Oregon Prevails Over Houston In Season Opener, 38-24
Sept. 1, 2005
HOUSTON (AP) - Kellen Clemens threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns, and his 43-yard scramble set up the go-ahead score in Oregon's 38-24 victory over Houston on Thursday night.
With Oregon down 21-20 early in the third quarter, Clemens made his long dash to the 1-yard line, where his backup Dennis Dixon dove in for the TD a play later.
It was a successful debut for Oregon's spread offense, installed in the offseason by new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. It was also step one in the Ducks' quest to bounce back from last year's 5-6 season - their first losing season since 1993.
Clemens was 30-of-47 with no interceptions, and 72 yards rushing. Demetrius Williams had nine receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown and James Finley made 10 catches for 95 yards.
Houston controlled the game early, scoring 21 points in the first quarter, but failed to score again until a field goal with just three seconds remaining.
Oregon scored just one touchdown in the first half but kicker Paul Martinez kept it close by booting three field goals, including a 51-yarder early in the second quarter.
Houston led 21-17 at halftime and the fourth field goal by Martinez early in the third got Oregon to within one point. He finished with five field goals to tie a school record.
Houston's new 3-4 defense looked OK early, forcing the Ducks to a three-and-out on the game's first series. It only went downhill from there as Oregon was able to roll up 554 yards of offense.
Oregon got a first look at heralded running back recruit Jonathan Stewart, a 5-foot-11, 228-pound player who rushed for 7,755 yards in high school.
His first action came early in the second quarter. That series was largely uneventful as he had no carries and often looked confused and missed blocks. He looked better on the second, carrying for two first downs on short yardage situations.
He adjusted to the game by the fourth quarter when he carried about five Houston defenders more than 10 yards at the end of a 33-yard run. Stewart finished with five carries for 47 yards.
Houston's Kevin Kolb threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions. He had several dazzling plays in the first half including a 70-yard touchdown pass and a 62-yard TD to Anthony Alridge on the last play of the first quarter.
The touchdown was sophomore Alridge's first career reception and pushed Kolb's career passing numbers to more than 6,000 yards.