CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State edged closer to its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1965 with a 34-21 victory over California on Saturday.
Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers and his older brother James each ran for touchdowns for the Beavers (7-3, 6-1 Pac-10), who won their fifth straight.
Because Oregon State defeated then-No. 1 USC 27-21 on Sept 21, the Beavers hold the tiebreaker for a Rose Bowl berth should both teams win out. Oregon State visits Arizona next weekend before hosting Oregon in the Civil War rivalry game.
Lyle Moevao completed 14 of 28 passes for 145 yards for Oregon State. Jacquizz Rodgers, the Pac-10’s leading rusher, ran for 144 yards and a score while James Rodgers caught six passes for 50 yards and ran 18 yards for a touchdown.
Kevin Riley, who grew up to the north in Portland, started for Cal (6-4, 4-3) and completed 11 of 25 passes for 117 yards and a score. Jahvid Best ran for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Cal jumped in front on its first series, scoring on Riley’s 5-yard pass to Verran Tucker. Oregon State quickly answered, when James Rodgers returned the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a score this season in the Pac-10.
The Beavers made it 14-7 when Sammie Stroughter returned a punt 56 yards to the California 2-yard line and Jacquizz Rodgers ran it in for the touchdown.
Justin Kahut added a 28-yard field goal for the Beavers in the second quarter. But the Golden Bears narrowed it when Riley lateraled to Jeremy Ross, who threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Nyan Boateng to make it 17-14 going into the half.
Kahut kicked a 24-yard field goal early in the second half before James Rodgers ran 18 yards for a score to make it 27-14.
Best’s 65-yard touchdown run narrowed it for Cal before the end of the third quarter.
The Beavers missed a chance at the start of the fourth when Kahut’s 29-yard field goal attempt went wide right. But Keenan Lewis sealed it for Oregon State when he intercepted Riley and ran 25 yards for a touchdown with 31 seconds to play.
Last season the Beavers beat the second-ranked Golden Bears in Berkeley and kept them from likely reaching the top of the rankings for the first time in 56 years. No. 1 LSU had lost earlier that day.
It was the first start of Riley’s career. He drove Cal within field-goal range in the final minute with the Bears trailing 31-28, but made an ill-advised attempt to run the ball with no time-outs. The clock ran out before the Bears could get their kicking team on the field.
The Golden Bears had won their last two games in Corvallis, but Oregon State had not lost at Reser Stadium this season.
The Beavers were coming off a 34-6 victory over UCLA in Pasadena last weekend.
Cal was coming off a 17-3 loss to USC in Los Angeles. The Golden Bears finish the season out at home with games against Stanford and Washington.