Rich Kolbell

Ducks sputtered for most of the game but did charge back in the second half

When the Oregon Ducks took to the field in the 1st half of their Pac12 opener against the Colorado Buffaloes, they didn’t seem like a team who was prepared to play at all.Both the offense and defense looked out of place and had a hard time getting any kind of rhythm going.

(Story by videographer Garrett Hil, Photo by Rich Kolbelll)

Colorado was in total control for the whole first half outscoring the Ducks 26-17, with the Buffaloes collecting 351 total yards of offense, 217 yards through the air and 134 on the ground just in the first half. The Ducks on the other hand ended up with only 218 yards of total offense, 92 yards through the air and 126 yards rushing.

 Concerns about the Oregon defense were proven once again as the defensive line kept getting gouged up the middle for big plays by Colorado freshman QB Steven Montez, whose longest run for the day was 32 yards. Montez led CU with 135 rushing yards and one TD while throwing for 333 yards with three passing touchdowns and two interceptions.

 At the start of the third quarter, the Buffs got out to a fast start with 48 yard TD pass from Montez to Devin Ross putting the Buffaloes up 33-17 at the 12:59 mark.

 After falling behind 33-17 early in the third, the Ducks defense showed a little composer by forcing a couple two turnovers and two punts on the next four CU possessions.

 With the defense starting to hold their own, the offense showed a little glimpse of the up-tempo speed. Tony Brook-James and Kani Benoit, each with rushing touchdowns, put the Ducks to within two points of Colorado, 33-31.

 Defensive Back Troy Dye got a huge interception deep in the Buffaloes territory giving the ball back to Prukop and the Ducks. Then 21seconds later, Prukop was able to connect with Darren Carrington for his second touchdown of the game, giving Oregon a 38-33 advantage the end of the third quarter.

 Midway through the fourth quarter Colorado drove 70 yards down the field to reclaim the lead 39-38 following a 31-yard TD pass from Montez to Bryce Bobo. After a successful 2-point conversion the

Buffaloes lead was three, 41-38.

 On the Ducks last attempt to avoid an upset at home, Prukop and the Ducks started their last drive from their own 42-yard line with 2:57 left on the clock.

 Prukop hit Kani Benoit for a 10-yard gain and on the following play; Benoit drove 4-yards to the Colorado 44. Prukop followed that up by rushing for 10 yards to the Colorado 34, but then threw and incompletion to Charles Nelson. On third-and-10 at the 33, disaster struck as Prukop was sacked back at the Colorado 41 bringing up third-and-16.

 Fortunately for Oregon, a pass interference call was flagged on the Buffs when Darren Carrington was interfered with catching a Prukop pass and the resulting 15-yard penalty gave the Ducks and an automatic first down at the Colorado 26.  The Ducks called timeout with 1:43 on the game clock and when play resumed Prukop hit Dwayne Stanford for a 16-yard gain and Oregon had the ball, first-and-goal at the Colorado 7-yardline, with pandemonium breaking out from the fans in the stands.

 But it was not meant to be for Oregon as Prukop was picked off by Ahkello Witherspoon in the endzone, extinguishing any hopes for the Ducks.

 Colorado ran out the clock on with its remaining possession and the game was over.

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