Coverage: ABC Regional coverage
3:30 PM ET, September 20, 2003
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- As the Oregon players gathered at midfield to celebrate their upset of Michigan (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP), thousands of yellow-clad fans poured onto the field to revel with them.
The Ducks (4-0) lingered long after their 31-27 victory Saturday over the Wolverines (3-1), taking it all in. Coach Mike Bellotti said it was his biggest nonconference victory.
Oregon's Steven Moore returns a punt 63 yards for a TD.
"Absolutely," Bellotti said. "No question."
Credit Oregon's defense.
The Ducks (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) held Michigan's Chris Perry, the nation's leading rusher going into the game, to just 26 yards. Michigan's rushing offense, which averaged more than 307 yards through the first three games, lost 3 yards on 19 carries.
"They have a good defense," Perry said. "We knew they were going to be loading up on the run because of their previous games. Still, I take it all on my shoulders."
Jason Fife, half of Oregon's quarterback tandem with Kellen Clemens, ran for one touchdown, tailback Terrence Whitehead rushed for another, and the Ducks were able to take advantage of some key Michigan errors before 59,023 fans, the largest crowd in Autzen Stadium's history.
"Everyone was saying Michigan was going to kill us and we'd be lucky to stay in the game," Clemens said. "If they jump on the bandwagon now, they jump on the bandwagon. We're still going to take it one game at a time."
After Oregon jumped out to and early lead, the Wolverines turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter.
Navarre's 9-yard scoring pass to Breaston and conversion pass to Braylon Edwards made it 24-21, but the Ducks answered with Jordan Carey's fumble recovery in the end zone with 6:55 left.
It started when Keith Lewis blocked Adam Finley's punt. The ball sputtered just out of reach of Oregon's Ryan Shaw, but free safety J.D. Nelson got to it, only to fumble on the 1 before Carey landed on it in the end zone for the score.
Navarre completed 28 of 55 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns, but he wasn't able to carry the offense.
Clemens, who started for Oregon, was 15-of-23 for 160 yards, while Fife was 5-of-8 for 93 yards. For the fourth straight game, the pair did not throw an interception.
On its first series of the game, Oregon went for it on fourth-and-1 on Michigan's 25, and Clemens hit Tim Day with a 21-yard pass play to put the Ducks on the 4.
Michigan's defense was able to hold off an Oregon TD, even when it appeared that Clemens had punched through on a 1-yard keeper. On fourth down, Oregon was called for a false start and pushed back five yards.
The Ducks decided to go for the field goal, but Jared Siegel's 22-yard attempt was blocked by Marlin Jackson and scooped up by Jeremy LeSueur -- who ran untouched 78 yards down field for the score.
While Finley missed the extra point, Michigan still managed a 6-0 first quarter lead even though the Wolverines' overall time of possession was just 56 seconds. Oregon had possession for the remaining 14:04.
"I thought we waited too long offensively," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "We tried to run the football, but give Oregon credit. The completely stopped our running game."
The Ducks turned it around early in the second quarter on Whitehead's 19-yard TD run.
The Wolverines were hurt on the next series when they tried a fake punt and the snap was fumbled by linebacker Scott McClintock. Oregon defensive end Igor Olshansky jumped on the ball and the Ducks went on to score on Jason Fife's 15-yard run.
Oregon further surprised the Wolverines when Steven Moore ran a punt back 61 yards for a touchdown, making it 21-6 at halftime.
Siegel opened the second half for the Ducks with a 36-yard field goal.
Michigan narrowed the margin to 21-13 when Navarre hit Jason Avant with a 23-yard pass that Avant stretched into the end zone.
Michigan, a perennial Big Ten force, authoritatively shut down Notre Dame 38-0 last Saturday to move up two spots in the national rankings. And until the loss to the Ducks, Perry was averaging 183 yards a game.
The Wolverines have lost four straight road openers.
The Ducks are 20-0 in nonconference play at Autzen under Bellotti. Michigan was the highest ranked nonconference opponent that the Ducks have ever defeated at home.
Oregon jumped into the Top 25 after a 48-10 rout of Arizona last Saturday.
"This was a big opportunity for us to show everybody we can play," Moore said. "This win is a big confidence booster for the rest of the season."