Ducks re-Buff-ed in Aloha
The Associated Press
HONOLULU -- Colorado took advantage of Oregon's charitable mood Friday to win the Aloha Bowl.
The Buffaloes converted four of six Ducks turnovers into scores, Ben Kelly ran back the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Mike Moschetti set an Aloha Bowl record with four TD passes in Colorado's 51-43 victory over No. 21 Oregon.
Colorado (8-4) held off a fourth-quarter rally by Oregon (8-4), in which the Ducks scored three touchdowns before being stopped on their final possession of the game.
We made too many mistakes early, Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. When you make as many mistakes as we did, and they're damaging mistakes ... you don't expect to win against that many football teams.
Moschetti threw touchdown passes of 72 yards to Darrin Chiaverini, 58 yards to Marcus Stiggers, 20 yards to Daniel Graham and 5 yards to Javon Green to lead the Buffaloes, who were playing in the school's 1,000th game.
Damon Wheeler had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown for Colorado and Jeremy Aldrich kicked field goals of 48, 41 and 23 yards to set an Aloha Bowl record for most field goals as the teams combined for the most points in the 17-year history of the game.
We talked about being able to control the line of scrimmage as one of our goals. The other was to get back in the big-play business, Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel said. They did a great job in containing our running game, but they also left themselves vulnerable to big plays.
Running back Derien Latimer had three touchdowns for Oregon. Quarterback Akili Smith scored on a 1-yard run and passed for second-half scores of 9 yards to Jed Weaver and 42 yards to Donald Haynes.
Smith's touchdown to Haynes cut the Colorado lead to 51-43 with 5:55 to play. The Ducks stopped Colorado on a fake punt on the next series, taking over at their own 43 with 3:11 to play. But the Buffaloes' defense held Oregon on fourth down and ran out the clock.
We dug as deep as we could, Smith said. We just came up short.
Moschetti was 11 of 23 for 213 yards. Chiaverini caught three passes for 96 yards, and Stiggers had three receptions for 81 yards.
Smith completed 24 of 46 passes for 456 yards, with the two touchdowns and two interceptions. Donald Haynes had seven catches for 148 yards and a score for the Ducks, while Damon Griffin had eight catches for 146 yards.
Moschetti and Smith were named the game's most valuable players.
The 94 points scored by both teams break's the bowl's record of 81 points scored in 1995, when Kansas beat UCLA 51-30. The 51 points scored by Colorado ties the record for most points by one team set by Kansas and matched by Washington last year.
Colorado scored 17 points in the first quarter despite generating just one first down. Kelly started the game by taking the opening kickoff and racing untouched down the right sideline for the longest kick return in Colorado's bowl history.
We wanted to start off the game with a big play ... and that's what happened, Kelly said. Everybody made their blocks and there was nothing but green.
Two fumbles by Oregon running back Herman Ho-Ching led to the next two Colorado scores. Ho-Ching's first fumble gave the Buffaloes the ball at the Ducks' 34, but the Oregon defense held and Aldrich kicked a 48-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Two series later, Ho-Ching fumbled again and Colorado converted the miscue into a touchdown. Starting at the Oregon 34, Stiggers raced around right end for 28 yards, setting up a 5-yard scoring pass from Moschetti to Green.
Colorado expanded the lead to 37-14 at halftime on Aldrich's 23-yard field goal with two seconds left. The score was set up by a 59-yard run by Dwayne Cherrington, who had 92 yards on 10 carries.
The Colorado drive started after Oregon advanced to the Buffaloes' 2-yard line before John Sanders intercepted a fourth-down Smith pass in the end zone. Sanders also recovered a fumble deep in Colorado territory to kill a third-quarter Oregon drive.