Ducks move back into rankings

Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is the undisputed starter going into Saturday's game at California.

Masoli threw for 147 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown, and rushed for 85 yards and a score in the Ducks' 54-20 victory at Arizona State Saturday. The sophomore was honored as the Pacific-10 Conference offensive player of the week.

Masoli had been competing with Justin Roper, Oregon's starter at the beginning of the season. But injuries and an illness sidelined Roper for four games, and Masoli took over.

The two quarterbacks competed going into the game against the Sun Devils.

Masoli's progression has impressed coach Mike Bellotti, who said the junior college transfer was considered the Ducks' fifth-string quarterback before the season started.

"The more opportunities he got, the more comfortable and confident he became. Certainly the last three to four weeks has elevated his status with the football team. And it's probably more of a relief to him. I think he always felt he was capable of doing it, as did we," Bellotti said.

As for the Golden Bears, coach Jeff Tedford tentatively named Kevin Riley as his starter against the Ducks (6-2, 4-1 Pac-10). But Riley will still share first-team practice snaps for another week with former starter Nate Longshore.

Although Tedford in the past has shown that he doesn't like two-quarterback systems, he has flip-flopped between Longshore and Riley, who grew up in Beaverton and played football for his father at Beaverton High School.

"We're in a position where we need to make decisions each week until this thing separates itself," Tedford said. "It's something we're always evaluating."

Riley has passed for 985 yards and nine touchdowns with just two interceptions for Cal (5-2, 3-1).


TIES: There are so many ties between the Ducks and the Golden Bears that the games are always interesting.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford used to be Oregon's offensive coordinator. The Ducks' starting quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, is a San Francisco native and played at the City College of San Francisco before joining Oregon. Cal offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz is the younger brother of former Duck offensive tackle Geoff Schwartz. And the list goes on.

Last season at Autzen Stadium, then-No. 6 California defeated then-No. 11 Oregon 31-24. With 22 seconds left, Dennis Dixon passed to Cameron Colvin, who fumbled trying to reach the ball into the end zone.

The year before in Berkeley, Dixon threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage and the Ducks went on to lose 45-24.

"It is going to be a competitive, close football game," said Tedford. "We need all the help we can get, and our fans create a major impact when we play here."

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