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Even With an Injured Wing, Ducks' Miller Puts On an Air Show

October 05, 1986|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

For a guy who wasn't even supposed to play, Oregon quarterback Chris Miller played a pretty good game Saturday night against USC.

Miller completed 33 of 48 passes for a career-high 376 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-21 loss to the Trojans.

Miller set a single-game Oregon record for most passes completed. Miller and Dan Fouts had shared the previous record of 28 completions.

"My arm is tired and sore," Miller said afterward, "but even if I had a good arm, it would still be hurting, as many times as I threw tonight."

"It's nice to break record, but it would have been nicer if we'd won."

Miller had been scratched from the Oregon starting lineup early in the week after he injured his right shoulder in a 48-14 loss to Nebraska last Saturday.

However, Miller returned to practice Thursday and also took part in a light workout Friday night at the Coliseum.

"He played a great football game especially considering that he didn't take a snap in practice until Thursday," Oregon Coach Rich Brooks said.

Brooks said he didn't decide to start Miller until just before the game.

"It was an easy decision to start him because he threw the ball with some zip in pregame warmups," Brooks said.

Oregon trailed, 35-7, at halftime, but Miller and the Ducks took advantage of five USC fumbles in the second half to to stage a stirring comeback.

"We played 50 minutes of pretty football," Brooks said. "The other 10 minutes were absolutely some of the worst I've seen in 10 years at Oregon. The last five minutes of the first half was like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We looked like we didn't want to play the game of football. SC went through us in that four- or five-minute period before the end of the half like we weren't even on the field.

"You've got to give SC a lot of credit. They're a hell of a football team. Rodney Pete's a fine player at quarterback, and (tailback Aaron) Emanuel had a great game. After we kept him under control for 20 minutes, he started ripping through us. . . . "

Miller said Brooks was upset when he talked to the team at halftime.

"He went off on us like he should have," Miller said. "He was yelling and he was totally aggravated. He yelled at us and he should have. We deserved it.

"I believed that we could come back and win. I knew we could move the ball on them. Our defense did a great job, and they got us the ball back."

Oregon safety Anthony Newman said the Ducks were trying to force fumbles by going for the ball in the second half.

"We were trying to strip the ball from them," Berry said. "We were down and we knew that we had to get the ball back."

Trailing, 35-21, early in the fourth quarter, Oregon had first and goal at the USC two-yard line.

However, Oregon tailback Latin Berry lost a fumble on a sweep around left end.

"I made a mistake," Berry said. "I was looking desperately to score. I started to take it outside because there was a lot of room. I was following the fullback and I cut in. It looked like he cut back, and I cut back too.

"I don't know who it was or where he came from, but I just took one hit, and the ball came loose. I should have had a better grip on it. It was totally my fault."

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