Archive for the ‘Recaps/Previews’ Category

Battle for the Crown

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Recaps/Previews

Fresh off another Civil War win, the Ducks are set to host the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game at Autzen Stadium. Their opponents, the downtrodden UCLA Bruins, lost to crosstown rival USC 50-0 and will be consequently searching for a new head coach after this game. This one could get ugly, folks.

An Oregon victory will give them their third-straight conference title, a feat that has been attained just 3 times in the history of the PAC (all by USC). In fact, some people are now beginning to consider if the current state of UO football qualifies as a dynasty. Pretty amazing.


Remember the Trojans?

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Recaps/Previews

Saturday’s loss to USC was a difficult pill to swallow. Perhaps it was that last thread of hope for sneaking into the National Championship Game. Perhaps it was all the other upsets that were lining things up so well for us. Perhaps it was the jubilation of our domination of Stanford, or the pain of seeing the nation’s longest home winning streak coming to an end. Or maybe it was just simply that losing to the Trojans is always a serious bummer, no matter what the circumstances are.

Duck fans have hated USC for quite a while now, and lately I think Trojan fans have been getting a little nervous about Oregon taking the Pac-10/12 throne from them for good. With USC coming off probation, I think we’re going to see the development of an epic rivalry over the next couple of seasons. Stanford should begin their descent after Luck goes pro, and ASU may never get over that hump. So Oregon and the Trojans are primed to be the best two teams on the west coast (sorry Boise), playing for Pac-12 titles, BCS bowl games, and national titles year after year.

Back in the present, we have to realize that our chances at another BCS title game berth were still somewhat remote. In all likelihood, we were headed to the Rose Bowl (not a bad consolation prize), a scenario that hasn’t been compromised despite our most recent loss. However, lest we get too far ahead of ourselves, we turn our attention now to beginning a brand new winning streak as we welcome our little brothers from the north, the Oregon State Beavers, into the House of Loud for the 115th Civil War game!

The Ducks will be looking for their fourth straight win against OSU, the longest streak in the series by either team since UO won four in a row from 1994 to 1997.

* * *

Let’s not kids ourselves. We all know that Saturday’s game between the #4 Stanford Cardinal and the #7 Oregon Ducks will all but decide this year’s conference champion.

Last’s week’s LSU/Bama match-up was dubbed The Game of the Century. Well, this is the Pac-12’s version. The stakes in a conference game haven’t been higher for both teams involved in a very long time. If ever.

The Ducks have only suffered one conference loss in three years under Chip Kelly. That loss was to Stanford. Meanwhile, the Cardinal’s last loss? You guessed it: Oregon.

This will be the first time ESPN’s College Gameday has ever visited “The Farm,” and the third time the Ducks have been featured in the weekly showcased game this season.

There’s really no reason to expect a low-scoring affair. Just check out these stats:
Stanford – 48.2 points per game (3rd nationally)
Oregon – 46 points per game (5th nationally)
Oregon – 298.4 rush yards per game (5th nationally)

Author’s note: Vegas is favoring the Cardinal by 3.5, which I confidently bet against.

With a 34-17 victory, Oregon stretches its recent dominance of the UO/UW Border War to eight straight, the longest streak by either team in the 111-year history of the series.

Turnovers were a huge factor early on, with the Ducks capitalizing on two first half takeaways. Overall, the defense looked stronger than it has perhaps all year, nabbing two interceptions, a fumble, and six sacks. Washington gained less than 400 yards of offense for only the second time this season.

Darron Thomas continued to overthrow several targets, but he was also victimized by some easy drops by his wideouts, namely Daryle Hawkins who failed to reel in 3 or 4 including one in the endzone. I really don’t understand why tight end David Paulson isn’t untilized more often. He’s big, runs good routes, and has surer hands than anyone else in the recieving corps aside from De’Anthony Thomas. Speaking of ‘Snoop Dogg’s godson’: De’Anthony is a nasty, nasty freak on the football field, and finds a way to wow the crowd each and every week. By the time he leaves Oregon he will have given us some of the most electrifying highlights we’ve ever seen. In the meantime, he’s learning from the best running back in the country, LaMichael James, who is somewhat quietly averaging over 150 rushing yards per contest! What a stud.

Next up: Pac-12 Game of the Century – Oregon and Stanford battle in Palo Alto for a berth in the inaugural conference championship game, as well as a chance at an appearance in the BCS National Championship game. No biggie.

Ducks Dominate Desert Duel

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Recaps/Previews

I prepared myself for a back-and-forth shootout, at least for a good portion of the game until we wore Arizona down. And there was a lot of scoring, as the teams took turns making runs, but this one was over early. In fact, after Oregon’s first drive of the game, it looked as though the Wildcats were in big trouble.

Of course, it wasn’t really fair what was asked of them: contain LaMichael James. LMJ took beast-mode to a higher level, once again disrespecting defenders as well as the record books. He broke Oregon’s career rushing touchdowns mark, and his 288 yards on the ground gave him the Ducks’ single-game rushing record. At this point, pretty much every significant Oregon rushing record has LaMichael James’ name next to it.

The stat sheet may not appear overly flattering for the D, but they were facing arguably the second-best quarterback in the league, and as always the Ducks’ tempo yields more opponent possessions. I’m feeling good about this win; I think the team curbed some concerns. It seems like we tend to struggle with conference openers, and especially considering this one was away from home, it was nice to go out there and take ’em to the shed early and often.

Now we have a bye week to rest up and prepare for the big Thursday night match-up with Cal. I’m hopeful that the fact Cal will also be coming off of a bye week provides great motivation to put to rest the notion that teams with time to prepare always beat us. We’ve had to listen to the “blueprint” talk long enough, and it’ll be satisfying to crush the Bears at home and shut them up for a while. Maybe it’s strange to think of this as a revenge game, since we won last year, but to me it kind of feels that way. I can’t wait!

Preparing for Pac-12 Play

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Recaps/Previews

Well, we got mostly what we expected in last week’s win over Missouri State. LaMichael got back on track with a couple of huge runs for scores; a 50-yarder and a 90-yarder. But there are still some concerns about this team heading into conference play, which is weird to say after beating someone 56-7.

Our lack of experience and depth are showing more than I expected in the offseason. We’re looking young, and the run defense is pretty weak right now. Luckily, the Wildcats of Arizona have the Pac-12’s worst rated rushing game. They actually rank dead last in total defense too, and their offensive line has failed to protect stud QB Nick Foles, giving up seven sacks. Those are some pretty attractive stats to an opposing team, but don’t let ’em fool you too much. Remember: Arizona’s coming off of two straight contests against top-10 teams (Oklahoma State and Stanford).

I haven’t given Foles a ton of respect over the last couple years, but after seeing him start 17-for-17 against the Cardinal last week, I’m think I’m ready to admit that he’s pretty darn good. I’m hopeful that despite losing senior o-lineman Ramsen Golpashin (possibly for the year) the offense can continue to gel. If we can get off to a fast start, the Cats should have a difficult time keeping up.

The Ducks bounced back big time last weekend, beating Nevada by 49 points.

Darron Thomas clearly felt he had something to prove after a frustrating season-opener in Dallas. He chucked 6 TDs, matching a record shared by Danny O’Neil (1994) and Joey Harrington (2000 & 2001). It’s obvious Oregon made the passing game a point of emphasis, needing to get their wideouts and O-linemen up to speed in time for Pac-12 play.

Despite some struggles, LaMichael James made a big impact, scoring on the ground, through the air, and on a studly punt return. De’Anthony Thomas also performed very well in his first game at Autzen.

There were a few minor injuries, but luckily the Ducks can afford to let those guys heal on the bench when they host FCS Missouri State. Looking ahead to that game, the main question is whether they’ll break last year’s record-setting shellacking of New Mexico. It could happen…