coach said. "He's going to be really, really good. In this offense, he's going to be a lot of fun to watch in the future."

Rodgers, the Pacific-10 Conference's leading rusher and the top freshman nationwide, injured his shoulder last Saturday against Arizona.


BE SAFE: Law enforcement agencies a coordinating efforts to make sure that the Civil War goes smoothly on Saturday.

Local police agencies, ODOT and Oregon State Police are all coordinating efforts. There will be extra patrols on Interstate 5 and secondary highways leading to Corvallis.

"Leave early, be patient, keep your emotions in check, buckle up and keep a sober driver behind the wheel at all times," Oregon State Police Superintendent Timothy McLain advised.


EXTRA POINTS: Oregon State safety Greg Laybourn was named the Pac-10 defensive player of the week for his performance in the 19-17 victory over Arizona. He had 11 tackles, eight of them solo. It was his third league player of the week honor. ... Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount missed practice Tuesday because of illness. ... ESPN was in Corvallis on Tuesday to document the Beavers' "No-Shave November." Oregon State players have gone 4-0 this month without shaving. ... Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea didn't practice Tuesday because of swelling in his right knee.

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