There was a time when Oregon scheduled prestigious programs simply for a payday. After nearly two decades of success, this respected program schedules these games to garner the attention of the country. On September 11th, Oregon will look to add Tennessee to their list of victims. The following is a ranking of Oregon's top non-conference victories of the past decade.
August 30, 2003. Davis Wade Stadium. Starkville, Mississippi
Mississippi State 34
The season opener of 2003 set the tone for a 4-0 start and a finishing record of 8-5. Playing a night game against an SEC team on the road was pivotal for the respect of the program. The Bulldogs rallied with 13 points in the fourth quarter to make the game closer than the final score indicated. Samie Parker and Demetrius Williams combined for 263 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
September 7, 2002. Autzen Stadium. Eugene, Oregon
Fresno State 24
The Ducks improved to 2-0 on the season after squeezing by the Bulldogs and coach Pat Hill. Onterrio Smith scored with 1:07 remaining to complete the Oregon comeback. Jason Fife passed for 303 yards, and Smith rushed for 124 yards. The team opened the season 6-0, and ranked as high as eighth in the polls, before losing six of seven, including a bowl loss to Wake Forest.
September 19, 2009. Autzen Stadium. Eugene, Oregon
After an opening season loss at Boise State, the Ducks bounced back to beat Purdue and Utah, saving a Pac-10 championship season. Utah came into Autzen ranked 18th, and riding a 16-game winning streak. Oregon dominated the majority of the contest, and held off the Utes with a key fourth quarter interception by John Boyett. In a breakout game of sorts, LaMichael James ran for 152 yards.
September 17, 2005. Autzen Stadium. Eugene, Oregon
Fresno State 34
After dominating Houston and Montana to open the 2005 campaign, the Ducks rallied from 17 down to defeat the Bulldogs by three. Kellen Clemens threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns, and Demetrius Williams caught eight balls for 95 yards and two touchdowns. The Ducks finished the season at 10-2 with defeats to USC at home, and to Oklahoma in the Holiday Bowl.
September 13, 2008. Ross-Ade Stadium. West Lafayette, Indiana
The Ducks needed two overtimes and a couple missed field goals to push their opening record to 3-0 on the season. The Big Ten Boilermakers dominated Oregon for the majority of the game, leading 20-6 until big plays from Jairus Byrd and LaGarrette Blount quickly swung the games momentum. Oregon finished the season 10-3, with a victory over Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl.
September 8, 2007. Michigan Stadium. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Both teams entered the game unranked, with Michigan coming off an epic loss at home to Appalachian State. Oregon dominated the game leading by 25 at halftime, and handed the Wolverines their worst defeat since 1968. Dennis Dixon passed for 292 yards with three touchdowns, and Jonathan Stewart collected 111 yards on the ground. The Ducks finished the season at 9-4 with a victory over South Florida in the Sun Bowl.
September 16, 2006. Autzen Stadium. Eugene, Oregon
One of the most controversial games to be played at Autzen Stadium, Oregon recovered an onside kick 1:12 left in the game. Dennis Dixon then proceeded to find Brian Paysinger for the game leading touchdown with 46 seconds remaining. The Ducks blocked a 44 yard Sooner field goal to end the game. The Ducks finished the season a disappointing 7-6 including four straight defeats to finish 2006.
September 1, 2001. Autzen Stadium. Eugene, Oregon
Redemption for a 2000 defeat in Madison, Oregon defeated the Badgers on their way to a 6-0 opening record before finishing the epic season at 11-1 ranked second in the nation. Wisconsin entered the season opener ranked 22nd, while the 7th ranked Ducks were coming off a Holiday Bowl victory over Texas.
September 20, 2003. Autzen Stadium. Eugene, Oregon
This game marked the first time a prestigious powerhouse program was entering Autzen Stadium since Oregon became nationally respected. Both teams entered the contest undefeated, with third ranked Michigan gaining attention from the media as the best team in the country. The Ducks held down running back Chris Perry, and dominated the first half of the game. Michigan rebounded in the second half with strong plays from Braylon Edwards and the Michigan offense in a comeback they wouldn't complete. The Ducks finished the season 8-5 with a defeat to Minnesota in the Sun Bowl.