EUGENE, Oregon (Ticker) -- The Oregon Ducks were dancing in the rain at Autzen Stadium.
Keenan Howry returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter as No. 5 Oregon kept its slim national championship hopes alive with a 17-14 victory over Oregon State.
The Ducks reached 10 wins in the regular season for the first time in school history and also captured the outright Pac-10 Conference title, avenging a 22-13 lost to Oregon State last year that forced them to share the conference crown with Washington and Oregon.
Even before Saturday's game, the Ducks had clinched the Pac-10's automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series and are assured of at least playing in the Fiesta Bowl.
The 105th edition of the "Civil War" was played in a steady rain that intensified into a deluge in the fourth quarter.
Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) survived a scary finish as Joey Harrington, who threw five interceptions in last year's loss to Oregon State, made a critical mistake by fumbling on third down while the Ducks were trying to run out the clock.
Linebacker James Allen recovered at the Oregon 33 with 1:38 left. But with the Beavers needing just one first down to get into field goal range, Rashad Bauman sealed Oregon State's fate with an interception on third down.
The defenses dominated until Howry fielded a punt at his 24. After getting a block from Ty Tomlin, Howry cut inside, found a hole in the coverage and raced untouched to the end zone to give Oregon a 10-6 lead 24 seconds into the fourth period.
The Ducks were right at home in the elements, taking a 17-6 lead on Maurice Morris' eight-yard TD run with 4:36 remaining. Morris rushed for 102 yards on 15 carries.
Oregon State closed to 17-14 with 2:05 left on Jonathan Smith's 24-yard TD toss to Josh Hawkins and conversion pass to Shawn Kintner.
Harrington was haunted by his poor performance against Oregon State last season and almost cost the Ducks again after an onside kick by Oregon State went out of bounds.
Facing a 3rd-and-9, Harrington scrambled in attempt to kill more time, but defensive end Kyle Rosselle knocked the ball out of his hands and Allen pounced on the fumble.
Harrington hurt his Heisman Trophy chances by completing just 11-of-22 passes for 104 yards, but Baulman bailed him out with his interception.
The loss ended Oregon State's bowl hopes as the Beavers (5-6, 3-5) completed a season of high expectations on a down note. Coming off the first 11-win season in school history, Oregon State began the year with national championship aspirations.
Ken Simonton, a preseason Heisman candidate, rushed for 84 yards on 26 carries. He needed 113 to become the fifth player in NCAA to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons.
Smith completed 20-of-38 passes for 252 yards and an interception.
After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, the Beavers grabbed a 6-3 halftime lead on Ryan Cesca's 28-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the second period.
Oregon increased its lead in the overall series to 53-40-10. The contest was pushed back two weeks to accommodate ABC, which paid paying each school $600,000 to televise it.