Rowdy Duck fans impress GameDay crew

EUGENE — Lee Corso was the most popular individual on the Oregon campus on Saturday.

Corso, the only host of College GameDay to choose the 11th-ranked Ducks in a premier Pac-10 Conference battle against sixth-ranked California at Autzen Stadium, closed the highly-rated ESPN TV show by popping on a Duck mascot head — signifying his prediction of who would win to the roar of a crowd of several thousand.

Not only did Corso pick Oregon, but he was also animated on the sidelines in the final minutes, and for good reason.

The intense battle toward conference supremacy ended with three Oregon turnovers in the final 4:30, including the potential game-tying touchdown that was fumbled through the end zone for a touchback with 16 seconds remaining — allowing the Bears to escape with a 31-24 victory.

"The team that wins this football game is in the driver's seat to challenge USC for the title," Corso said before the outcome.

In the GameDay crew's first visit to Eugene since 2000, Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler braved the weather and a boisterous crowd that began to gather before the sunrise outside of Autzen Stadium — one of their admitted favorite venues.

Because of the scenery and "different" atmosphere, Corso joked that Herbstreit wanted to move to Oregon.

However, all agreed the major reason for the atmosphere is the fan intensity.

"As good as we've seen," said Herbstreit, who flew to Seattle to help broadcast the evening game between Washington and top-ranked USC shortly after the show ended. "The commitment to come out here at 6 in the morning when it's dark out ... When they show up like this, it's just so flattering. It just blows you away."

That crowd, which set a stadium record of 59,273, is known to be one of the loudest and most raucous in the nation despite seating thousands fewer than most of big-time stadiums.

"Per person, it's the loudest stadium I've ever been in in my entire life," Corso said. "Because of the configuration of the stadium, and the fact that you've got great fans, it makes so much noise in there it's almost unbelievable."

Both Corso and Fowler watched the game from the sideline, with Corso jogging off the field after the Ducks' final turnovers.

Meanwhile, Fowler walked around the melee of Cal players on the field as stunned Oregon fans watched from the bleachers.

"Autzen isn't for the eyes, it's for the ears," Fowler said.


THE IMPORTANT STAT: Oregon won nearly every offensive stat against the Bears on Saturday except perhaps the most important one: turnovers.

The Ducks committed four turnovers — all in the fourth quarter — to the Bears' none.

Entering the game, both teams led the conference in turnover margin at 1.75 per game.


THE FIRST INTERCEPTION: Despite throwing his first and second interceptions of the season, Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon continued several streaks.

With a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Dixon has now scored a rushing touchdown in each of the Ducks' five games this season.

With a 42-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Colvin in the third quarter, Dixon has tossed at least one touchdown in six consecutive games.

Also, his 31 completions and 44 attempts were career highs. Dixon's 306 passing yards —177 in the fourth quarter — marks the second straight game and the third time in his career he's surpassed 300 passing yards.

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