I can officially say, “I was there.”
After caravaning down from Portland with the green and yellow army, repeatedly playing CW McCall’s “Convoy” and proclaiming myself “Rubber Duck,” and some poor hapless schmuck in a teal Montero, “Pig Pen,” I arrived at (cue needless histrionics) the cradle of Oregon Gridiron, Autzen Stadium.
One pulled pork sandwhich later, sitting in serendipity in the season ticket section, I was awestruck at my luck in finding someone willing to sell me 40 yd line tickets for face value without my manhood being compromised.
My last trip to Autzen was the 56-14 emasculation of Oregon State at the Fog Bowl of 05, the adrenaline from which was just ebbing. I was feeling good, but cautious. I have known Oregon from before the flashy uniforms and high expectations. I know exactly what can go wrong.
This first quarter was good. Dixon, who needs some off-field transgressions before he can replace my man Akili, started with his usual mistake. I can’t remember if it was a failed shuffle pass, a near interception, or a dropped ball. Doesn’t matter. This season’s simple rule – ignore the opening play. After that, the Ducks looked scary good – very efficient with a well protected QB.
This was particularly sweet as the arrogance from the Oklahoma players was palpable. At one point it became visible as #5 began taunting the crowd, motioning for them to cheer louder. I never noticed him playing. He is listed as a DB, so that would make him partly responsible for the 343 passing yards the Sooners gave up. Obviously, flailing his arms around is his key talent.
Then it kind of went to sh*t…
Neither team was particularly impressive. Oregon clearly went off the boil and Oklahoma didn’t seem to fare much better. Adrian Peterson did very well in those quarters, but that is not the same as Oklahoma doing well. Oregon managed some awful turnovers, and the Sooners pounced. A team with fewer attempted passes and fewer yards eventually took the lead. That’s what happens. That’s why you have to be “clutch.”
Of note was the last-second field goal scored by Paul Martinez that bounced over the post just as the half came to a close. That was key.
Time elapsed and all hell broke loose. Dixon threw an interception in, I think, the 5th minute and this was followed by a Sooner field goal. The less patient started to stream out, while the masochists stayed behind. No matter what, I have seen worse from Oregon. Old Timers in the crowd have seen much worse having been witness to 1983’s “Toilet Bowl,” a game in which Oregon and Oregon State battled out a 0-0 draw. Being down 13 to Oklahoma was nothing.
The stalwarts remained. The dodgy looking locals with “Ted Bundy was a Husky” t-shirts on regardless of the fact that we weren’t playing UDub. (It is afterall, as much a statement of empirical fact as it is a partisan proclamation.) The aforementioned old timers with faded Rose Bowl sweatshirts from ’95 and faint memories of the ’58 Rose Bowl. Then there were the masochists like me.
Here is where it gets fuzzy. Whenever one’s team is down, the improbable is always offered up as possible. “See, all they have to do is score a TD, make a successful onside kick, score another TD and do it in a minute and a half.” You never actually believe it will happen.
One thing lead to another and all of a sudden Dixon is making an impressive run into the end zone after his passing lanes were closed. Then all hell really broke loose.
The onside kick…
I couldn’t make out the melee that ensued and the jumbotron was of little aid. Additionally, I was too busy jumping up and down and calling for Paul Martinez to run it in. Either way, we were awarded possession and were gleefully unaware of the future controversy. All I know is it took an inordinately long time to review. Apparently the guy only had one angle to go by.
We drove down the field and were awarded a dodgy pass interference call. Looked bogus, but you take it if it is to your benefit, that’s college football. We score and I officially lost it. From 13 down to 1 up – Autzen exploded.
Oregon kicks off and instead of kicking deep, pull an obnoxious squib kick followed by atrocious tackling that allows Oklahoma to get to the Oregon 27. Despite the questionable kick and disappointing special teams performance, Oregon stood firm as Oklahoma ran the clock down to 2 seconds getting ready to kick.
They missed and all hell seriously broke loose. High Fives, hugs and shirtless buffoons rushing the field. Classic college football. Oklahoma’s #5 was no longer taunting us.
One can go back and forth on the quality of the officiating, but I find that pointless. It was bad and that’s life. The refs didn’t carry Dixon into the endzone or score the follow-up touchdown. They most certainly did not block Oklahoma’s field goal. Oklahoma were handed an opportunity to win the game on the Oregon 27 yd line with forty seconds left. They choked. Winning despite bad calls is class and clutch. Whining because you can’t overcome bad calls is weak and simply the result of not being clutch. The game was Oklahoma’s to lose at that point and they did just that.
I have read some opinions about Karma returning to bite Oregon. Anyone with any knowledge of Oregon Football history will know that this is no more than Karma returning a few favors for decades of misery. As to Oklahoma, if you believe in Karma, you might say they have some debts to repay. Luckily, it was my team who cashed in.
Filed under: 2006 Season Opposition, East Coast Bias, Oregon Football, Pac-10, WTF? | 1 Comment »