For the love of the game

The Oregon Ducks picked up where they left off at Pullman last week by controlling the ball, using a mixture of rushing and passing, utilizing a dominate defense and beat the Arizona Wildcats 28-14 in front of 58,237 passionate fans, the 34th consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium. And the passion was obvious in the team as well.

Oregon's Terrence Whitehead soars over several Arizona players for a touchdown during the first quarter Saturday, Oct. 16, 2004 at Autzen Stadium, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"Every win is a great win," said Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "We didn't finish as strong as we'd like, we were up twenty eight to nothing, and that probably should have been at least two more touchdowns."

Kellen Clemens was on fire, completing 21-of-30 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown, the second straight game of over 300 yards passing. His primary target, Demetrius Williams collected nine receptions for 153 yards, the second straight 100-yard receiving game. The Ducks dominated the offensive statistics with 492 yards (156 yards rushing, 336 yards passing) compared to the Wildcats' 266 yards (110 yards rushing and 156 yards passing) . Oregon controlled the time of possession (32:20 to 27:40) first downs (21 to 16) and third-down conversions (7-of-14 to 4-of-15).

"They out-executed us all day. They moved the ball and their receivers and backs really came alive," said Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops. "We didn't play nearly good enough defense, but I credit the Oregon coaches. Their offense is really hitting stride, and they're going to move the ball on a lot of people."

Oregon started off hot after receiving the opening kick off. Clemens directed the opening drive to a score with an 86 yard drive culminating with Terrence Whitehead diving into the end zone. The drive lasted 12 plays taking just over five minutes off the clock in the first quarter. The drive was impressive with Clemens going 5-for-5 passing and 66 yards. Oregon scored again in the second quarter finding the best field position of the year with 10 minutes left in the second quarter at the Arizona 37. Whitehead scored his second rushing touchdown of the day with a 2-yard run off the right tackle. Eight plays, 37 yards, in just over three minutes. Whitehead scored his third touchdown of the afternoon with 12:10 left in the third quarter. The drive started after Justin Phinisee returned a punt into the end zone, only to have the scored called off because of a clip. The ball was placed on the Arizona 22-yard line and the Ducks made quick work of the drive. The final touchdown was in the fourth quarter when Clemens hit fullback Dante with a five-yard pass ending an eight play, 58-yard drive. Seven receivers recorded a catch. Along with Williams, Tim Day had four catches for 85 yards. Rosario also had three catches for 19 yards including the touchdown grab. Marcus Maxwell had two catches for 50 yards. Keith Allen caught one for 13 yards. Kenny Washington had one catch of 10 yards and Whitehead had one for six yards. Clemens extended his streak of 170 passing attempts without an interception.

"Kellen's comfort zone in the pocket today and his touch on the ball was excellent today and he gave guys a chance to catch the ball," remarked Bellotti. "He was very sharp today as a total package."

Whitehead was the leading rusher with 15 carries for 74 yards and three touchdowns. Clemens proved to be elusive again gaining 17 yards on 12 carries. Chris Vincent added two carries for 12 yards. Rosario packed the ball three times for nine yards and Kenny Washington had three carries for six yards. Williams was also credit with one rush on a lateral for six yards.

Defensively, Haloti Ngata and the Oregon defense came alive particularly in the second half and dominated the Arizona offense. Arizona running game was shut down, as the Ducks continually were able to go sideline-to-sideline chasing down running backs. In the third quarter, the Wildcats were only able to rush for 10 yards and that sealed their fate.

"Haloti is like Igor (Olshansky) last year," commented Bellotti. "He's a big man, very strong and he's going to wear on people as the game goes on."

Ngata was the leading tackler with eight tackles, three for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries. Jerry Matson had six tackles (one for loss) two break ups and one quarterback hurry. J.D. Nelson also had six tackles and one quarterback hurry.

While the Wildcats were unable to do much offensively in the second half, they did have opportunities in the first half. Oregon's first test on defense was on their own 2-yard line when they stopped Arizona on a fourth-and-one. The Duck defense was tested for the second time in the half and again the green defenders turned the Wildcats away when Aaron Gipson recorded his second interception of the day. Arizona also missed out on a score when Wilrey Fontenot appeared to recover a fumble on Arizona's 5-yard line and ran it back for a 95-yard fumble recovery. However, the play was ruled dead because his knee was on the ground when he picked up the ball. Stoops, however disagreed with the call.

"They never blew the ball dead," claimed Stoops. "You can't call that back and decide it was a dead ball when you never indicated so."

Freshman cornerback Jackie Bates intercepted his first pass in the fourth quarter.

Special teams had better moments this afternoon including the near touchdown by Phinisee. Punter David Dittman four times with a 45.0 yard average with three of those punts going inside the visitor's 20-yard line.

The penalty bug still lingered today as the Ducks were flagged 11 penalties for 114 yards while Arizona had four flags dropped on them for 25 yards.

Arizona quarterback Kris Heavner was 9-for-24 and 79 yards. His back up, Richard Kovalcheck came into the game in the fourth quarter and was 5-of-10 for 77 yards and a touchdown. Mike Bell led the Arizona rushers with 65 yards on 16 carries. Stoops indicated he was impressed with Kovelcheck.

"Richard came I and did some nice things in the fourth quarter," said Stoops. "I was impressed with the way he threw the football. We've had an inability to throw the football consistently throughout the year…We just gave him a chance. We weren't moving the football with Kris (Heavner), and we haven't moved the ball consistently at times this year. We need to upgrade our ability to throw the ball. We've had guys open, but we just haven't gotten them the ball. So, again, we just changed things up, and gave Richard a chance to see what he could do."

While the Ducks continued to be as Bellotti described, "a work-in-progress," something more was apparent after the game. It was the passion of the players toward the game. Talking after the game in the media room, Clemens related that Bellotti had reminded the team of why they were doing what they were doing – playing football because of their passion for the sport.

"I just love football," said Clemens.

Arizona proved to be a much tougher opponent than the team the Ducks saw last year in Tempe. Arizona is better coached, better prepared and never gave up as evidenced by the last two scores they made in the closing seconds of the game. The Ducks though were never in danger of losing this game and more importantly with the success of winning are sure to keep their love and passion for football alive.

Oregon (3-3, 2-1 Pac-10) will travel to Stanford next week to take on the Cardinal.

Notes:

Bellotti reported no injuries. With his 74-yard effort, Whitehead moved into the UO top 10 rushers. Whitehead's three touchdowns in one game was the first such effort since Onterrio Smith rushed for three against Arizona State in 2002.

Devan Long had one sack today and became the No. 7 all-time career sack specialist at Oregon.

Oregon and Arizona met for the 30th time on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks are 18-12 in the all-time series and have won 10 of the last 11 meetings. Mike Bellotti is 8-1 against the Wildcats.

Arizona is now 1-5 for the season and 0-3 Pac-10.

Official Stats from www.goducks.com.

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