EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—In a wild final 72 seconds, Dennis Dixon and the Oregon Ducks had everything go their way.
Dixon rallied for two late touchdowns, with the help of a successful onside kick, and the No. 18 Ducks blocked a field goal on the final play to seal a 34-33 victory over No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday.
“This shows the nation we can play with the big boys,” Oregon rover Patrick Chung said. “We beat Oklahoma, No. 15 in the nation, and now you have to watch out for Oregon.”
Dixon’s 16-yard keeper with 1:12 left brought the Ducks within 33-27 and set up the onside kick attempt.
The Ducks (3-0) recovered the bouncing kick on their own 48, but Oklahoma (2-1) argued that an Oregon player touched the ball before it went the required 10 yards, which would have given the Sooners possession. Officials delayed play for an instant replay review, but the call stood and Dixon went to work.
After a pass interference call on Oklahoma again had Sooners coach Bob Stoops shaking his head on the sideline, Dixon threw a 23-yard TD pass to Brian Paysinger with 46 seconds to give Oregon the lead.
Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said Saturday night that both the onside kick and pass interference call will be reviewed by the league.
Oklahoma wasn’t done, though, as Reggie Smith returned a squib kick 55 yards to the Ducks’ 27.
With no timeouts the Sooners ran one play, run into the line by Adrian Peterson, then spiked the ball with a second left. Garrett Hartley’s 44-yard field-goal attempt wasn’t high enough to clear the line and the Ducks celebrated.
“I was just praying we would get that onside kick,” said Sooners tailback Adrian Peterson, who ran for 211 yards. “Once we didn’t get it, things got really ugly from there. “
The onside kick was made by Luke Bellotti, Oregon coach Mike Bellotti’s son.
“The thing about coaching your son it that it is pretty difficult sometimes. Some positions require judgmental things that are fairly subjective. Kicking is not, it’s very objective,” the elder Bellotti said.
“He’s the best guy for that type of kick on the football team. Obviously, I’m very pleased for him, first of all because he’s my son, and secondly because it gave our team a chance to win. That’s a total team thing.”
Oregon had jumped out to an early lead, but Peterson’s 17-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put Oklahoma ahead 27-20. Peterson ran it 34 time and gained 145 yards in the fourth quarter. It was his fifth career game with more than 200 yards.
“Words can’t express how I feel right now,” Peterson said. “Fought hard for four quarters and came up short.”
Dixon completed 26 of 41 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice. Jonathan Stewart, often compared to Peterson, had 23 carries for 144 yards.
“It was a crazy game,” Oregon linebacker Blair Phillips said. “I’ve never been a part of something like that before.”
Stewart asserted himself in the battle of the backs first, scoring on a 3-yard scoring dash on Oregon’s first series before the two sides traded field goals.
The Sooners got to the Oregon 2 late in the first half, but they were charged with a pair of false start penalties and holding. Oklahoma settled for Hartley’s 20-yard field goal to narrow it to 10-6.
A 38-yard field-goal attempt by Paul Martinez hit the crossbar and bounced good between the uprights to make it 13-6 at the half.
Paul Thompson’s 1-yard keeper tied it at 13 in the third quarter. He finished 13-for-23 for 174 yards.
Despite Stewart’s gains, his fumble in the third quarter led to a major momentum shift. On the series following the turnover, Thompson tossed to receiver Malcolm Kelly, who juggled with the ball before sprinting down the left sideline for what appeared to be a 73-yard touchdown.
But after an official’s review, it was determined that Kelly stepped out of bounds at the Oklahoma 47.
Thompson went back to Kelly soon after for a 31-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-13.
The Ducks re-tied it early in the fourth quarter with Dixon’s 30-yard scoring pass to Jaison Williams, who finished with nine carries for 177 yards.
Hartley added field goals from 20 and 22 yard in the final quarter before the Ducks staged their comeback.
“We did a lot of good things, but, obviously, not enough,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “We came up one point short.”
The Sooners and the Ducks were playing for the third time in three years. Oklahoma won both, including last season’s Holiday Bowl.
The Sooners, who had never been to the state of Oregon to play before, were greeted by a record crowd of 59,269 at Autzen Stadium—many of whom were disappointed if they chose to leave early.
“I noticed some people leaving,” Bellotti said. “I saw 10-15 fans walking out and I thought, `They’re going to be really made when we come back and win.”