No. 2 Oregon's loss boosts MU football team

Friday, November 16, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:02 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TUCSON, Ariz. — Oregon's national title dream has ended.

Quarterback Dennis Dixon's Heisman Trophy campaign also took a heavy blow.

The curse of No. 2 claimed another victim when the second-ranked Ducks lost Dixon to a knee injury and never recovered in a 34-24 upset by Arizona on Thursday night.

With Oregon’s loss, BCS No. 5 Missouri likely controls its own destiny to play for the national championship. The Tigers would move ahead of No. 2 Oregon with a win at Kansas State, and would play No. 3 Kansas and potentially No. 4 Oklahoma on the following two weekends.

In addition, quarterback Chase Daniel’s Heisman hopes may soar with Oregon’s loss and Dixon’s injury.

Oregon (8-2, 5-2 Pac-10) became the fifth No. 2 team to lose since Oct. 6, following USC, California, South Florida and Boston College.

Dixon, Oregon's gifted starting quarterback, hurt his left knee on an option play in the first quarter. Dixon crumpled to the turf without being touched and took Oregon's national championship hopes with him.

Dixon sprained the same knee on Nov. 3 against Arizona State. Dixon wore a brace but said he felt good in warm-ups, and he flashed his usual explosiveness in a 39-yard touchdown run on the game's opening series.

"Coming into this game, I felt totally confident," he said. "My foot got caught in the ground. That's just the way football is."

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said he didn't know if Dixon, a senior, might be lost for the season. He didn't seem confident Dixon would return for Oregon's next game at UCLA on Nov. 24.

Antoine Cason returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown and an interception 42 yards for another score as the Wildcats shook up the national title race on a cool night in the desert. Red-clad students poured out of the grandstand as the Wildcats (5-6, 4-4) ambushed a ranked team in Arizona Stadium for the fourth straight season under coach Mike Stoops, all in November. Oregon is the highest-ranked visitor to lose at Arizona since the Wildcats knocked off No. 1 Washington on Nov. 7, 1992.

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