Cold, Flat and 4-1

Oregon was rated No. 10 and had not thrown an interception for the season. That is until they played the Washington State Cougars on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Despite a loud vocal crowd, the Ducks managed to give away five interceptions in the first half alone, along with two fumbles and two blocked punts. Trailing 38-2 at halftime, even the five-minute horn alerting Duck fans tailgating of the start of the second half failed to work.

It was just as well, the Ducks did little to change the outcome of the game in the second half by giving up a total of nine turnovers and lost 55-16. The 55 points are the most Oregon has ever allowed in a home game.

The ball seemed to take a bounce toward the No. 21 Cougars' way on every play.

To be sure, Oregon had its chances. Even in the first half, in a game that Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti described as the poorest played by any team he has ever coached, the Ducks had their chances. To illustrate just how badly things went for the Ducks, down 17-2 Jason Fife hit a wide-open Samie Parker in the end zone, but Parker dropped the sure score. To make matters worse Parker said something to the Washington State defender Jason David. A personal foul penalty flag was thrown. So instead of a touchdown and cutting the score to possibly 17-10, the Ducks found themselves back on the WSU 40-yardline. The next play Fife threw one of his three interceptions. The Ducks were unraveling. Parker had let a taunt by David cause him to react and be penalized, but it may have done more than that.

"Getting into his (Parker) head early kind of helped us out," said David.

No game though can hinge on one play. In the series prior to Parker's dropped pass, Demitrius William had a huge gain of 47 yards, only to fumble the ball over to the Cougars. The Cougars capitalized and scored on the turnover. In fact they Cougars scored after taking the ball away from the Ducks eight times. The Washington State defenders continually found ways of tipping the ball up into the air and coming down with an interception. Parker finished the day catching four passes for 58 yards and no touchdowns.

"Hopefully, we never have another game where we commit nine turnovers, where we get two punts blocked," said Bellotti. "The reason it was turned over was the ball was tipped up in the air and they come up with it."

How could a team go from the cover of Sports Illustrated and the darling of college football to the laughingstock of the northwest in one week? Good question and not many in the Oregon locker room had a very good answer except for Parker.

"We were still thinking about the Michigan game, and I really don't think we were real fired up," commented Parker. "Everyone is usually fired up in the locker room, but we were real quiet today."

Bellotti would like to take this game an shove it. Right into the nearest garbage can and forget it. Bellotti told his team after the disaster to put the game behind them and start preparing for Utah next week.

"We probably won't watch it, we'll flush it, and we'll move on," said Bellotti. "It's still about the Ducks right now."

Statistically, minus the turnovers and score, the game wasn't all that bad for Oregon. Williams had a career-high nine catches for 175 yards and one touchdown. This was his third consecutive game to have 100-yard receiving games. However, the catches may have been a silver lining as William also was slowed with a possible knee injury. His status for next week will be determined later this week.

Kellen Clemens and Fife hadn't given up an interception in the previous four games, but today they gave up seven -- four interceptions for Clemens and three for Fife. The offensive line had a Pac-10 Player of the Week but this week the Oregon front five had trouble keeping the Cougar defenders from getting close enough to tip the Oregon quarterback passes into the air. The Oregon quarterbacks were also sacked four times.

Defensively, the Ducks did hold the Cougars to 84 yards net rushing. Cougar quarterback Matt Kegal was 13-of-33 for 242 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked once. Running back Jonathan Smith had one completion on the halfback pass good for 31 yards. Kegal's back up, Josh Swogger coming in for mop-up duty was 1-for-1, a 42-yard gain. However Swogger was sacked once and perhaps if there are positive plays for the Oregon defense to review, that will be one of them.

Washington State enjoyed one its greatest victory Saturday. They gave up no interceptions and despite fumbling several times on the exchange between the center and Kegal, turnovers were really no issue for them. They ran, passed, caught and scored. They found themselves in great field position all game long and they scored as many points as they possibly could.

"I thought that probably the first touchdown in the second half kind of put them away," said Washington State Headman Bill Doba.

That might be a pretty generous call on Duba's part. The Ducks were done early in the game.

All things considered, Bellotti summed up the game that could well be the most embarrassing in Oregon's history.

"Washington State came to play and we struggled in the first half and the rest of the game," observed Bellotti. "I give all the credit to them."

The Ducks will have a short week to reconcile the difference of being on top of the world one week and in the dumps the next. They play Utah on Friday night in Salt Lake City.

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