9Oregon 32
Purdue 26
Final - 3OT
  for this game

Blount, Oregon complete dramatic comeback against Purdue

Sep 14, 2008 - 2:32 AM WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- While Oregon had Jeremiah Johnson on the field, it was LeGarrette Blount who packed the most punch.

Blount scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime Saturday, helping the 14th-ranked Ducks erase a three-score deficit en route to a dramatic 32-26 victory over Purdue.

Chris Harper took over for starting quarterback Justin Roper, who left in the first OT with an apparent left knee injury, and led the Ducks (3-0) to the go-ahead score, which completed their climb out of a 17-point, second-quarter hole.

"No matter the hole we get ourselves in, we can dig ourselves out of it," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "We are a very explosive team. Our team really gained confidence from this game."

Johnson, who suffered a dislocated right shoulder on the second play of last week's 66-24 win over Utah State, played in this one but was not as effective as Blount, who had 131 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Johnson gained 96 yards on 17 carries.

Blount plowed in for a 3-yard score to cap a remarkable turnaround in the second half for the Ducks, who trailed, 20-3, four seconds into the second quarter on the second TD of the first half from Boilermakers running back Kory Sheets.

"Nobody put their heads down, we got a little momentum at the end of the half with the (interception which set up the field goal)," Ducks kicker Matt Evensen said.

Oregon's comeback almost was for naught as Purdue had a chance to win it in regulation, but Chris Summers missed a 44-yard field goal as time expired. The teams traded field goals in the first OT, with Roper coming out of the game after the Ducks took a 26-23 lead on a 33-yard boot by Evensen to start the extra period.

Summers also missed a 47-yard field goal to start the second OT, allowing Harper - a freshman - to lead Oregon on the game-clinching drive, which included five running plays. Harper dodged several tacklers on his second run of the drive to put the ball on the 3-yard line and set up Blount's powerful plunge.

Jairus Byrd had an 87-yard punt return for a score and Blount added a 5-yard score to tie the game at 20-20 in the third quarter for the Ducks, who had outscored their opponents, 110-34, entering Saturday's game.

"Special teams gave us a lot of momentum and really got us going," Bellotti said. "Byrd's return won the game for us."

Sheets had 177 yards on 29 carries for Purdue (1-1), which saw its crowd engage in an odd mid-game pep rally led by Boilermakers legend Bob Griese, who waived the school's flag from the broadcast booth after Oregon had tied the game.

The Boilermakers, for their part, took some positives out of the crushing loss.

"It should give us a confidence knowing they have the best offense in the nation," Purdue linebacker Joe Holland said. "We did a good job keeping them out of the end zone in the first half."

"For the life of me, I couldn't understand why people talked about their speed," Sheets said. "They didn't respect us. I take that to heart. I'm all about respect. People said we couldn't play with these guys. They thought they were gonna run us off the field."