In five ugly minutes, No. 16 Oregon’s 19-8 loss to No. 14 Boise State went from a statement win for the Broncos to a blemish for Oregon.
After the final horn, as players and coaches mingled on the blue turf, senior running back LeGarrette Blount got into an altercation with a Boise State player, punching Bronco defensive end Byron Hout in the mouth. Footage also shows Blount hitting one of his own players during the confrontation.
Video of the incident shows Hout approaching Blount from behind and pushing him while he was looking the other way. Then Blount turned around and punched Hout in the jaw with his right fist.
Then, as Bronco fans booed him and the rest of the Ducks off the field, Blount had to be restrained near the south end zone stands when a few Boise State fans got in his face.
Blount said one fan raised a chair at him and he approached the fan. Then another fan, hit him in the face, the running back said. However, in video reviews, there didn’t appear to be any fan with a chair near the players’ tunnel. Wide receivers coach Scott Frost, an Oregon player and a police officer all had to restrain Blount.
After the game, Blount talked to reporters about the incident, and he was significantly calmer.
“I apologize to everyone who was watching this,” he said. “I apologize to all of our fans, all of Boise’s fans. It’s something I shouldn’t have done. I lost my head and I shouldn’t have taken it that far.”
Head coach Chip Kelly said the coaches and Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti will examine the incident tomorrow to determine whether Blount will be suspended for any significant time.
“I didn’t see the altercation,” Kelly said. “But there’s no place for that anywhere. We don’t condone any of that and we’ll take care of it.”
Fifteen minutes after the game, the video of Blount’s postgame escapade already had been broadcast on ESPN’s SportsCenter and put up on YouTube. And although Blount’s tirade did overshadow the game, Boise State fans can relish in the fact that Oregon was solidly beat.
“Boise State is a very good football team,” Kelly said. “You’re not going to win that many football games when you can’t run the football … I thought our defense battled. We left them on the field way too long, though.”
In the first half, Boise State held the ball for 24 minutes, while the Ducks’ offense was on the field for six minutes. The Ducks went into halftime with no first downs and just 14 yards of offense on 16 plays.
“In the first half our offense stalled completely,” Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said. “We put up a big zero for first downs. We had no idea that we were going to start out like that.”
Masoli finished 14-for-27 for the game with 121 yards, one interception and a rushing touchdown. He accounted for 135 of Oregon’s 152 total offensive yards.
Meanwhile, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore looked like the seasoned veteran. He started the game 9-of-10 throwing and finished 19-for-29 with 197 yards and a touchdown. His two running backs, D.J. Harper and Jeremy Avery also shined, with the two running for a combined 162 yards.
All in all, the Broncos outgained the Ducks 361-152.
“I think that Kellen Moore is one of the best quarterbacks in the country,” Kelly said. “He’s very accurate and puts the ball exactly where it needs to go. He’s the whole package.”
Oregon did look like it had some life in the third quarter after scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion to cut the lead to 19-8 Boise with 4:21 left in the third quarter. However, after the Ducks forced a fumble on Boise’s next possession, Masoli threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage with 2:22 left in the third. The Ducks held the Broncos on their next possession, but two more fumbles (one by Oregon, then one by Boise State) left both teams at a draw.
Then the Ducks had two more three and outs, and Boise State ate up more clock. And Oregon couldn’t score again.
“I’m proud of the kids; I think they played really hard,” defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said. “You never are satisfied after a loss. We stuck with our plan and didn’t change a whole lot. They did have that one drive to start with, which ate up a lot of clock, and that
really hurt our offense because they thrive on having the ball.”
“But Boise State played hard. You can’t take that away from them,” Aliotti added. “If someone would have said that we would give up 17 points I would think that we would have won. But we lost. It was just one of those days.”
Now the Ducks say they’re going to regroup and move on. But in the madness at the end of the game, it might be without Blount.
“Back to the drawing board tomorrow and have our little team meeting and talk about it and regroup as men,” Masoli said. “This is just one loss. This doesn’t make or break our season. That’s what we’re going to get across to our guys tomorrow.”
As for Blount, he’s not sure about his future.
“I expect to play as of now, but if I don’t there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “I’m just going to let the coaches handle it. Again, I apologize for what happened. I just have never let it get that far.”