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  Running back Ken Simonton led the Beavers' rushing attack with 85 yards and a touchdown. AP

Oregon St. overwhelms

Beavers stuff Notre Dame in Fiesta rout

If Notre Dame had an argument for its inclusion in the BCS that didn't involve mystique or TV ratings, the Irish didn't show it Monday night. Facing an Oregon State team determined to prove it belongs with the nation's elite, the Irish collapsed in a 41-9 loss. It was quite a statement for Dennis Erickson's Beavers, who hounded the Irish throughout the game, not allowing a touchdown until mop-up time in the fourth quarter.

FIESTA BOWL HEADLINES
Dec 31 Oregon State not intimidated by Notre Dame mystique
Dec 30 Oregon State, Notre Dame meet in unexpected Fiesta
Dec 26 Notre Dame arrives for Fiesta, 4 days later than foe
Dec 23 Beavers find sunny weather in warm-up for Fiesta Bowl
Dec 22 Animated Playbooks: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Oregon State Beavers
Dec 21 Inside the Pac-10: Cardinal cram for Duke
Dec 20 Inside the Pac-10: Questionable choices
Dec 20 Irish TE Holloway out with knee tear

Notre Dame   Oregon St.
 
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Record: 9-2
Coach:
Bob Davie (fourth season, 30-18)
Key players:
QB Matt LoVecchio (151.7 efficiency), RB Julius Jones (1,169 all-purpose yards), WR Joey Getherall (804 all-purpose yards), LB Anthony Denman (84 tackles, 14 for loss)
Season summary:
Despite overwhelming pressure coming into the season and the loss of QB Arnaz Battle after just two games, the Irish survived a brutal early schedule and hasn't lost since Sept. 23. The key has been the ability of true freshman LoVecchio -- at the helm for all seven wins -- to pick up ND's option attack. The Irish also have a great pair of runners in Tony Fisher and Jones, the latter of whom plays a big role in ND's high-impact special teams units.
 
 
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Record: 10-1, 7-1 Pac-10
Coach:
Dennis Erickson (second season, 17-6; 130-46-1 overall)
Key players:
RB Ken Simonton (1,474 yards, 18 TDs), QB Jonathan Smith (17 TDs, 7 INTs, DE LaDairis Jackson (10 sacks), CB Dennis Weathersby (13 passes defended)
Season summary:
Last year Erickson took the Beavers to their first bowl game in 36 years. His encore? OSU's first-ever 10-win season. The star of the team is Simonton, a 1,000-yard rusher three years running, but he's not everything. Smith is a reliable passer with a great target in Chad Johnson, and OSU's defense capped a terrific season (18.5 points allowed per game) by shutting down rival Oregon's passing game. The only concern is the Beavers have yet to be tested outside the Pac-10.
 

   
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