What is Your Fondest Oregon Football Memory?

Ryan Robertson Editorials 63 Comments

Picture it: November 29th, 2013. Oregon and Oregon State are facing off in Autzen Stadium. Marcus Mariota is capping off a fantastic second season as a starter, the Ducks are 9-2 heading in to the day against a 6-5 Beavers squad who would love to prevent Oregon from reaching 10 wins. Mark Helfrich has had a solid first year as a coach after netting a solid recruiting class. The school looks primed to break out in the near future, but tonight the Beavers are standing in the way.

The game is tight the whole way. After heading in to the half tied at 17, the teams entered the last three minutes separated by a single point. The visitors boasted a formidable rushing attack that gashed Oregon all night long, and with 1:38 remaining in the game, Victor Bolden rushed for a huge 25 yard touchdown, putting Oregon State up by five. The Beavers failed to convert on a Sean Mannion pass attempt, leaving the score at 35-30, OSU.

At this moment, Mariota had the greatest drive of his college career. He hit several receivers for key first downs, and kept the ball out of enemy hands. With 0:35 remaining the Ducks stood at the Oregon State 12 yard line. It was second down, ten yards to go after an incompletion on first down.

I remember the stadium that night. It never got quiet, with the crowd just too excited about the tension built the entire game. The guest section would talk smack every time the Beavers made a big play, and the home crowd would return the favor every time the Ducks did something positive. With 0:35 seconds remaining, the away fans were trying their best to be loud, and the home fans were restless given the circumstances. As Mariota went to snap the ball, two receivers on either side of the formation, everyone knew that Josh Huff was receiving the pass. He was ending one of the greatest receiving nights in school history, and already had two touchdowns to his name.

Kevin Cline

Marcus Mariota had a classic performance against the Beavers.

He ran a post over the middle, and had a tiny bit of space in the zone, with the top defender being a tenth of a second late on reading the play. Mariota joked after the game that it was a bad throw, and Huff joked that it was Mariota’s best throw ever. Either way, the pass found Huff with just enough space to make one of the most iconic catches in Oregon football history, putting the Ducks up for good.

The stadium erupted. All of the built up tension came screaming out of the mouths of every crazed fan in the stadium. The final 30 seconds of the game felt like a formality, because it was over the second Huff touched the ball in the endzone. The incomplete two point conversion that Oregon tried didn’t matter, all that mattered was that the Ducks were winning.

For me, that is my fondest memory of Oregon football. All of the losses that would follow, including the National Championship loss the next year and the whopping eight losses a few years later couldn’t matter less when it came to that moment, Huff turning around to catch the pass that always looked like the game winner.

So, that is what takes the top spot for me. What is your favorite moment in Ducks history?

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo By: Craig Strobeck

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TheRunningDuck

I was a freshman when Autzen opened.
I really was hyped when Herman Ho-Ching knocked a WSU player backwards several yards on his way to a goal line stand TD at WSU.

TheDuckAbides

Lots of great memories. I doubt I will ever forget the Kaelin Clay fumble and Joe Walker with the 100 yard TD return. Lots of memories from that game at Utah and not all good, but man I came undone in that moment.

Autzen Magic

Too many to count. But here is my top 5 (I had to be personally in attendance to be considered on my list)

5.vs. Iowa at Autzen in 1994. No one gave us a shot to win. Stadium wasn’t close to being full. When Rich Brooks was announced as coach, there were a scattering of boos. We went on to dominate the game on our way to a Rose Bowl season.

4.vs UW at Husky Stadium in 1997. Endured trash talk from UW faithful the whole game (I must admit that I dished out my fair share). Akili Smith to Patrick Johnson late in the 4th Q. Surprisingly, none of those UW fans wanted to stay and talk about the results.

3.vs BYU at Autzen in 1990. Beautiful Saturday afternoon on a nationally televised game. Ducks picked Heisman winner Ty Detmer 5x as the crowd loudly cheered B-Y-Who? Epic post-game party in Eugene.

2.2012 Rose Bowl (2011 season). Was with my boys and I cried when the Ducks finally got over the long Rose Bowl drought.

1.2002 Fiesta Bowl (2001 season). Went to the game with my brother and we had a blast (maybe a wee bit too much celebration New Year’s Eve). Joey to Sammie right in front of us. Great memories.

Honorable Mention: 2006 v. Oklahoma at Autzen. 2015 (2014 season) Rose Bowl v FSU. 2003 v. Michigan at Autzen. 2009 v. Oregon State
“War for the Roses” –2021 v. Ohio State???

And any game in the the late 1970s / early 1980s when we would roll into the Autzen Stadium parking lot with my dad a couple of hours before kickoff, buy the cheapest tickets available (he guaranteed that we would move down, but I was often running around the empty seats up top with a friend) in which the Ducks won (they often did not).

Last, any home game the next three years that I get to enjoy with my son (he just finished his freshmen year at UO).

Go Ducks!!!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

The game at Husky stadium is a GREAT pick, and gosh the big plays! A photo of QB Akili Smith by John Giustina that is not as good in the auto-blow-up version…

Akili Smith_John Giustina.jpg
Steven A

I have two:

Unofficial: Spring game 1970, a freshman QB who no one had really heard of since freshmen weren’t eligible threw a 65 yard in-the-air rope for a TD. We were all wondering, who is that guy….Dan Fouts.

UCLA football ‘70: down 40 – 21 with about 4 minutes left, Won 41-40.  https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=RalVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4uADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6353%2C2032688

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

What an incredible player at Oregon….

Dan Fouts_Bend Bulletin_FP.jpg
TheRunningDuck

That game was nuts and Blanchard stuck in the NFL for several years as a kicker. Fouts was awesome and had great receivers.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I have to say as well that this overtime win against Arizona where the fans were coming out of the stands because they thought they had won the game?

The exultation of Ed Dickson was shared with all of us at that moment!

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criticalduck

I have been to every Pac-10 stadium. I wasn’t at this game but have been to this stadium and the fans are crude and rude. I plan on going to the Utah and Colorado but only if the games are early in the season! Otherwise it’s too cold for my liking.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yes, Arizona fans threw water bottles at our cheerleaders and hit one! A local contractor in Tucson who was also a Duck fan came up with a good solution for the next time Oregon plays at Arizona…

Cheerleaders safe at Arizona_AM_FP.jpg
Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I did a TON of analysis articles from that game from an Xs and Os standpoint and even with all the unique things Oregon was doing that day on offense, (such as introducing the Mid-Line Zone Read) it was all we could do to keep up with a hot Wildcat offense.

An incredible game where the drama at the end made you exhausted!

FGLumber

2007 at Michigan for a 39-7 win. My wife and I attended. Dennis Dixon was incomparable. Fake statue of liberty was the capper. Also attended the Independence bowl in 89. Start of a magical series of bowl games…some losses but more wins. Colder than Holy Hell but worth every second. The food selection offered in stadium was cooked turkey legs…..funny how that memory has stuck.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

So many incredible moments in that game, and the speed of Jeremiah Johnson stunned Michigan too… And that famous “stiff-arm” he had!

JJ 2007.jpg
criticalduck

1988 was my first year in Eugene. There were many fun times from that point on!

EzDucksit

I recently rewatched that game on You Tube. I remembered that Oregon, had gone to one of the largest football stadiums in the United States and third in the world. Oregon had last met Michigan at Autzen in 2003 and squeaked out a victory 31 to 27. They followed that up with a visit to the home of the worlds third largest stadium with a seating capacity of 107,601, “The Big House” in 2007 and smacked Goliath down!

Now, the Ducks face a Buckeye team that is 9 and 0 against them since 1958. The last meeting, for the National Championship in 2015, a 42 to 20 loss in the inaugural CFP era. Covid canceled the game in 2020, scheduled for Autzen. The 2021 game is scheduled for “the Shoe” with a capacity of 102,780. This game is better venue, IMHO, for the Ducks path to the CFP.

The Ducks must soundly beat those teams they are supposed to beat. They must Battle and Beat all the others. Win the Conference Championship, the CFP and then the National Title Game. They have come close twice, let us hope the third time is the charm.

DanLduck

What a great question, and so many great answers!
I think for me was being at the Civil War game in 2010 when the Ducks victory secured the natty against Auburn. It’s the only time we have been to Reser stadium.

The week before, the wife and I had been in Hawaii for vacation. I had seen tickets for sale at the 45 yard line for too cheap on ebay, so I bid the price up, and I won the bid!
We flew in sat am, got home and changed to Duck gear, drove to Corvallis, got the last parking space close to the stadium. Just as we started to walk, a bicycle taxi in green and yellow showed up and for a few $$ drove us right to the gate!
We walked in just as jets flew over.

We found our seats in time to see the Beaver qb get sacked on his first pass attempt.
I called the fake punt by Michael Clay as I noticed the team hustled a little faster onto the field and quick snapped the ball.

After the 37-20 win, the team celebrated in the corner of the field and the pic in the Oregonian showed us in the background. So of course we bought the photo!

To top it off we walked onto the field and celebrated on the Beaver logo. (Had to have a selfie!)
It was one fantastic vacation!
And a super fond memory.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

A sweet game. After a TD the Ducks went for two point conversion where the offense went one direction and then Darron Thomas threw a pass back across the field to Kenjon Barner. Below is his response to the cameras…

banrnerflashingO.jpg
Santa Rosa Duck

My best memory was in person at Memorial Coliseum, November 3, 2012. Oregon 62 USC 51. Kenjon Barner having the finest day imaginable running for 321 yards and 5 TD’s. Marcus Mariota throwing for 4 TD’s. My wife and I sat in the heart of USC country and after the game, the fans were great and wishing our DUCKS to go all the way.

DanLduck

My wife and I too were at that game.
Great memory!

Another incredible game! So many great moments, and I lucked out and had TWO photographers at that game.

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criticalduck

That was a Barner burner of a game! I witnessed a Trojan, looked like a rugby player, pick on a Duck fan. Then was escorted out by security after he dumped a chilidog on the Duck fan. Ducks needed one stop to win the game and got two!

Drake

Watching Michael Clay recover the Wisconsin fumble, somehow the ball stopped inches from going out of bounds. The fumble recovery stopped a Russel Wilson comeback attempt, and secured the first Oregon Rose Bowl win in probably 90+ years.

The icing on the cake was the images of Chip Kelly jumping up and down with glee on the sideline just after the ball was recovered literally at his feet.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

That was an epic game!

Fumble recovered Rose Bowl AM.jpg
DanLduck

Interesting to note, we recovered a fumble in the last Rose Bowl against Wisconsin in almost the exact spot to secure that win!

PittDuck

Opening kickoff return against Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl! When the ball came down in DAT’s corner of the field, I turned to my buddy and said “Watch him take it to the house!”

“And HE IS GONE! I loved the way DAT leaned into the finish at the goal line!

Also very enjoyable was the Devon Allen catapult score against Michigan State!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

This is the beginning of that jump into the end zone as he is trying to stiff-arm and gets pulled and he twists and launches as you said! That Michigan State game was one of the best non-conference games ever….fantastic atmosphere.

Devon Allen 16, Michigan State,14,KC.jpg
criticalduck

That was one helluva a game too! I partied with KSU fans the night before and had my first ever hangover…KSU fans were saying how respectful Duck fans were not like the rude OU fans they dealt with…Then they proceeded to talk the kind of trash that Huskie fans talk. Great ending to a magical weekend!!

criticalduck

November 12th, 2011 in Palo Alto. My best friend and I took a road trip for #3 Stanford and College Game Day. We stayed up too late to make Game Day. We tried to get onto the Stanford golf course to play a round but were turned away and ended up playing at another course. We both had decent rounds in the low 80s and felt really good. We went to the campus early to see all the other fans, from both sides, and to gauge how everyone felt about the game. Most Ducks were worried but felt good. Most trees were confident that they would wipe the Ducks off the map. Most of the predictions from Ducks were low 30s by each team and hopefully a win. Most tree fans thought Ducks were going to be held in the mid 20s with the trees in the low 40s.

I told my friend we needed to go pick up tailgate supplies and try to get into a tailgate party. I picked up some, brand name, Irish whiskey while my friend picked up some IPAs. We rand into Ducks radio/TV personality Jordan Kent. Asked him about what he thought was going to be the outcome of the game. He too was hopefully optimistic but was worried. I told him my friends prediction for the score of the game 53-30 Ducks. He was shocked and said, “I hope you’re right.”

We ended up meeting four young men in the back of their pickup and shared a tailgate space. Three of the four young men flew in that morning hoping to get cheap tickets to the game since tree fans “tend to lose interests in games.” I happen to see an RV with a tree fan setting up his tailgate with a Margaritaville mixer and walked over to ask what he thought the score would be? I also wanted to see if I could get a margarita in exchange for some Irish whiskey. After about 15 minutes of chatting the six of us Ducks were invited to share in the tailgate festivities. We all had a great time.

We parted ways when it was game time. After the final whistle the score was 53-30 Ducks win! My friend and I tried to get back to the tailgate site but the people had already packed up and left. It was an amazing time! That following January, Rose Bowl, I watched as Oregon held on for a win against Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers while sitting in the Wisconsin section…What a great football year that was!!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I remember on TV that the announcers just loved Oregon and ate up everything we were doing!

Kenjon and LaMichael had good games…

Kenjon Barner 2011.jpg
Drake

Fond memory’s of the year the puppies went 0 – 12.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Made me laugh!

BumHusky.jpg
Annie

Oh, The Pick.

I was there and with fingers crossed on each play of uw’s big drive, sending mental telepathy messages to the Ducks defense–“Okay, just stop them on this play.”

“Okay, just stop them on this play.”

“Okay, just stop them on this play.”

And, of course, finally Kenny Wheaton stepped in front of that pass and stopped them on that play.

Crowd erupts, Duck sideline goes up and down like a series of waves, and, of course, Kenny Wheaton scores.

Jon Joseph

Will memories be made in 2021?

Pro Football Focus, using post-spring rosters, recently released its ranking of all 130 P5/G5 teams.

PFF ran computer simulations of a team’s regular season games and simulations of Playoff games for team’s the computer gives a chance to make the Playoff.

[Warning – Pac-12 fans may want to skip this?]

  1. Alabama – Chance to win Playoff – 23%
  2. Clemson – 17%
  3. Ohio State – 13%
  4. Georgia – 7%
  5. Oklahoma – 13%
  6. A+M – 2%
  7. Florida – 3%
  8. Notre Dame – 1%
  9. Iowa – 2%
  10. LSU – 2%

Pac -12:

13 Oregon – 1% – 23% to win Pac-12
16 USC – 1% – 26% to win Pac-12
26 Utah
29 UW
33 ASU
44 Stanford
59 CU
66 WAZZU
68 CAL
71 UCLA
84 Oregon State
100 Arizona

Summary. The computer has the Pac-12 losing all of the big OOC games.

Although ranked lower than the Ducks, Trojans, due to a lower SOS (ND instead of Ohio State, playing Utah in LA, and missing Oregon and UW in the regular season) has a better % than the Ducks to make and then win the conference champ game.

5 SEC schools in the top 10. With Bama, A+M and LSU in the same division I do not see this happening.

Florida is way higher than I have seen elsewhere. Especially when considering that in 2021, UF plays UGA. Bama at home, and at LSU. Games vs PFF’s #1, #4 + #10 ranked teams = #7? Strange calculus.

No Pac-12 schools in the top 10 and only 2 in the top 25. The Rodney Dangerfield of the P5.

Unlike all other polls I have seen, the PFF computer loves Iowa instead of Iowa State. Must have Iowa defeating ISU in Ames?

Hopefully, for the Conference of Champions, this is GIGO? But PFF in general has been reasonably accurate in all of its rankings.

MTduck

…So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance…

Jon Joseph

1 in 100 is a heck of a lot better than Lloyd Christmas’ faced at 1 in 1,000,000!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I don’t imagine the pundits expected the Pac-12 to be the strongest conference in last year’s March Madness, so I hoping we can surprise them in football. (Particularly, OREGON!)

Would be nice + a huge surprise.

MTduck

Like so many others, my fondest memory was “the Pick”.

I was watching the game in Albany with another Oregon grad in his living room. Oregon had been playing over their heads all day and with time running out, Washington had been driving the ball down the field – seemingly unstoppable. The obvious choice was to continue to give the ball to their Heisman candidate running back Napoleon Kaufman.

But the Huskies have always had a “let’s stick it to them and then twist the knife” attitude when it came to Oregon, and I predicted that they would try to humiliate the Ducks with a pass play to the left side for a surprise TD. I suggested that if the Oregon corner was paying attention he could step in for an interception and take it to the house.

And just like that it happened.

Like anyone of you, I’ll always continue to guess where the next play is coming from, but I’ll never be so right for such a key play again.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Great first post and WELCOME!

Rose Bowl John Giustina FP.jpg
Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Incredible moments at Autzen:

Sorry….but the Kenny Wheaton pick is No. 1 by a mile….as it happened right in front of me and the stadium has never been that loud or crazy. And so was I.

Rose Bowl Team_JG.jpg
Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

This was the picture I was looking for….

Kenny Wheaton
criticalduck

I wasn’t there for ‘The Pick’. I was just starting my career in microelectronics. The loudest the stadium ever got, in recent memory, was the ‘Fright Night’ game against USC in 2009! My ears rang for two days after and I had “bar hag” voice for four.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

A cool photo of LaMichael James doing his magic that Halloween night…

LAMUSC_0500787843.jpg
Haywarduck

The 12, most recently the 2.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Let’s add to that pain!

Washington Fan_Video_FP.jpg

Sorry I didn’t provide any visuals.

Unknown-1.jpeg
Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Awesome! I been having a little fun with this thread–going a little crazy with photos. I won’t do this every day, but it is fun.

Jon Joseph

Thanks Ryan.

DAT’s long TD run in the Rose Bowl.

“Can’t catch him!”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

A Straddled Triple Option where the Inside Zone Read option had a rare pop. Great reading of the blocks by De’Anthony Thomas, and then acceleration, a gear that few on the planet have.

And we even have an analysis from that special Rose Bowl concerning two plays the pundits analyzed incorrectly and we set them straight.

DAT Rose Bowl AmazingMomentsPh FP.jpg

Fantastic!

Kurt Rambis

BTW, Ryan, a shout out from my hometown of Rogue River!

Kurt Rambis

As someone who started following the Ducks in the mid-70s, when a 5-win season was fantastic, it’s hard to choose between moments of the “highest greatness” (e.g. playing in the NC game, Mariota’s Heisman) and moments that comparatively weren’t as great but showed the Ducks starting to become an accomplished program (e.g. the first bowl appearance in forever, the first Rose Bowl appearance in forever).

It would be a tie for 2nd for me between watching the Ducks destroy Jameis Winston in the national semi-final game (particularly the strip sack and fumble return for a TD that left him utterly confused) and The Pick by Kenny Wheaton.

But without question #1 would be the first time I saw the Ducks listed in the AP Top 20 in the newspaper. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I actually still have that clipping. Years and years of failure and frustration and suddenly we “belonged.” Never thought it would get much better than some minor bowl games and #19 national rankings.

DanLduck

I remember feeling that way at a Thursday night game against UCLA. It was the first time the Ducks were ranked #1 in the country. Neuheisel was the coach and had suggested that he knew the answer to stopping our fast paced offense…I think we won by like 60!! Lol.

teeduke

Yes, if I have to pick just one moment it’s that play … stripping the ball from a flailing Winston and taking it to the house.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

OK….now I HAVE to find a picture of that iconic moment of Tony Washington in Oregon football history!

Whoops!

Tony Washington_CS.JPG