Oregon vs. Houston - First Half Recap

The Oregon football team opened the season against the Houston Cougars on September 1st and quickly came out to an early lead. At the end of the second quarter, the Cougars had battled back to make the score Oregon 20, Houston 17 at halftime.

In front of a raucous crowd at Autzen Stadium for the season opener, the Oregon football team took to the field with heavy goals after a dismal end to the 2006-2007 season. If there was any question why Dennis Dixon is the starter, he had the answer after he scrambled and bolted down field for a 50-yard gain down to the Houston 14-yard line. The very next play put the Ducks on the scoreboard for the first time this season with Dixon hooking up with Brian Paysinger for a 14-yard touchdown pass.

Oregon 7, Houston 0

After a season where Oregon's fate could be determined simply by looking at the number of turnovers committed, Coach Bellotti and the Ducks looked to turn that stat around this year. Early on, the Oregon defense was able to capitalize on a rattled Houston offense to the tune of three turnovers. The first came by way of a Jerome Boyd forced fumble as he was able to knock the ball free from the grasp of Houston RB Anthony Alridge. Jairus Byrd recovered the ball at the Oregon 32-yard line.

The ensuing series for the Cougars had starting QB Blake Joseph dodging a bullet when he fumbled then had the ball carom right back into his arms. Jairus Byrd made a miraculous interception on a Joseph pass, laying out to snag the ball and get the Oregon offense back on the field.

Offensive Coordinator took time on the next series to get the ground game going. Jeremiah Johnson ripped off a few solid first-down runs, as did Jonathan Stewart. The drive stalled when Dixon was sacked back to the Houston 48-yard line.

Will Tukuafu was able to recover a Houston fumble on the following possession after David Faaeteete was able to rip the ball free from Houston RB Anthony Alridge to give the Ducks great field position at the Houston 10-yard line. After successive pre-snap penalties by Houston, Jeremiah Johnson was able to creep into the endzone for a 3-yard score.

Oregon 14, Houston 0

Jerome Boyd was able to put a huge lick on Houston kick returner Teric Williams at the Houston 22-yard line, igniting the crowd at Autzen Stadium. The cheers would quickly turn into boos after a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Houston offense new life. Running back Anthony Alridge was able to take Houston down to the Oregon 1-yard line on a 29-yard run, where RB Terrance Ganaway crashed through the pile into the endzone to put Houston on the board.

Oregon 14, Houston 7

The Ducks would extend their lead in the second quarter when great field position put Matt Evenson in position to knock through a 44-yard field goal.

Oregon 17, Houston 7

Houston marched right back to put the game back in reach, thanks in large part to a 4th-and-1 play that Anthony Alridge was able to bust through the line for a 60-yard touchdown run.

Oregon 17, Houston 14

After a series of quick exchanges, Houston once again scored to knot the game up late in the second quarter on a T.J. Lawrence 43-yard field goal.

Oregon 17, Houston 17

The Ducks would take the lead into the locker room however when Jonathan Stewart brought the kickoff out to the 44-yard line on a great return. Dixon connected with Jaison Williams for a 25-yard run and catch, giving Matt Evenson another opportunity. His attempt was pure once again from 45-yards out.

Oregon 20, Houston 17

Dennis Dixon led the way on the ground in the first half finishing as the leading rusher with 8 carries for 67 yards. Stewart had 8 carries for 33 yards while Jeremiah Johnson was able to carry the rock 6 times for 57 yards. Dixon wasn't as successful through the air however, going just 3 of 8 for 47 yards.

Houston held its own in total offense, outgaining Oregon 288 yards to 191 total yards.

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