oregon sports

Oregon Ducks football history: *My* top 5 heartbreaking moments in time

Not easy being a Ducks fan

The Oregon Ducks have become one of the more successful programs in college football today and have quite the fan following to prove it. Being a fan, though, isn’t just about being there during the good times; it’s about sticking through the bad as well.

Despite the immense success the program is experiencing, there have certainly been a handful of heartbreaking moments for the Ducks in recent memory.

5) Sept. 3, 2011: Opening Loss to LSU

There have been more shocking losses than the 40-27 defeat that the Ducks encountered on opening night last season. But following the school’s first BCS National Championship appearance, fans were ready to take down an SEC powerhouse en route toward another undefeated season.

A new year—and some flashy new uniforms—were shut down early against No. 4 LSU, and the Ducks were set to start off the season on an unexpectedly sour note.

Oregon Ducks vs. LSU Tigers 2011

There have been more shocking losses than the 40-27 defeat to LSU in 2011 (Photo - Bruce Ely / The Oregonian)

4) Missing the BCS National Championship in 2002

In 2002, the Oregon Ducks finished the regular season with a record of 10-1 and were ranked No. 2 in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll. Unfortunately, they were ranked No. 3 in the BCS, and were passed over by the Miami Hurricanes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers to play in the national championship that season.

The Ducks went on to play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and in a statement game if there ever was one, they blew out the No. 3 Colorado Buffaloes 38-16.

3) Sept. 3, 2010: LeGarrette Blount Explodes at Boise State (In a Bad Way)

The game had been an ugly one. Losing a 19-8 matchup at Boise State to open the 2010 season, the team couldn’t run, couldn’t pass and couldn’t score for what seemed to be the entire miserable experience in Boise. In fact, the only good thing that came with the final whistle is that the whole ordeal was finally over—or so Oregon fans thought.

Within minutes of the game’s end, LeGarrette Blount had sucker punched Boise State’s Byron Hout and was being escorted off the field by a group of players and coaches. It would only get worse, though, as he then tried to attack a fan in the stands and ended up being dragged off the field by police.

Blount had been considered a Heisman-hopeful in some circles, but following his outburst on the blue turf, he would find himself suspended until the Civil War three months later.

2) Nov. 15, 2007: Dennis Dixon Goes Down

Heading into their matchup with Arizona during the 2007 season, the Ducks had climbed the rankings to No. 2 in the nation and were seemingly three victories away from their first ever national championship appearance.

One torn ACL would change all of that, however, as quarterback Dennis Dixon went down with a non-contact injury in the first quarter. Dixon had led the Ducks to an 8-1 record and was a Heisman Trophy candidate at that point in the year. The Ducks couldn’t recover the rest of the season and had to settle for a Sun Bowl victory over South Florida.

1) Jan. 10, 2011: National Championship Loss to Auburn

The Oregon Ducks trailed 19-11 with 4:54 left in the fourth quarter, but following a forced fumble by Casey Matthews, the Ducks completed a 45-yard drive and ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game.

Auburn running back Michael Dyer would go on to make the play of his life, however, when he appeared to be down, rolled off an Oregon defender and kept the play alive for a 37-yard run to set up the Tigers’ potential game-winning field goal.

Just minutes later, Auburn booted the ball through the uprights with no time remaining, sending the Ducks back to Eugene without the title they had been dreaming of all season long.


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About Bryant Knox

NWSB Editor. Portland native and Oregon graduate, On a non-stop mission to consume as much Ducks+Trail Blazers content as humanly possible. His love of sports is what attracts him to the game, passion for writing drives him to uncover the stories. Connect w/ Bryant today!
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