Oregon takes down Houston, 48-27

After a closely contested first half, the Oregon Ducks were able to pull away in the second half of the season opener to come away with the victory. The final score: Oregon 48, Houston 27.

For much of the game, Houston stuck right with the Oregon Ducks until a second half outburst put the game out of reach. There are several areas of concern that head coach Mike Bellotti will look into and address in the coming week with Michigan on tap next.

The story of the day for Houston was running back Anthony Alridge. He single handedly kept the Cougars in the game with numerous runs to the tune of 207 yards on 23 carries. Alridge led the Cougars down the field on the first possession of the second half, making way for a T.J. Lawrence 32-yard field goal to deadlock the game again.

Oregon 20, Houston 20

Houston threatened to take the lead early in the second half on their very next possession, driving all the way down to the Oregon 10-yard line. Quarterback Case Keenum's pass was grabbed mid-air by a diving Patrick Chung for an interception and a touchback.

The Ducks would take that momentum and drive down the field for a score to reclaim the lead. Dennis Dixon was able to locate a wide open Brian Paysinger for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

Oregon 27, Houston 20

The Oregon defense put a strangle hold on the Cougar offense the ensuing possession, forcing Houston to punt deep in their own territory. Patrick Chung came up with another huge play, this time on special teams, blocking the punt which true freshman Malachi Lewis was able to pounce on. With a short field, the drive took only one play to get into the endzone as Dixon connected with Jaison Williams from 6 yards out for the touchdown.

Oregon 34, Houston 20

At this juncture, something clicked for Houston as well with one quick play. Case Keenum hit Anthony Alridge in the flats and with one broken tackle, Alridge was off to the races for an 86-yard scamper.

Oregon 34, Houston 27

The Ducks came right back with firepower of their own. Houston head coach Art Briles had it right when he said postgame, "Dennis was good enough to help them win today." Dennis Dixon took an option keeper on the very first play of the next drive and showed his blazing speed on an 80-yard touchdown run. Dixon was not nearly as effective with his arm but did just enough with a few explosion plays to get the Oregon offense up and down the field and on the scoreboard. This play put the game out of reach as the Ducks put it in cruise control going into the fourth quarter.

Oregon 41, Houston 27

Brian Paysinger extended another Oregon drive early in the fourth quarter with a great run and catch, breaking a handful of tackles to pick up 17 yards on 3rd-and-16. On the legs of Jonathan Stewart, they marched down the field with Jeremiah Johnson taking it in for a 2-yard score.

FINAL SCORE: Oregon 48, Houston 27

After a closely contested first half, Oregon came out in the third quarter with several big plays en route to a 21-point victory. Head coach Mike Bellotti will have several aspects of the game to work on as he prepares his team for next week's showdown with Michigan who dropped their season opener to Appalachian State earlier today, 34-32 at home. On the game, head coach Mike Bellotti felt that his team did some good things and some bad things, "I'm proud of the way our team played today. It wasn't perfect, but we have a lot to take in terms of learning from this game. Our defense saved itself a few times in the red zone, which is tremendously important for their confidence."

-Dennis Dixon was the leading rusher for the Ducks with two big explosion plays that boosted his stats to a tune of 15 carries for 141 yards on the ground. Dixon also completed 9 of 15 passes for 132 yards.

-Jonathan Stewart had 14 carries for 65 yards while Jeremiah Johnson added 11 for 68 yards.

-Brian Paysinger was the leading receiver with 4 grabs for 62 yards and a touchdown.

-Oregon won the turnover battle with 4 takeaways and none given up.

-Total Yards: Houston 538, Oregon 468

The Oregon football team travels to Ann Arbor for a bout with Michigan in the Big House this coming weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30ET and will be carried live on ABC.

Oregon vs. Houston - First Half Recap

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