It's a bird, a plane, no it's Superducks

West Lafayette, Ind. -- The Oregon Ducks relied on two players from the 2008 recruiting class to seal the third win of the season. The No. 16 Oregon Ducks roared back in the second half to put the game into overtime and held on until taking possession in the second overtime to post a 32-26 win over the Purdue Boilermakers.

"We dug ourselves a deep hole and we continued to make some mistakes that could have cost us the football game," said Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti of his team's effort. "Despite all that we continued to believe and rally and fight."

The Ducks dug a big hole in the first half by fumbling, throwing interceptions, missing tackles, causing penalties and generally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Looking at a 20-6 deficit at the intermission, Oregon, particularly the offense needed to calm itself down, not look to end the game on one play and make steady gain. In the second half they did that – sort of, but when Jairus Byrd returned an 87-yard touchdown punt return, thing started to look up. The special teams score cut Purdue's lead to 20-13 an Oregon knew it had a shot.

"Fortunately we got a chance to get it close and our kids kept believing," said Kelly of how the team turn the effort up a notch after Byrd's punt return. "We feel we are a team that is in great condition and when the game comes to the fourth quarter, we're going to win."

The offense still continued to sputter a bit but when LeGarrette Blount got the ball on a handoff from Justin Roper just when Purdue was blitzing in, the big back head right straight up the field for a 72-yard gain. Roper added an 11-yard rush and Blount then took the ball in for the first of his two touchdowns to tie the game at 20 after the point after conversion.

"It was awesome," said Blount of the Ducks' second half. "It wasn't much of a pep talk in the lockerroom. Coach Kelly came in, really excited telling us we're down 20-6 and we had made a lot of mistakes in the first half, but like always we came through in the second half and prevailed."

Kelly didn't think he had put much fire in his address to the offense at halftime. In fact he's yelled louder and more on other occasions.

"I was kind of calm at halftime," said Kelly. "I just told them that it is amazing that we can be down 20-6 with as many mistakes that we have. That's a credit to just how good of a football team we can be."

"Kelly thought at times players were trying to make spectacular plays in stead of ensuring a catch or run that would ended up in positive yardage. Once the players settled for the workman like play, things started going the Ducks way."

Perhaps the Ducks read too many glowing things that were said about them last week including some Purdue Coach Joe Tiller, who mentioned how concerned he was with Oregon's team speed. The wily old Purdue coach may have had some tricks up his sleeve because for the most part his Boilermakers looked very good.

"Obviously disappointing," describe Tiller of the game. "We had a chance in regulation with the kick to win it, and also in the first overtimewith a first and goal on the tem. But stats show that 90 percent of the time you don't win if you take a negative play."

Running back Kory Sheets was the game's leading rusher with 183 yards on 29 carries and scored a touchdown. The effort is a career high for Sheets. Quarterback Curtis Painter looked very poised throwing for 207 yards on a 26-for-50 performance. He was picked off twice which ironically were the first interceptions by the Oregon secondary this year.

Bellotti thinks that the Oregon defense played well throughout most of the contest and in the future that type of effort has to be matched by the offense.

"I thought our defense played really well for the most part all game long," observed Bellotti. "We just got to catch the ball better and can't turn the ball over. Despite the yards we were not as good as we needed to be offensively today."

Oregon finished the day with a total of 503 yards, 306 rushing and 197 passing. Blount led all Oregon runners with 132 net yards on 12 carries but no carry was bigger than the last one.

When Purdue field goal kicker Chris Summers missed a 44-yard attempt with time running out in regulation play the Ducks stayed alive for overtime. In the first overtime both teams kicked a field goal but in the second overtime with Purdue getting the ball first, the Ducks forced the Boilermakers to kick a field goal. Again Summers missed 47 yards out. When the Ducks got the ball, a new quarterback was at the helm. Chris Harper took over for Roper who was sidelined with a knee injury. Harper's first snap in the crucial overtime found him getting caught behind the line of scrimmage for a 5-yard loss. From that point on though, Harper and his running back Blount look like they were open for business and taking what the defense would give them. On the last two plays of the game, Harper kept the ball and ran it from the Purdue 11 to the 3. The next snap he handed off to Blount for the winning score.

Blount and Harper were part of the 2008 recruiting class so this was the first time both shared the spotlight in the final moments of the game. What did Blount think as he saw the end zone?

"Oh my god this game is ours, it's time to go home," said Blount of the last play. "Time to go home and celebrate this win."

Harper, aware of the injury to Roper was a more conscious of what could happen if a mistake was made.

"I was going to jump over his head (the Purdue defender)" Harper described of the next to last play of the game. "But we only needed three so I didn't want anything bad to happen so I just took the safe choice and got down."

Roper will have a MRI done on his knee to see the severity. There were indications that Roper does not have an ACL injury but he could still be out from two to four weeks.

Oregon overcame its largest deficit to win (17 points) since going down 17-0 at home against Fresno State on Sept. 17, 2005. The Ducks eventually won that game 37-34.

It was the 11th time oregon has played an overtime game (7-4) all coming under Bellotti.

The Ducks' first lead (26-23) came on in the first OT on Matt Evensen's 33-yard field goal.

Evensen was 4-of-4 on FG attempts, a career high.

The Ducks trailed for the first time in 2008 following Sheet's 80-yard TD run.

On his first carry today Jeremiah Johnson went over the 1,300-yard career rushing mark.

Johnson's first game carry in each of the three games he's play have exceeded 30 yards. (44 against UW, 37 against USU and 35 against Purdue.)

This was the third straight game the Ducks have committed the first turnover – all interceptions by Roper.

Byrd's interception was the first of the season for the Ducks.

Purdue was the first opponent of the year to score in the first quarter against Oregon.

Senior DE Nick Reed moved into fifth place on the Oregon career sacks list (19.5) and into seventh on the career TFL list (36.0).

Junior tight end Ed Dickson had a career high seven receptions for 93 yards.

The fourth quarter fumble recovery by junior defensive end Will Tuckuafu was his fourth career recovery.

Roper's 20 completions and 48 passing attempts are career highs.

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