Oregon Dismantles Utah St Print
Written by mark   
Saturday, 06 September 2008 18:34
NCAAF Headline News

Roper Returns

Injuries forced No. 18 Oregon to play untested quarterbacks last week. In an easy victory against Utah State, the Ducks gave their backups some work under less stressful conditions.

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Starter Justin Roper returned from a concussion and helped the Ducks to a school-record 688 yards in a 66-24 rout of the Aggies on Saturday. Reserve quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli and Chris Harper also joined in on the fun.

``It felt like high school all over again,'' said Harper, a freshman. ``That's not downgrading Utah State, but we were pushing the gas.''

LeGarrette Blount ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (2-0), taking on the bulk of the rushing duties after Jeremiah Johnson left with a shoulder injury on the Ducks' first series of the game.

Johnson said his shoulder popped out of joint, and once the trainers popped it back, he was ready to go - but they held him out the rest of the game as a precaution.

Roper, who went out with a concussion in last week's victory over Washington and didn't practice with the team until Wednesday, started and completed 13 of 18 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score.

Masoli, a junior college transfer, finished 7-of-11 for 67 yards. Harper was 4-for-6 for 40 yards and a touchdown.

``Our mentality was we don't care who we play, on offense we're going to score every time we get the ball,'' Roper said.

It was much more relaxed than last Saturday's 44-10 victory over the Huskies. Roper had been named the starter just a week earlier when the season's projected No. 1, Nate Costa, was injured and required season-ending knee surgery.

The Ducks' yardage surpassed the 667 they gained against Brigham Young in 1989.

Utah State (0-2), which opened with a 27-17 loss to UNLV, has won just one of 46 games against a ranked opponent. The Aggies have lost all four of their meetings with the Ducks.

Utah State also used a couple of quarterbacks. Sean Setzer, who went to Wilson High School in Portland, started and completed seven of 11 passes for 61 yards.

He was replaced in the second half by sophomore Diondre Borel, who finished 16-of-24 for 157 yards and two TDs.

``It was tough. They're a great team,'' Borel said. ``They played fast, they're aggressive, but it was a lot of fun.''

It didn't start well for Oregon. Johnson, expected to carry the load at running back after Jonathan Stewart went to the pros, went down with a shoulder injury on Oregon's first series of the game.

Johnson, who rushed a career-high 124 yards last weekend against Washington, sat dejectedly on the sidelines, his shoulder wrapped with ice.

``I was trying to get back in. They kept me out because, I don't know. I was pretty upset that they didn't want me back in the game,'' Johnson said. ``But it's better for me in the long run.''

Roper was intercepted on the same series.

But on Oregon's next possession, Andre Crenshaw ran 3 yards for a touchdown. Terence Scott caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Roper to make it 14-0 for the Ducks in the first quarter.

Blount ran 36 yards for another TD, before Borel found Curtis Marsh with a 15-yard scoring pass to make it 21-7.

Blount ran for a 1-yard score and Scott added a 51-yard run within span of about a minute and a half to make it 35-7.

Utah State added a touchdown late in the second quarter when Masoli's fumble in the end zone was recovered by Antonio May.

Matt Evensen kicked a 39-yard field goal to make it 38-14 for Oregon at the half.

Blount was enjoying every minute.

``Right about now I'm on top of the world. I've been thinking about what it's going to be like (to score), and it's lovely,'' he said.

Oregon added three more touchdowns in the third. Roper had an 11-yard keeper and Harper had his own 12-yard keeper before he hit Rory Cavaille with a 3-yard pass that made it 59-14.

``Second quarter and third quarter did us in. I was especially disappointed with our third-quarter play. We couldn't get out of the hole in the third quarter,'' Utah State coach Brent Guy said. ``That's when they dominated us. The third quarter lasted forever.''

Utah State hasn't defeated a Pac-10 school since 1965, when it beat Arizona State 13-0.

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