Sept. 2, 2007
EUGENE, Ore. - Senior running back Anthony Alridge rushed for 205 yards and added another 88 yards in receiving, but it would not be quite enough as Oregon took a 48-27 win Saturday afternoon over the University of Houston football team during the season opener for both teams at Autzen Stadium.
Alridge, who became only the fifth player to rush for at least 200 yards in multiple games in UH history, finished with 325 all-purpose yards after adding a 32-yard kickoff return earlier in the game. His all-purpose yardage was the fourth highest in school history and the third most in C-USA history.
The Denton native became the first player to record a rushing and a receiving touchdown in the same game since Ryan Gilbert accomplished the feat at Tulane during the 2005 season.
Alridge was only part of a Cougar offense that racked up 545 yards of total offense, including 315 yards on the ground.
The Ducks took advantage of an errant Cougar pass in the end zone and a blocked punt late in the third quarter to break a 20-20 tie and grab the lead for good.
With the score tied at 20-20 midway through the third quarter, the Cougars appeared to seize the momentum, marching 56 yards on 11 plays to the Oregon 10. But Patrick Chung stepped in front of a Case Keenum pass in the end zone to end the Cougar drive.
The Duck offense proceeded to march down the field and grabbed a 27-20 lead when Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon hit Brian Paysinger on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 3:30 remaining in the period.
On the ensuing drive, the Cougars failed to record a first down and were forced to punt. Oregon's Malachi Lewis burst through through the Cougar offensive front and blocked the punt that was recovered by the Ducks' Patrick Chung at the Houston 6.
Dixon hit Jaison Williams in the end zone on the Ducks' next offensive play for a 34-20 lead with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cougars wasted little time, though, in pulling to within seven points. Facing 1st-and-20 from their own 14-yard line, UH quarterback Case Keenum hit Alridge on a screen pass, who made his way through the defense and raced 86 yards down the sideline at the 1:38 mark of the third quarter to pull to within 34-27.
Oregon took advantage of another big play on its next offensive possession to take control of the game. After a touchback, Dixon raced up the middle through the Cougar defense for an 80-yard touchdown run and a 41-27 Oregon lead.
The Ducks added a 3-yard touchdown from Jeremiah Johnson early in the fourth quarter for the final margin of victory.
Keenum came off the bench to throw for 179 yards on 14-of-27 passing with a touchdown during his first collegiate appearance. Sophomore Blake Joseph made his first start under center and added 51 yards on 8-of-12 passing.
Dixon finished with 134 yards and a pair of touchdown on 9-of-15 passing and added 141 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the winning effort.
The Cougars will enjoy their bye weekend and won't return to action until 6 p.m., Sept. 15 when they open their Conference USA slate at Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome.
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, Ted Pardee providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sideline. The pregame show is slated to begin one hour before kickoff.