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Beavers' backers back from bowl Saturday, December 30, 2006

Members of the Oregon State band and cheer team wait for their luggage at Portland International Airport on Dec. 30, 2006, after a charter flight from El Paso, Texas. On Dec. 29, OSU beat the University of Missouri 39-38 in the Sun Bowl.

Oregon State University's football team finished the season ranked no. 24 in the nation, earning a trip to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 29. The Beavers were matched against the University of Missouri.

By all accounts it was a thrilling game, with the lead changing several times. OSU scored two touchdowns in the last six minutes of the game to erase a 14-point deficit.

After their last major, with just seconds left on the clock, they needed a single point for the tie. Instead of making the sure play, though, they ran the ball into the endzone for a two-point conversion and the win, 39-38.

The players flew back to Eugene, just a short bus ride away from Corvallis. The 179 members of the band and cheer team, however, flew to Portland and chartered a bus back to the university campus.

Many alumni and other Beavers fans also returned to Portland aboard chartered flights today.

Watching the game on television, many friends and relatives of the band members were annoyed that the half-time show was pre-empted for coverage of a memorial service for former President Gerald Ford.

"A one- or two-minute thing would have been alright, but it went on for 15 minutes," said one.

"It was a private service for his family. They should have respected that," added another.

"He can't get any deader," quipped a third.

Band and cheer team members boarded buses in at 6:30 a.m. in El Paso to catch their flight back to Portland.

Beavers fans returning from El Paso wore black and orange to honor their victorious team.