Dixon, Ducks Run Past Houston in Season Opener
Sept. 1, 2007
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Quarterback Dennis Dixon ran for 141 yards, including an 80-yard scoring dash, to lead Oregon a 48-27 victory over Houston on Saturday.
Dixon also completed nine of 15 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (1-0) in a wild game that included three touchdowns in less than a minute.
Anthony Alridge had 22 carries for 205 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars (0-1). Alridge also caught three passes for 88 yards and a score.
Dixon's rushing yards were the most for an Oregon quarterback since Tony Graziani ran 108 yards against Oregon State in 1995.
With the score knotted at 20, the Cougars appeared to be on the verge of taking the lead, but Case Keenum's pass into the end zone for Perry McDaniel was intercepted by Oregon's Patrick Chung.
The Ducks, who ended last season with four straight losses, then went ahead when Dixon found Brian Paysinger with a 24-yard pass. Forty seconds later, they added another with Dixon's 6-yard pass to Jaison Williams.
The Cougars answered with Keenum's screen pass to Alridge, who ran 86 yards for the touchdown.
Not to be outdone, Dixon ran a keeper 80 yards for a touchdown on the very next play. That made it 41-27 for Oregon. There were three TDs in the space of 58 seconds, and four in a frame of 1:38.
On Oregon's opening series of the game, Dixon took off with a 50-yard run. Paysinger scored for the Ducks on a 14-yard run to make it 7-0.
Following Alridge's fumble at the Houston 20, Jeremiah Johnson scored on a 3-yard run to make it 14-0 for the Ducks.
Houston, the defending Conference USA champions, started sophomore quarterback Blake Joseph, but he was unable to get anything going. Coach Art Briles did not name a starter in the week prior to the game.
The Cougars turned to Keenum, a redshirt freshman who was able to lead a scoring drive that ended on freshman Terrance Ganaway's first college TD on a 1-yard.
After Matt Evensen's 44-yard field goal made it 17-7 for Oregon, Alridge took off on a 60-yard scoring run for the Cougars, narrowing it to 17-14 midway through the second quarter.
Houston tied it on T.J. Lawrence's 43-yard field goal, but Evensen made a 45-yarder just before halftime to put the Ducks back in front.
Lawrence's 32-yard field goal to start the second half tied it again.
Johnson added another 3-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter.
Keenum completed 14 of 27 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
Run defense was a concern after Oregon ranked 78th in the country last year, and the defense appeared to have plenty of trouble with Alridge. His 86-yard TD reception was a career long.
Next week the Ducks visit No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines were upset 34-32 by Appalachian State on Saturday.
There was a huge cheer at Autzen when the public address announcer gave fans the score of that game.