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Michigan ground game comes to a halt

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- As the Oregon players gathered at midfield
to celebrate their upset of Michigan (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP), thousands of
yellow-clad fans poured onto the field to revel with them.

The Ducks (4-0) lingered long after their 31-27 victory
Saturday over the Wolverines (3-1), taking it all in. Coach Mike
Bellotti said it was his biggest nonconference victory.

"Absolutely," Bellotti said. "No question."

Credit Oregon's defense.

The Ducks (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) held Michigan's Chris Perry, the nation's leading
rusher going into the game, to just 26 yards. Michigan's rushing
offense, which averaged more than 307 yards through the first three
games, lost 3 yards on 19 carries.

"They have a good defense," Perry said. "We knew they were
going to be loading up on the run because of their previous games.
Still, I take it all on my shoulders."

Jason Fife, half of Oregon's quarterback tandem with Kellen
Clemens, ran for one touchdown, tailback Terrence Whitehead rushed
for another, and the Ducks were able to take advantage of some key
Michigan errors before 59,023 fans, the largest crowd in Autzen
Stadium's history.

"Everyone was saying Michigan was going to kill us and we'd be
lucky to stay in the game," Clemens said. "If they jump on the
bandwagon now, they jump on the bandwagon. We're still going to
take it one game at a time."

Michigan, making its first road trip of the season, narrowed it
with John Navarre's 36-yard TD pass to Steve Breaston with 2:18
left, but couldn't get any closer.

After Oregon jumped out to and early lead, the Wolverines turned
up the pressure in the fourth quarter.

Navarre's 9-yard scoring pass to Breaston and conversion pass to
Braylon Edwards made it 24-21, but the Ducks answered with Jordan
Carey's fumble recovery in the end zone with 6:55 left.

It started when Keith Lewis blocked Adam Finley's punt. The ball
sputtered just out of reach of Oregon's Ryan Shaw, but free safety
J.D. Nelson got to it, only to fumble on the 1 before Carey landed
on it in the end zone for the score.

Navarre completed 28 of 55 passes for 360 yards and three
touchdowns, but he wasn't able to carry the offense.

Clemens, who started for Oregon, was 15-of-23 for 160 yards,
while Fife was 5-of-8 for 93 yards. For the fourth straight game,
the pair did not throw an interception.

On its first series of the game, Oregon went for it on
fourth-and-1 on Michigan's 25, and Clemens hit Tim Day with a
21-yard pass play to put the Ducks on the 4.

Michigan's defense was able to hold off an Oregon TD, even when
it appeared that Clemens had punched through on a 1-yard keeper. On
fourth down, Oregon was called for a false start and pushed back
five yards.

The Ducks decided to go for the field goal, but Jared Siegel's
22-yard attempt was blocked by Marlin Jackson and scooped up by
Jeremy LeSueur -- who ran untouched 78 yards down field for the
score.

While Finley missed the extra point, Michigan still managed a
6-0 first quarter lead even though the Wolverines' overall time of
possession was just 56 seconds. Oregon had possession for the
remaining 14:04.

"I thought we waited too long offensively," Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr said. "We tried to run the football, but give Oregon
credit. The completely stopped our running game."

The Ducks turned it around early in the second quarter on
Whitehead's 19-yard TD run.

The Wolverines were hurt on the next series when they tried a
fake punt and the snap was fumbled by linebacker Scott McClintock.
Oregon defensive end Igor Olshansky jumped on the ball and the
Ducks went on to score on Jason Fife's 15-yard run.

Oregon further surprised the Wolverines when Steven Moore ran a
punt back 61 yards for a touchdown, making it 21-6 at halftime.

Siegel opened the second half for the Ducks with a 36-yard field
goal.

Michigan narrowed the margin to 21-13 when Navarre hit Jason
Avant with a 23-yard pass that Avant stretched into the end zone.

Michigan, a perennial Big Ten force, authoritatively shut down
Notre Dame 38-0 last Saturday to move up two spots in the national
rankings. And until the loss to the Ducks, Perry was averaging 183
yards a game.

The Wolverines have lost four straight road openers.

The Ducks are 20-0 in nonconference play at Autzen under
Bellotti. Michigan was the highest ranked nonconference opponent
that the Ducks have ever defeated at home.

Oregon jumped into the Top 25 after a 48-10 rout of Arizona last
Saturday.

"This was a big opportunity for us to show everybody we can
play," Moore said. "This win is a big confidence booster for the
rest of the season."

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