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Bye comes at right time for Dixon

EUGENE — Dennis Dixon is taking a break.

Oregon's senior quarterback, getting ever-increasing Heisman buzz, is taking advantage of the team's bye this weekend to rest a sprained left knee.

Dixon hurt it during Saturday's 35-23 victory over the previously unbeaten Arizona State Sun Devils.

When Dixon went down in the fourth quarter, the sellout crowd at Autzen Stadium gasped and then fell silent.

When Dixon rose and walked unaided to the sidelines, fans chanted "Dixon! Dixon!"

A group in the student section unfurled a banner reading "Dixon For Heisman."

The quarterback did not return to the game, but he didn't limp as he scampered off the field at the end of the game. A precautionary MRI revealed only a sprain.

"I'm feeling good. I got a little banged up, but I have two weeks to prepare," Dixon said. "When I jogged off the field, I knew I was OK."

This week, backup Brady Leaf was practicing with Oregon's first unit. Dixon could return to practice by Friday, coach Mike Bellotti said.

Against Arizona State, Dixon completed 13 of 22 passes for 189 yards and four touchdowns for No. 3 Oregon (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10), and rushed 11 times for 57 yards.

Dixon earned Pacific-10 Conference co-player of the week honors for the third time this season with the performance. He shared the award with Washington tailback Louis Rankin.

No other Oregon player has been the league's player of the week three times in a season.

On the season, Dixon has passed for 2,074 yards and 20 touchdowns with only three interceptions.


REED GETS PROPS, TOO: Oregon defensive end Nick Reed joined Dennis Dixon in landing conference player of the week honors.

Reed had 11 tackles, five solo, including five tackles for losses and 3.5 quarterback sacks during Oregon's 35-23 victory over Arizona State.

Oregon's defense sacked Sun Devil QB Rudy Carpenter nine times.

Reed becomes Oregon's first defensive player since 1997 to win a pair of the league's weekly honors. Peter Sirmon won two that year.

It also is the first time that a pair of Oregon players from each side of the ball have won the honor together since Nov. 8, 1997, when Akili Smith and Sirmon each won.


WILLIAMS APOLOGIZES: Oregon receiver Jaison Williams apologized for an expletive he printed on his glove for the Arizona State game that was visible in a photograph published in the Register-Guard newspaper on Sunday.

"First and foremost, to anyone who was offended by that, it wasn't intentional, by any means," Williams told the newspaper on Monday. "It was more for me to see as a private note. Unfortunately, I picked a bad choice of words. ..."

Williams said the note was to remind him not to get too down on himself. He also wrote "It happens."

Williams apologized to coach Mike Bellotti, and planned to talk to the rest of the team.

Register-Guard managing editor Dave Baker also apologized to the newspaper's readers.

"Had we seen the offensive message we wouldn't have run the photo," Baker said. "It's really important that readers understand that. Given the deadline pressure and the volume of sports news we had to deal with that evening, we simply didn't see it."


EXTRA POINTS: Freshman Casey Matthews will take over at middle linebacker for the Ducks, replacing John Bacon, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the game against Arizona State. Bacon is out for the season.