No. 5 Oregon Surprised By Stanford, 49-42
Oct 20, 2001
By LANDON HALL
AP Sports Writer
EUGENE, Ore. - Through six games and three quarters, Oregon looked likea very real threat to make good on its goal of playing for the nationalchampionship.
In that pivotal final quarter Saturday against Stanford, though, the Duckscame back to Earth with a spectacular thud.
Kerry Carter bulled his way into the end zone from the 3 with 1:10 left asthe Cardinal beat fifth-ranked Oregon 49-42 in a game that had everything butaliens landing on the Autzen Stadium turf.
'It was all about heart, you know?' said Stanford backup quarterback ChrisLewis, who replaced injured Randy Fasani and guided the Cardinal back from a42-28 fourth-quarter deficit. 'It's such an honor to come into this stadiumand beat a phenomenal team.'
Stanford (4-1, 3-1 Pac-10) outscored Oregon 21-0 in the quarter by turningone of two blocked punts and an interception by Joey Harrington intotouchdowns. But after Carter scored from a yard out with 5:32 to go, the Ducks'Seth McEwen deflected Mike Biselli's extra point with 5:32 left, leaving Oregonwith a 42-41 lead.
All Oregon (6-1, 3-1) had to do was salt away the clock, but on third-and-1from his own 30, Harrington was hit by safety Tank Williams and the ballfloated into the hands of diving defensive end Marcus Hoover at the 33.
'Not my call,' Harrington said of the play. 'Second-guess all you want.... We tried.'
On third-and-goal from the 3, Carter was stopped at the line of scrimmage,but got a push from his line to get into the end zone for his fourth score.
Lewis, who came off the bench last season to help Stanford beat No. 5 Texas27-24, started slowly but completed 12 of 26 passes for 189 yards, twotouchdowns and no interceptions.
|VIDEO: Stanford's Teyo Johnson outjumps the defender, then wrestles the ball away for a TD.|
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'Basically, all I did was get the ball in the hands of my money-makers,'Lewis said. 'It took me the whole game to get my rhythm. The first few series,I felt like a junior high school quarterback.'
Harrington has directed nine fourth-quarter comebacks, but the farthest hecould guide the Ducks in the final seconds was the Stanford 37. He threw fourstraight incompletions, with the final pass sailing out of the end zone as timeexpired.
'I know, `Captain Comeback,'' Williams said of Harrington's moniker. 'Wehad to go out and play our best defense.'
Not only did Stanford stop Oregon's nation-best 23-game home winning streak,it ruined an undefeated record by the Ducks for the eighth time since 1964. TheCardinal kept the Ducks from getting to the Rose Bowl with a 1995 win, but thisone dashed Oregon's dreams of a national title.
'This puts a damper on everything,' said Keenan Howry, who had ninecatches for 152 yards and two touchdowns and also returned a punt 69 yards fora score.
'My goal will always be to win a national championship, and maybe it getspushed back a year now,' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti added. 'I told them, `Youdon't hang your head. We can still control our own destiny in thisconference.''
A sensational duel between Harrington and Fasani ended when Fasani sprainedhis right knee in the second quarter, and the game quickly gave way to anunpredictable battle decided by special teams.
Oregon went ahead 35-21 on Howry's punt return with 7:37 left in the thirdquarter. After Stanford came back with a 28-yard scoring pass from Lewis toTeyo Johnson, the Ducks' Onterrio Smith ran the kickoff back 96 yards to putOregon ahead 42-28.
The Cardinal got new life by blocking the next two punts by Jose Arroyo. Thefirst one, by Alex Smith, produced nothing, as cornerback Rashad Bauman hitStanford tight end Brett Pierce so hard in the end zone he knocked the ballaway on fourth-and-goal from the 7.
Stanford converted Amon Gordon's blocked punt into a touchdown, however,when Lewis hit an open Luke Powell for 24 yards to pull the Cardinal to 42-35with 9:09 to play.
Stanford surprised the Ducks with an onside kick, recovering the ball atOregon's 40. Eight plays later, Carter scored from a yard out to get within apoint.
After the earlier extra point was blocked, Stanford didn't mess around withanother kick on the go-ahead score. Johnson outleaped Bauman for the 2-pointconversion pass for a 49-42 lead.
Harrington was 22-of-41 for 270 yards with three touchdowns and twointerceptions. But he was only 13-of-30 after the first quarter.
'We lost,' he said. 'Doesn't matter how or why who, we lost.'
Both teams put up points and yards at an astonishing rate in the firstquarter, and the game was tied at 14 just 11:34 into the game.
Harrington passed for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the opening periodalone, and his 39-yard pass to a diving Howry gave Oregon a 21-14 lead late inthe quarter.
Stanford responded with a 4-minute scoring drive, but Fasani was injured ona second-and-9 scramble from the Oregon 14. Ducks lineman Zach Freiter drilledFasani at the 9, but the helmet-to-helmet hit hurt both players.
Fasani left with a sprained right knee and spent the rest of the game on thesideline with a large brace on it. He already wears one on his left knee froman old injury. Freiter left with a blow to the head.
Lewis came in and, on fourth-and-1 from the 6, handed off to Carter for thetouchdown to tie the game at 21.
Howry returned five punts for 186 yards, breaking the Pac-10 record of 166set by Washington's Joe Jarzynka in 1988.