CORVALLIS, Ore. - As the third quarter turned to the fourth and AC/DC blared in Reser Stadium, Oregon State's sideline was rocking, its players thinking they just might pull off a monster upset.
On its side, top-ranked Oregon stayed cool — focused on winning the day.
When it was done, and a spot in the BCS national title game was secured, that's when the Ducks finally let loose.
Heisman Trophy contender LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and the fast-paced Ducks negotiated the last speed bump on the way to Glendale, Ariz., grinding out a 37-20 victory over the Beavers in the Civil War on Saturday.
The matchup becomes official Sunday, but there will be no surprises when the final Bowl Championship Series standings come out: Oregon will play Auburn on Jan. 10 for its first national championship.
"The best part about it is ... we expected this," Ducks defensive tackle Brandon Bair said. "It's the way we prepared, the way we planned, we expected this."
Not until the fourth quarter did Oregon finally shake free.
Barner's 23-yard touchdown run with 12:16 made it 30-13 and James popped through the middle for a 10-yard score with 4:27 left to seal it.
Jacquizz Rodgers had 87 yards rushing for the Beavers (5-7, 4-5) and scored a touchdown, but they were forced to settle for short field goals twice after good third-quarter drives — and that just won't do against the most prolific offense in the country.
When the clock hit 00:00, James and his teammates bounded over to a corner of the stadium to celebrate with their band, their famous Donald Duck-clone mascot and their fans.
The Oregon faithful spilled onto the field and the push up-pumping mascot got swallowed up as he crowd surfed. The party was headed south, 40 miles down Interstate 5 to Eugene.
The Ducks, the Pac-10's new power with their high-speed spread offense, rising star coach Chip Kelly and the wildest uniforms Nike and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight can provide (silver helmets and pants on this day), are relative newcomers among college football's elite.
"We're not going to play a national championship right now, we're going to prepare for one," he said. "But we got to this point by our preparation and we know we're going to have to go to work for the next month to show up on the 10th."
TCU, which was sitting in third-place in the BCS standings coming into the weekend and needed an upset to get to the championship game, didn't get it from the Beavers in the 114th Civil War. No. 2 Auburn, meanwhile, crushed South Carolina in the SEC championship, ending the Frogs' hopes.
The Beavers' blitzes got to quarterback Darron Thomas and the Ducks sometimes sputtered, failing to land a knock-out shot until late.
"We understand when it's time to grind it out you've got to grind it out," receiver Jeff Maehl said. "We're not going to have those explosive plays all the time."
The Ducks' longest play of the day came from a linebacker on a fake punt in the third quarter. Michael Clay, the upback, took a snap and burst through the middle of the line, rumbling 64 yards on a fourth down deep in Oregon territory.
That set up a 19-yard touchdown pass off a screen to D.J. Davis that made it 23-7.
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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