Ducks Get Lucky
LaGarrette Blount ran 3 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No. 16 Oregon a come-from-behind 32-26 win over Purdue on Saturday.
Oregon (3-0) trailed 20-3 early in the second quarter, but tied the game late in the third, and Purdue's Chris Summers missed a 44-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
The Ducks gained 469 yards in regulation, but had four turnovers and scored just one offensive touchdown before overtime against Purdue's bend-but-don't-break defense. Somehow, the Ducks still managed to win the 4-hour game played in near 90-degree heat and humidity.
``I think it's a great test for us,'' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. ``Not just a tough weather game, but with the reality of what we did to ourselves, then we came back from that.''
It was Purdue's 15th consecutive loss against a ranked team.
``We had a lot of big plays early that gave us momentum,'' Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter said. ``Oregon climbed back playing tough, but I think we left a few plays out on the field today.''
Oregon got the ball first in overtime, and quarterback Justin Roper was stopped on a third-and-2 at the Purdue 17. Matt Evensen made a 33-yard field goal to give Oregon its first lead, 26-23. Roper's left knee was injured on the play, and Bellotti said he expects him to miss at least two weeks.
On Purdue's first play of overtime, Painter threw down the sideline for Greg Orton, and Oregon's Walter Thurmond was called for pass interference to give Purdue the ball at the Oregon 10. Summers made a 22-yard field goal to force a second overtime.
Painter fumbled on the first play of the second overtime, but Justin Pierce recovered for the Boilermakers. Summers was forced into a 47-yard field goal try, and he missed wide right to set up Oregon's winning drive.
Blount finished with 12 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and Jeremiah Johnson added 17 carries for 96 yards. Oregon, which entered the game as the national leader in total offense, rushed for 306 yards and gained 503 total.
Kory Sheets ran 29 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns for Purdue (1-1). Painter completed 26 of 50 passes for 207 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Trailing by 14, Oregon got back in the game when Jairus Byrd returned a punt 87 yards to make it 20-13 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
``I just went out there and ran,'' Byrd said. ``I started to get tired. The piano jumped on my back ... but I made it.''
Oregon broke another big play, with Blount rumbling 72 yards up the middle, to get into scoring range. Roper kept on a fourth-and-1 at the Purdue 16 and went 11 yards, and Blount finished the drive with a 5-yard run that tied the score at 20 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
Summers made a 27-yard field goal to give Purdue a 23-20 lead with 7:30 to play, but Evensen answered with a 38-yard field goal to tie the score at 23 with 5:06 left.
Sheets broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game to give the Boilermakers a 7-0 lead. Sheets took a handoff to the right, bounced outside, stiff-armed rover Patrick Chung at the Purdue 40-yard line, and outran the Ducks to the end zone.
Oregon answered quickly. Its no-huddle spread offense moved right down the field, but stalled, and Evensen's 23-yard field goal cut Purdue's lead to 7-3.
Summers came right back with a 29-yard field goal for the Boilermakers to make it 10-3.
Oregon drove into the red zone again before Purdue's Brandon King picked off a pass by Roper and returned it 60 yards to set the Boilermakers up at the Oregon 26. Summers made a 38-yard field goal to increase Purdue's lead to 13-3.
Oregon failed to cover the kickoff, and Purdue's Dan Dierking recovered at the Oregon 22. Sheets scored his second touchdown of the game, a 2-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, to give Purdue a 20-3 lead.
Purdue was looking for more late in the first half when Byrd intercepted a pass by Painter and returned it to the Purdue 41, 39 seconds before halftime. The Ducks settled for a 22-yard field goal by Evensen.
Bellotti had said his team hadn't been challenged in blowout wins over Washington and Utah State. The Ducks got all they wanted from Purdue, starting with Sheets' big run.
``A quick explosion play right off the bat,'' Bellotti said. ``You talk about digging yourself a hole, and there it was, and yet you talk about the defense, who stayed with it time and time again to give us a chance.''
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