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Ducks hold off Boilermakers

September 13, 2009|Associated Press

EUGENE, ORE. — The Oregon Ducks put suspended running back LeGarrette Blount and Boise State behind them by holding off Purdue, 38-36, on Saturday night.

With the Boilermakers trailing, 38-30, Keith Smith found Aaron Valentin with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:01 left. But on the two-point conversion, Kyle Adams caught Joey Elliott's pass out of bounds as Oregon (1-1) eked out the victory.

Purdue (1-1) had closed within one at 31-30 early in the fourth quarter on Ralph Bolden's 22-yard touchdown reception. Oregon's Kenjon Barner then ran 21 yards for a score with 6:42 left.

Blount appeared on the field with his teammates before the game wearing his No. 9 jersey. Coach Chip Kelly suspended Blount for the season last week after he punched Boise State's Byron Hout following Oregon's opener.

One fan at Autzen Stadium raised a sign that read "Free LeGarrette," and when the video scoreboard ran highlights of last season's Ducks, a clip of Blount drew cheers.

After losing to Boise State with only 152 yards of offense, Oregon fared better against Purdue, but it wasn't without its challenges.

Oregon went up 17-14 on Walter Thurmond III's 18-yard interception return before Purdue tied it up just before halftime on Carson Wiggs' 23-yard field goal.

Purdue took back the lead on Bolden's one-yard leap into the end zone early in the second half. But then a fumble was scooped up by Javes Lewis, who ran 28 yards for the score to tie it again for the Ducks.

That appeared to spark the Ducks, and Jeremiah Masoli scored on a keeper from 15 yards out. Just as he scored, a rainstorm hit Autzen and the deciding fourth quarter was marked by periodic showers.

Masoli completed 11 of 21 passes for 163 yards for Oregon. Elliott was 24 of 41 for 266 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for Purdue.

Bolden ran for 123 yards and caught three passes for 52 yards. Masoli led the Ducks' rushers in Blount's absence with 84 yards.

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