As we continue to get closer to September I’m sitting in Portland with continuous rain outside and remembering some fond Autzen Stadium memories. With inspiration from a recent DuckPond thread about favorite Autzen memories, I thought I’d provide a spot here for you to share yours.
Beginning the year I started school at the U of O in 1999 I have gone to dozens of football games at Autzen Stadium and even in that short amount of time the atmosphere has really changed. Over all those football seasons I have to admit that one of my very favorite memories was the Oregon vs. Oklahoma game in September of 2006. Yes, the one that was so disappointing as an Oregon fan the next day but was magical at the stadium. We had started the festivities off with some pre-game tailgating with fellow Duck fans and a couple friends who were in town from Oklahoma for the game. Finally it was time for kick-off and we were in our GA seats totally pumped up and ready for a great game. We were LOUD that day at Autzen. It was one of the loudest games I had witnessed in the stadium up to that point.
So fast forward to the fourth quarter, really to the last 72 seconds. Dennis Dixon was the Oregon quarterback that year and suddenly it was as if Oregon could do no wrong. It looked as if the game was over for the Ducks, they were down by 13 points with under 2 minutes on the clock. Fans were already flooding out of the stadium but my philosophy has always been to stay until the bitter end because you never know what could happen. Dennis Dixon ran the ball in for a TD with 1:12 on the clock – we were going crazy and anticipating the onside kick, it happened and it was successful after some review from the refs. The Ducks had the opportunity to score again…and they did. With 0:46 on the clock Dixon completed a TD pass to Brian Paysinger. The Ducks were miraculously leading with under a minute left. The remaining crowd at Autzen was going nuts, I was going nuts, and I would have no voice left after this game. The Oklahoma fans were stunned. I had never witnessed something like this during a live game – it was pure joy as a Duck fan in that stadium.
The game would end with the Ducks blocking an Oklahoma field goal attempt and finishing the game victorious 34 – 33. It was amazing; the stadium was buzzing, camera flashes around Autzen were lighting up the scene. I think my mouth was agape until I exited to the parking lot. It was a celebration and fans that had left early were huddled around various radios and TVs in the parking lot listening in on the action they had walked out of. In the stadium we did not see the continuous replays showing the onside kick controversy. We were in a different world than the viewers at home. Of course the next day it was all over the news that the refs had made a bad call and Oregon should have not recovered the onside kick. It was disappointing to say the least but it will never change the experience I had that night at Autzen Stadium where I witnessed what looked like the most magical comeback I had ever seen.
Share your stories of your favorite Autzen memories! I think it will be another fantastic year for the Ducks despite the off-season hiccups and it will all start with a huge season opener against LSU. GO DUCKS!!!!