With a 66-3 steamrolling of the Nicholls Colonels, rookie head coach Mark Helfrich and the 2013 Oregon Ducks showed that they won’t skip a beat after the departure of Chip Kelly. Helfrich displayed the ability to run the offense just as well as Chip – though he must now show the same consistency, as Kelly took the Ducks to a BCS bowl game every season in his four years as head coach.
The Ducks set multiple offensive records, tallying 772 total yards and featuring three 100-yard rushers with Byron Marshall, Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas all contributing to their team rushing total of 500 yards. De’Anthony Thomas displayed his conditioning and durability in the intense Saturday sun, finishing with 19 touches (one reception) for 130 total yards and two TD’s. Marshall showed a great burst, and backup running backs Ayele Ford, Kenny Bassett, and Lane Roseberry all had carries in the second half. Colt Lyerla added a rushing TD and 17 yards on 3 carries. Freshman Thomas Tyner did not play, possibly as a precaution for a minor foot injury he sustained during fall camp.
The defense was dominant, allowing 343 yards in 40+ minutes of time on the field. The Ducks held Nicholls to just 2.4 yards per carry on 37 rushing attempts, and defended the pass well, allowing the Colonels to complete only half of their 50 passing attempts. Things get tougher for the Ducks next week when they fly east to play the University of Virginia Cavaliers.