There has been a hiatus over the past couple weeks for Wednesday’s Duckstory – sorry about that! Now we’re back on track and today’s Duckstory will be a look back at the 1990 Freedom Bowl against Colorado State. In 1990 Oregon was still under the leadership of head coach Rich Brooks. The team was 8 – 3 that year going into the Freedom Bowl at Anaheim Stadium in CA. Their only losses were against Arizona, Washington and California (all away games for the Ducks). Colorado St. had not seen a bowl game since 1948 and were underdogs going into the game against Oregon.
Oregon’s quarterback that year was senior Bill Musgrave who had led the team to a victory in the Independence Bowl the year before. This would be Oregon’s first ever consecutive bowl game appearance. Musgrave would end up drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the NFL draft. It was an extremely close game so let’s take a look…
This game really came down to the very end with Oregon ending up losing by one point. Oregon and Colorado St. traded touchdowns in the first quarter (Oregon’s coming from Anthony Jones) with Colorado St. scoring first. The Ducks were dogged down by mistakes and ended up with five fumbles resulting in a loss of possession three times.
In the second quarter Oregon scored first with a field goal by Michael McClellan. The Rams were able to match that touchdown but before the end of the second Oregon struck again with a touchdown from Sean Burwell. This put Oregon up 17 – 14 going into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be a trying one for the Ducks. The Rams were able to hold Oregon scoreless in the third quarter which gave them a chance to make up some ground despite Oregon’s stellar defensive performance. Colorado St.’s first score in the third quarter came from a fumble recovery in the end zone putting 2 points on the board. Then it was a field goal for the Rams later in the third putting Colorado St. up by 2 points as they rolled into the fourth quarter.
The Ducks were still very much in this game despite the mistakes and it got exciting in the fourth with both teams scoring their most points in any quarter. Oregon’s Michael McClellan scored first early in the fourth quarter by a pass from Musgrave and successful two-point conversion. Colorado St. got the next two touchdowns putting them in the lead again with under five minutes to go, but Oregon still had hope after they blocked a Rams’ extra point attempt. Now it was time for Oregon to pull out a comeback and it looked extremely likely as Musgrave led a 79-yard drive ending in a touchdown by freshman Sean Burwell with only 61 seconds left in the game. This put Oregon down by only one so the inevitable two point conversion took place – Brooks made the decision to go for the win, not the tie. Musgrave’s pass was completed to Michael McClellan but the attempt was stopped Colorado St. leaving the Ducks one point short.
Oregon ended up losing the game 31 – 32 after that failed two-point conversion. Despite the loss Musgrave came out with a few highlights; he threw for the second highest total in the Freedom Bowl’s history and tied the record with 29 completions.
Next week let’s take a look at the 1992 Independence Bowl against Wake Forest.