Roper And Stewart Lead Oregon Over South Florida, 56-21

Jonathan Stewart set a Sun Bowl record with a career-high 253 yards rushing

Dec. 31, 2007's Run & Shoot: Oregon Explodes All Over USF

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Jonathan Stewart set a Sun Bowl record with a career-high 253 yards rushing and Justin Roper threw four touchdown passes in his first start as Oregon beat South Florida 56-21 on Monday.

The Ducks (9-4) scored 28 straight points in the third quarter to snap a four-game postseason losing streak, their first bowl win since beating Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2001 season.

Oregon made it look easy against the Bulls (9-4), who boasted one of the nation's better defenses. Credit the steady play by Roper, a redshirt freshman, and Stewart, as smooth a runner as you'll find.

The Ducks won for the first time since losing quarterback Dennis Dixon to a knee injury in November, snapping a three-game losing streak. How easy was it for the Ducks? They won handily despite setting a Sun Bowl record with 138 penalty yards.

Roper started the scoring avalanche with a 14-yard TD strike to Jaison Williams and added a 15-yard scoring pass to Ed Dickson.

On the next play from scrimmage, Walter Thurmond stepped in front of a pass by South Florida's Matt Grothe and returned it 25 yards for another TD, giving the Ducks a 39-14 lead midway through the third.

But these hard-hitting quackers weren't finished. Grothe had another interception on the ensuing possession, the first of two for Oregon's Jairus Byrd, setting up Roper's 8-yard TD pass to Stewart.

On that drive, Stewart got free on a 16-yard gain, breaking the previous Sun Bowl record of 197 yards rushing set in 1977 by LSU's Charles Alexander in a 24-14 loss to Stanford.

Just like that, Oregon's 18-14 halftime lead had swelled to 46-14.

For good measure, Matt Evensen added a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and defensive end Michael DiVincenzo returned an interception for a touchdown with 3:23 remaining.