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Ducks pile on after Lowe recovers OSU errors.

Byline: Bob Clark The Register-Guard

CORVALLIS - Underneath all those other players, trying to keep his grip on the football that he had just recovered after a fumbled kickoff, Keanon Lowe was getting his question answered.

"I always wondered what it was like under one of those piles and now I know," the Oregon sophomore said. "And I don't want to talk about it."

It's an anything-goes situation. Out of sight of the officials, there are no limits on what players will do to come out of the scrum with possession of the football. Lowe did it twice Saturday, recovering a fumbled kickoff and a muffed punt by Oregon State to help the Ducks score a 48-24 win at Reser Stadium.

"I was just squeezing (the football) and holding on for dear life," Lowe said. "Everybody was on my back and I'm not the biggest guy. I was feeling it, but I wasn't letting go of it

"It's just get it, jump on it, regardless of who's around it (even though) you know it may hurt a little bit."

Lowe's recovery on an Oregon kickoff came immediately after the Ducks had taken a 27-17 lead. When he came out of the pile of players with the football, Oregon had possession at the OSU 34-yard line and quickly expanded the lead to 34-17.

That fumble recovery came on a squibbed kickoff by the Ducks, which they had switched to after OSU's Terron Ward had returned a pair of Oregon kickoffs for 36 and 34 yards. Instead of the usual deep kickoffs, the Ducks had kicker Alejandro Maldonado drive the football down the field on the ground.

"We weren't kicking off very well," special teams coordinater Tom Osborne said. The kickoffs were "not getting high enough, not getting far enough, (were) line drives and (the returner) catches the ball and our guys weren't past the 45-yard line. You could put the Olympic track team out there and you couldn't cover those.

"It was that inconsistency and two bad kicks. We said let's change it and give our guys a chance."

Oregon also made a change on the kicker, going from Rob Beard to Maldonado.

"We gave Rob another chance and it was a Buster Posey line drive" right to the OSU kick returner, Osborne said, noting those kind of kickoffs are regularly returned for good yardage.

After Oregon reverted to the squib kickoffs, OSU's longest return was for 11 yards, and the Ducks had the all-important takeaway they sought.

"We're kicking it to guys who aren't used to handling the ball as much, so there's always a chance of it getting loose," Lowe said.

After the kickoff recovery, Lowe was also the first one on the scene when OSU's Markus Wheaton couldn't corral a punt.

"He's one of those guys who's always around the ball," Osborne said. "Guys who hustle and are around the ball have a chance to make the play."

Lowe said he was simply doing what Osborne "preaches" to the kickoff and punt coverage units.

"You've just got to bust your tail down there and be in position because you never know what's going to happen," Lowe said. "I just sprinted and kept running to the play and was fortunate enough to jump on the ball."
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Title Annotation:Oregon Football; The receiver has a big role on special teams with two fumble recoveries late
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 25, 2012
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