EUGENE, Ore. — They will talk forever in these hills about this game, this instant classic, this controversial, hard-to-believe, wild-west-show of a ballgame won by Oregon 34-33 in a score that doesn't do the drama justice.
Maybe they will say this was the birth of some mysterious, unexplainable force. Maybe they even will christen it Duck Magic.
Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians, even those who walked out of Autzen Stadium with five minutes to go, will say they saw it and stormed the field and danced with glee hard by the Willamette River.
Left to be written is how the Sooners will look on Oregon 2006.
An Oklahoma football program staggered over the last 20 months was poised to return to elite status. Poised to announce its return to national-contender status. Poised to roar again.
Then the Sooners collapsed. Collapsed in a way never before seen in crimson. Collapsed so dramatically, you wonder if it might just hasten the Sooner tailspin.
Said OU linebacker Zach Latimer, "Hurts really bad."
Said tight end Joe Jon Finley, "Hurts more than anything in the world."
Even Bob Stoops, who generally goes light on the descriptive, called the verdict, "frustrating, maddening, whatever you want to say."
Here's why it was maddening. Since January 2005, the Sooners suffered an embarrassing blowout at the hands of USC, a mediocre season in '05 and the Rhett Bomar summer scandal. Yet late on this pristine Oregon afternoon, Oklahoma looked primed to rejoin the big boys.
The Sooners, who seemed in danger of being routed when Oregon took a 10-0 lead and ignited its thunderous crowd, instead seemed ready to roll itself.
Adrian Peterson ran possessed and receivers made circus catches and OU scored 33 points in a 44-minute span.
A gaping OU defense finally found itself, giving up just 10 points over a 51-minute span.
Frankly, considering all factors, including the environment that was everything it was cracked up to be, this was going to be one of the three or four most impressive victories of the Stoops era.