How Oregon saw it: Inside the onside kick

Published: September 17, 2006
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Trailing 33-27 after a touchdown with 1:12 left, Oregon tried an onside kick.

Here's how the Ducks saw it:

Luke Bellotti, a walk-on who is coach Mike Bellotti's son, lined up as if to kick to the right side, then changed to the left at the last minute. As he did, several Ducks sprinted to the left side, hoping to outnumber the Sooners.

"It's supposed to overload on one side, so Oklahoma players would be over there," said Oregon receiver Brian Paysinger. "At the last minute, we motioned over so we could outflank 'em and get more of our guys against theirs (on the left side)."

Bellotti kicked the ball high into the air, then hoped.

"I didn't know if it would go 10 yards, but once a receiver touched it, I knew we had a chance. I knew it was high enough, I just didn't know if it was far enough."

OU receiver Malcolm Kelly leaped high for the ball, but couldn't come down with it. Paysinger and several other players leaped at the same moment, making contact with Kelly.

"My job was just to go for the ball, see if I could come down with it," Paysinger said. "I went up, I didn't get a hold of it and it bounced off of them. One of our players got on top of it.

"It felt like I touched it first."

Then, Paysinger was asked the key question: Did the ball travel the required 10 yards to allow the kicking team to corral it?

"It was close. It was very close," Paysinger said. "I was hoping. But we got the ball back.

"Receiving the onside kick is one of the toughest plays to make, but we were able to do it."

By George Schroeder


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