WSU Stumbles on the Road Against Oregon
Oct. 13, 2007
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -Oregon's victory over Washington State came at a high cost - receiver Cameron Colvin and running back Jeremiah Johnson left with injuries, and could miss the rest of the season.
Dennis Dixon threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns and No. 9 Oregon handed Washington State its fourth straight loss, 53-7 on Saturday. Dixon also ran for a touchdown for the Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10).
But Colvin broke his ankle early in the game, and Johnson injured his right knee after scoring two touchdowns.
"Those are serious blows," coach Mike Bellotti said. "Our depth will be tested, but I have confidence that we will still be able to do the things we want to do."
The Cougars (2-5, 0-4) were without receiver Brandon Gibson, who suited up but did not play. Gibson was leading the Pac-10 with 6.5 catches and 94.5 yards per game but bruised his heel in Washington State's 23-20 loss to Arizona State last weekend.
The Ducks were coming off a bye week, after a 31-24 loss to California at Autzen Stadium back on Sept. 29, and took advantage of three Washington State turnovers in the first quarter.
Alex Brink was intercepted on the first drive and Oregon capitalized with Johnson's 42-yard touchdown run.
On the next series, Washington State got to the Oregon 2, but Brink was sacked for a 17-yard loss and then was intercepted by Jerome Boyd on the next throw.
On the ensuing drive, Colvin - the starter since receiver Brian Paysinger injured his knee and had surgery - was hit and taken from the field on a cart.
The Ducks took advantage of another Brink turnover late in the quarter. Oregon got the ball when Brink's fumble was recovered by Boyd, leading to Johnson's 18-yard scoring run.
Brink was sacked in the end zone by Nick Reed and Cole Linehan for a safety to put Oregon up 19-0.
Oregon suffered another blow when Johnson hurt his right knee and was carted off the field. He was set to have an MRI exam on Sunday but Bellotti said the "damage is probably extensive."
Dixon was confident in the Ducks despite the injuries.
"It's not going to affect us. I mean, we've got so much depth. (Obviously) you want Jeremiah Johnson and Cameron Colvin in your lineup, but then again, some people have to step up and it continues on. We've got all week to practice," he said.
Dixon scored on a 1-yard keeper midway through the second quarter, then hit Jaison Williams with a 52-yard scoring pass and capped the first half with a 12-yard TD to Derrick Jones that made it 40-0.
Oregon opened the second half with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Dixon to freshman Aaron Pflugrad.
Washington State finally got into the end zone on Brink's 8-yard pass to Michael Bumpus, but Daniel Padilla added field goals of 43 and 39 yards for the Ducks, who scored more points against the Cougars than in 85 previous meetings.
"Against a team of that caliber, you can't make mistakes," Washington State coach Bill Doba said.
Reed had nine tackles, six unassisted, and 3 1/2 sacks against Washington State.
Brink completed 15 of 33 passes for 251 yards, but was sacked six times. He has 18 touchdown passes this season and needs three touchdowns to pass Jason Gesser's career school record of 70.
The game was a homecoming for Brink, who grew up in Eugene and led Sheldon High to a state championship. It was his first on-field appearance at Autzen Stadium with the Cougars.
"It's frustrating for me on a person level because I definitely wanted to come home and play better in Eugene, but that's not the most important thing," Brink said. "The most important thing for me is that as a team we got a loss, and now we're even farther away from our chances of going to a bowl game. We need to regroup as a team and stay together."
Washington State has a bye week before hosting UCLA.
"Sitting around thinking about this for this for two weeks is rough," Doba said, "but we need the bye and it will give us a chance to get some guys rested."
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