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Ducks Earn Their Wings in 56-55 Win

Oregon: Harrington's two touchdown passes in final 3:21 of regulation tie score, then Arizona State loses when two-point attempt fails in second overtime.

October 29, 2000|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — An amazing comeback, a disastrous fumble and an unexpected play call that fizzled capped an afternoon of high drama and heartbreak at Sun Devil Stadium.

In a game as wild as college football gets, Joey Harrington passed for 434 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes as No. 7 Oregon beat Arizona State, 56-55, in two overtimes Saturday.

"I'm just speechless and in total shock right now," Harrington said. "We're going home with an empty tank. We left everything--physically and emotionally--on the field."

The Ducks, 7-1 overall, 5-0 in the Pacific 10, never led in regulation, but Harrington threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:21 of the fourth quarter, the last with 27 seconds to go.

"They battled, never gave up," Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti said of his players. "They believed, no matter what the scoreboard said or how much time was left on the clock, we felt we had a chance to win. That is the mark of a winner."

Allan Amundson, playing in place of injured Maurice Morris, ran one yard for the Ducks' touchdown on their second overtime possession.

Arizona State (5-3, 2-3) followed with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Krohn to Richard Williams. The Sun Devils set up for a conversion kick that would have tied it again, but it was a fake.

Krohn, who passed for 432 yards and five touchdowns, rolled right and threw to Todd Heap, but the tight end couldn't come up with one of his trademark spectacular catches.

Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder said he went for the fake because kicker Mike Barth's sore back had worsened as the game went on. Snyder also said he was concerned that his injury-depleted secondary would be able to stop Oregon.

"I thought about it through the course of the week actually because we had been working on that play," Snyder said. "I thought I'd give it a shot right there, and it didn't work out, so that's totally on me."

Arizona State rolled up 667 yards against an Oregon defense that entered the game leading the Pac-10 and ranked 10th nationally. According to records dating to 1976, it was the most yards given up by the Ducks.

The Sun Devils seemed to have sealed the victory when safety Willie Daniel tackled Oregon tight end Justin Peelle at the one on a pass play on fourth and goal from the nine with 1:22 to play.

Arizona State tried to run out the clock, but Mike Williams, who had scored on a 59-yard run to put the Sun Devils up, 49-35, with 5:47 remaining in regulation, fumbled and Oregon's Jermaine Hanspard recovered at the Arizona State 17.

On the next play, Harrington threw to Peelle for the touchdown to tie the score, 49-49, with 27 seconds to play.

Other statistical highlights were provided by Tom Pace, an Arizona State walk-on who gained 158 yards in 33 carries and scored a touchdown on a 69-yard pass play in his first collegiate start, and Oregon's Marshaun Tucker, who had 11 receptions for 138 yards and three touchdowns.

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