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Saturday, September 13, 2008
Third quarter update: New ballgame, 20-20


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- It was only a matter of time before Oregon broke through.

The Ducks consistently moved the ball throughout the first half but couldn't get the big play to spark them against a resolute Purdue defense. They got one on special teams and appear ready to rally back for a road win.

Speed had been a major concern for Purdue coming into the game, and cornerback Jairus Byrd showed why with an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. Byrd's dash seemed to lift the Oregon offense, which drove 96 yards for a score and got a huge run from backup running back LeGarrette Blount.

If the Boilermakers fall, they'll look back on some wasted opportunities. The offense has stalled since the first quarter and failed to take advantage of solid field position. And big games continue to be Curtis Painter's bugaboo. The senior quarterback has thrown two interceptions and seems uncomfortable passing in the gusty winds and against an aggressive Oregon secondary. If Purdue wins this game, Painter has got to make better decisions and a few big plays. The Ducks held a 418-289 edge in total yards after three quarters. Purdue has only 114 yards after the first quarter.