No. 2 Ducks Prove Their Mettle Versus No. 3 Colorado, 38-16

Jan 1, 2002


TEMPE, Ariz. - The dazzling Ducks of Oregon made their case for a shareof the national championship - and then some.

Now as far as they're concerned, it's 'Go Nebraska!'

In an impressive end to his college career, Joey Harrington threw for 350yards and four touchdowns as No. 2 Oregon routed No. 3 Colorado 38-16 onTuesday in the Fiesta Bowl.

'We made a statement today,' Harrington said. 'Thirty-eight unansweredpoints and shut down the hottest team in the country. We showed we deserved tobe playing for a share of the national championship.'

Samie Parker caught nine passes for 162 yards, including a perfect 79-yarderfor a touchdown that put Oregon ahead for good in the second quarter, when theDucks outgained the Buffaloes 198 yards to 53.

Oregon's Steve Smith set a Fiesta Bowl record with three interceptions, andthe Ducks' defense - ranked 81st in NCAA Division I - shut down Colorado'srunning game and forced the Buffs to throw.

Maurice Morris ran 49 yards for another Oregon score, landing on top of aColorado defender at the Buffaloes 21. He got back on his feet and ran into theend zone to make it 28-7 early in the third quarter.

The Pac-10 champions had a 500-328 advantage in total yards, 150-49 on theground.

The Ducks now will root for the Cornhuskers in the Rose Bowl on Thursday,hoping they upset top-ranked Miami in the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Especially Harrington.

'You bet I will,' he said. 'I'll be sitting with my family and watchingit closer than anyone else.'

If Nebraska wins, Oregon could be voted the national champion in TheAssociated Press media poll. The coaches' poll automatically crowns the winnerof the BCS game.

Colorado coach Gary Barnett said the Ducks deserve a share of the title ifNebraska beats Miami.

'Oregon played very, very well, with a lot of heart and a lot of speed,'Barnett said. 'If I could vote, I would vote for them.'

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Joey Harrington goes deep over the middle to Sami Parker for a 79-yard touchdown.
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Maurice Morris seems to be tackled, but stays on his feet and scores from 49 yards out.
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A Steve Smith interception leads to an Onterrio Smith score on the shuffle pass from Joey Harrington.
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Oregon's Joey Harrington drops back and slings a 28-yard TD pass to Keenan Howry.
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Joey Harrington rolls right and finds tight end Justin Peelle for a TD deep in Colorado's Red Zone.
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Cortlen Johnson's catch and scamper sets up a Brandon Drumm 1-yard TD plunge for Colorado.
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It was the worst bowl loss ever for the Buffaloes, who rolled into Tempeafter a 62-36 rout of Nebraska and a 39-37 victory over Texas in the Big 12title game.

'Oregon did not get our best shot tonight ... and I don't have anexplanation,' Barnett said.

The quick-striking Ducks (11-1) never had a touchdown drive longer than 2minutes, 38 seconds, and they achieved the first 11-win season in schoolhistory.

The Buffaloes (10-3) took an early 7-0 lead, then watched the Ducks score 38points.

Bobby Pesavento completed just 11 of 27 passes for 139 yards and wasintercepted twice before being relieved by Craig Ochs with 11:52 to play.

Ochs' first pass was deflected and intercepted by Smith to set up Oregon'sfinal touchdown in a victory coach Mike Bellotti called 'the greatest momentin Duck football history.'

Harrington must love Sun Devil Stadium. As a junior, he threw for careerhighs of 434 yards and six touchdowns there in a 56-55 double-overtime victoryover Arizona State.

With his performance on the same field Tuesday, that 100-foot poster ofHarrington in Manhattan to promote his Heisman Trophy candidacy didn't seemoutrageous at all. (He finished fourth in the voting.)

Harrington, who finished 25-3 as a starter in his college career, had 232yards passing and three TD passes in the first half to help the Ducks take a21-7 lead.

Colorado's usually powerful ground game, which gained 380 yards in theNebraska victory, failed to convert on third-and-1 situations on consecutivepossessions in the second quarter.

The first failure was especially costly. After a short punt gave Coloradothe ball at the Oregon 48, Brown ran 8 yards to the 40 on the final play of thefirst quarter.

But he got just 1 yard on the next carry, and no gain on third down.

Oregon took over on its 21, and on the next play Harrington lofted a prettypass that Parker took on his fingertips at the 35 and ran untouched into theend zone to put the Ducks up 14-7 with 13:13 left in the half.

The 79-yard pass play was the longest of Harrington's career and the longestallowed by the Buffaloes in any bowl game. It also tied a Fiesta Bowl recordset by Tee Martin-to-Peerless Price for Tennessee in the national title gameagainst Florida State in 1999.

The Buffaloes, who had won six consecutive bowl games - two of them againstOregon - went 65 yards in 11 plays to take their 7-0 lead. Cortlen Johnson'sone-handed grab on a 33-yard screen pass set up a 1-yard scoring run byfullback Brandon Drumm, the first touchdown of his career.

Oregon responded with a seven-play, 81-yard scoring drive capped byHarrington's pass over the middle to wide-open Keenan Howry.

On his long touchdown run, Morris was pinned on the sideline at the Colorado21, but he slipped on his back over the top of Colorado linebacker JoeyJohnson, then landed on his feet and kept running for the score.

It was that kind of day for the Buffaloes.

Trailing 28-7, Colorado appeared to score when a scrambling Pesavento passedto wide-open Derek McCoy. But it was called back because the quarterback wasruled to be across the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball. Replays showedhe was barely over the line, if at all.

AP Sports Writer

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