Oregon hangs on to down Boilermakers in thriller, 38-36
EUGENE — The Oregon Ducks put suspended running back LeGarrette Blount and Boise State behind them by holding off Purdue 38-36 on Saturday night.
Trailing 38-30, Boilermakers junior wide receiver Keith Smith found Aaron Valentin with a 15-yard touchdown pass on a fake reverse with 1:01 left. But Kyle Adams caught Joey Elliott's pass to tie it 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. Blount left the field for the game.
The Ducks settled for a 28-yard field goal from Morgan Flint to go up 3-0 early in the first quarter.
The Boilermakers came back with a quick drive that ended with Jaycen Taylor's 5-yard run to take the lead, but Oregon's Andre Crenshaw capped an equally quick drive with a 2-yard TD dash and the Ducks were ahead 10-7.
Bolden had a 14-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to put the Boilermakers back in front.
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 1-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. Masoli completed 11 of 21 passes for 163 yards for Oregon. He also led the Ducks' rushers in Blount's absence with 84 yards.
Elliott went 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. The Ducks defeated Purdue 32-26 in double overtime last year in West Lafayette. Blount rushed for 131 yards, including a 3-yard winning plunge.