Saturday, September 29, 2007

Oregonian: Late turnover dooms Ducks

The Oregon Ducks nearly bailed themselves out of two late turnovers, but in the end it was just that -- another turnover -- that doomed the 11th-ranked Ducks in a 31-24 loss to No. 6 California on Saturday.  It was a frustrating fourth quarter for the Ducks.  Quarterback Dennis Dixon threw his first interception of the season, and after Cal took a 31-24 lead, another Dixon pass bounced into the hands of a Cal defender. Oregon's defense held the Golden Bears after that, however, and with 1 minute, 45 seconds to play, Dixon began to drive the Ducks down the field. With 22 seconds left, Dixon had Oregon with a first-and-goal at the Cal 5-yard line. Then, disaster struck.

Dixon found receiver Cameron Colvin on the left sideline. As Colvin headed toward the goal line, he took a hit from Cal's Marcus Ezeff at the 1-yard line that jarred the ball loose. It bounced into the end zone, then out of bounds. A hush fell over the stadium as a replay confirmed Oregon fans' worst fears: The ruling on the field of a Cal touchback stood.

Cal took over with 16 seconds to play, Bears quarterback Nate Longshore took a knee and most of Autzen Stadium tried to figure out what had just happened. It was eerily similar to last season's game against Oklahoma, when a controversial pass interference penalty helped Oregon to a 34-33 victory over the Sooners. This time, the Ducks came away with the loss.


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