Video: Defining moments in Oregon football history: #15 2006 Oklahoma game

Posted by Sreang Hok and Will Rubin on Friday, Aug. 17 at 2:16 pm.

Editor’s note: In the final 20 days before Chip Kelly and the Ducks return to the field to defend their status as Pac-12 Champions, the Emerald sports desk will take a daily look back at one defining Oregon moment, play, or game from the last 20 years. Oregon Ducks radio announcer Jerry Allen provides his commentary below.

Produced by Will Rubin/Sreang “C” Hok

This moment in Oregon football is memorable just as much for the controversy and outrage that followed the contest as much as the incredible back-and-forth game that occurred. On September 16, 2006, the Oklahoma Sooners made the trek west to Autzen Stadium to hold up their end of a home-and-home series with the Ducks. The Sooners beat Oregon in the 2005 Holiday Bowl by a score of 17-14, so the Autzen faithful were out for revenge.

Led by star running back and future NFL Pro-Bowler Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma seemed in control for much of the game en route to being ahead 33-20 with just over three minutes left in the game, though it could have been more if not for Oregon linebacker Blair Phillips stuffing Peterson at the goal line earlier in the fourth quarter. Fans had started to leave the stadium to drown their sorrows following the loss, which drew the ire of Head Coach Mike Bellotti.

“I noticed some people leaving,” Bellotti said to ESPN. “I saw 10 to 15 fans walking out and I thought, ‘They’re going to be really made when we come back and win.’”

Oregon would score on the ensuing drive and line up for a do-or-die onside kick with under two minutes remaining. What happened next sparked dialogue and commentary from fans and analysts across the country. Following a scrum, the loose ball was awarded to the Ducks though it was apparent on replay that not only did an Oregon player touch the ball before it had gone 10 yards – which nullifies any recovery of the ball – but that Oklahoma had come out of the pile with the football. Replay official Gordon Riese did not overturn the ruling on the field, and the quarterback Dennis Dixon would march the offense down and score the go-ahead touchdown with very little time left on the clock.

The drama didn’t end there, as the Sooners returned the ensuing kickoff into Oregon territory and set up for a field goal attempt to win the game. As time expired, Phillips exploded over the Oklahoma kick protection and got a hand on the ball to preserve Oregon’s frantic comeback victory. Riese would later receive death threats from fans following the game and the Pac-10 suspended the entire officiating crew for their errors during the game.

  • Anonymous

    The onside kick was
    only one of many bad calls, the officiating was terrible for and against both teams.
    After the ‘recovery’ Oklahoma had the odds in their favor, a six point
    lead with only 66 seconds left in the game and Oregon on their own side of the
    field. Easy, stop Oregon and win the
    game, but Oklahoma allowed Oregon to march down the field and score a TD to
    take the lead. Then, after an improbable
    return to the Oregon 27, Oklahoma was set to demoralize Oregon — kick an easy field goal and win the
    game as time expires, but once again Oklahoma failed to rise to the occasion
    and Oregon blocked the kick. Oklahoma
    wilted under pressure letting Oregon easily score in the final seconds and
    then block the game winning field goal as time expired.

  • ODuckzFan

    As Jerry talks about, at any part of the game, there are ‘missed’ calls by the officials. If you watch the previous Oklahoma touchdown when they went up 33-20, time on the game clock actually expired before the snap was made – nullifying the completed pass and sending it to 4th down and an uncertain field goal attempt. Again, another change in the game.

  • KP Ryan

    I’d love to watch this game again, especially considering all that’s happened with the Oregon program since that epic day.

    I, of course, recall Oklahoma fans and their apologists in the national media repeating the accusation that Pac 10 referees were in the bag for Oregon and that’s the only reason why the Ducks defeated the Sooners. But, as with others who watched that day, I recall crap calls that went against Oregon, too.

    I doubt the Pac 12 network owns the rights to this game, but if they wrangle them sometime in the future, it would be a great game to reply in its entirety.