Road Wrap: Ducks at Purdue
Monday, September 15, 9:30 p.m. PT
That was a road trip. It may have consumed a grand total of 37 hours, but it was certainly one for the Oregon Football ages.
Here's a quick recap. (All times PT)
11:30 a.m. - Wheels up on our Delta Charter, headed to Indianapolis in a plane filled with confidence. After the beat down at the Big House in 2007, this was going to be yet another road victory in Big Ten country. I don't think anyone was taking Purdue lightly, but the general feeling was that the Ducks superior speed and athleticism would be too much for a Purdue side tagged to finish in the bottom half of its conference this season.
3:30 p.m. - The first touchdown of the trip. An hour bus ride to Ross-Ade Stadium followed and the Ducks appeared focused and business-like as they perused the grounds.
6:00 p.m. - Arrival at the team hotel, located on a highway with the longest stretch of fast food chains you'll ever see. Players greet family and friends before heading into meetings. After meetings and a snack the players have a little free time in the hotel before 11 p.m. lights out.
7:00 p.m. - Several entourages of non-playing/coaching personnel gather for dinner, some opting for the Hour Time restaurant in the hotel and other more adventurous types heading out into enemy territory in West Lafayette. Your humble blogger was among the latter and went with a group to a local drive-in once featured on the Food Network for its peanut butter burgers. No one in our group went for the signature sandwich, but it would come into play later on.
8:00 p.m. - After the meal, we decided to take in the scene around campus, which was absolutely bustling on a Friday night in the Midwest. When my original crew had experienced enough Boilermaker hospitality (very pleasant fans, BTW), I hooked on with another group of Ducks, who wanted to stay out longer and were anxious to learn about what the town on the banks of the Wabash River had to offer.
11:00 p.m. - On the way back to our lodging headquarters, a stop at Triple XXX was in order for those who had not experienced it yet. This time, the Duane Purvis All-American was a must-have selection, along with a root beer float-like concoction called a 'Frost" that was so incredible; at least one in our party downed a pair of them.
1:00 a.m. - After a quick blog post, it was off to dreams of a big road win.
8:30 a.m. - Breakfast. Nothing too eventful here, just a bunch of folks milling around witnessing the early parts of Maryland's trouncing of Cal.
9:30 a.m. - Off to the stadium, where upon arrival we were nearly blown north to Chicago. The next couple of hours were spent coordinating various items with the Purdue and ESPN/ABC staffs. As is typical procedure on the road, I went over pronunciations with the home P.A. announcer and internal (press box) P.A. man. Per usual, it would only be a matter of time before we heard of players named "Evan-son" and "Blaunt" any way.
11:00 a.m. - A slightly disheveled Portland scribe arrives after a longer than anticipated drive from rainy and flooding Chicago. He made it to the Midwest, but his luggage did not. Meanwhile, over the internal P.A., the Boilermaker radio network pregame show is in full swing as they preview the Or-uh-gon Ducks and their head coach Mike Bella-dee.
12:37 p.m. - After the standard press meal of burgers, dogs, popcorn and cookies, it's finally time for kickoff. Two plays in, it's 7-0 Purdue. Midway through the first quarter, two more Oregon media members roll in following a five-hour rental car ordeal that involved hiking over highway medians in the pouring rain. Four seconds into the 2nd quarter it's 20-3 Boilers, and that, mixed with the fact that I've had three burgers in the span of 18 hours is creating some major indigestion.
2:10 p.m. - Purdue goes three and out on back-to-back possessions, failing to take any significant time off the clock by throwing the ball too much, and the Ducks scratch out a FG as time expires in the first half to make it a two-possession game.
2:40 p.m. - The Oregon locker room is upbeat. Coordinators Aliotti and Kelly are pumping up their troops. The attendees at Ross-Ade Stadium and the ABC television audience may not be convinced, but the Ducks believe they are still very much alive.
3:10 p.m. - Oregon owns the 3rd quarter on defense, shutting out a third straight opponent during that 15-minute period. The offense still struggles, but Jairus Byrd puts a charge in the UO sideline with his 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. LeGarrette Blount rips off a 72-yard run late in the frame, setting up his own 5-yard score to cap a 96-yard drive and it's all tied up.
3:40 p.m. - A pair of field goals - one from each side - is all the teams can muster in the 4th quarter. Oh, and Purdue finds itself kicking a potential game-winning field goal from 44-yards into a 20-mile an hour headwind. Wide left and it's off to OT.
4:10 p.m. - The Ducks have the ball first. Justin Roper goes down with a knee injury and Matt Evensen converts from 33 yards to give UO its first lead of the day, 26-23. Oregon survives a pass interference penalty and T.J. Ward stops Purdue QB Curtis Painter with an open field tackle at the UO 5-yard line. The Boilers tie the score on a chippy from 22 out. Purdue is up first in the second extra session and gets stuffed by the Ducks, losing 5 yards back to the 30. A 47-yard FG attempt is on its way... It's long enough, looking good... but fades wide of the right post. Enter Chris Harper. Harper scrambles right, loses five. Jeremiah Johnson runs for 9 yards. Blount runs for 10 and a first down. Harper runs for 8 yards, down to the Purdue 3. Blount and done, and all is well in Duck land.
8:30 p.m. - After another hour on the bus back to Indy, it's wheels up and we're off to Eugene. A worn out and mellow crew flies on through the night, watching the rest of the conference - outside of USC and Oregon State - get waxed on the in-flight satellite TV service.
12:30 a.m. - Touchdown in the Emerald Valley. It's good to be home.