One Team, One City, One Love. Go Ducks.

Oregon vs Arizona

If you are looking for an explanation as to why the Ducks lost, you’ve come to the wrong place. Likewise, if you are looking for someone to point a finger at, again, turn around now. I know, probably not the best way to begin this article, but I have a lot to say with an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

Let me make this point right now: I think the Ducks have some of the best talent in college football. I am excited to be a Duck fan, no matter any outcome. I implore any Duck fan to be the same. Thursday’s loss against the Wildcats does not define our season. There is no curse of the Ducks. I love Oregon football. Nothing will ever change that. Through every triumph and every loss, true fans should wear the Oregon “O” proudly.

Remember when the Ducks struggled for a winning record?

Puddles the Duck doing his trademark push ups following the score.

Kevin Cline

The Duck doing his trademark push ups following the score.

The game could have gone in several other directions. Bad calls happen. Do I think that the Arizona fumble in the second half that was returned for a Ducks touchdown should have been six points for the Ducks? Yes. Did Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost have our playbook on lockdown? It sure felt like it.

Do I think that the personal foul call against Tony Washington in the fourth quarter was bogus? Absolutely. Even if that penalty wasn’t called, we could have gotten the ball back with time on the clock and still not have scored. We just don’t know. My point is that bad calls are inevitable. It comes down to how the players adjust to the circumstance.

Oregon fans watching anxiously from the student section.

Craig Strobeck

Oregon fans anxiously watching from the student section.

When I see fans leaving the stadium with 2:05 still left on the clock in a 3rd and 5 situation, I am disappointed. True Ducks stay with the flock until the clock hits 0:00.

When I hear our fans booing at the play calling from the coaching staff, I am disappointed. Booing does not pump the team up. Under no circumstance should we ever boo our beloved Ducks, coaches, or players. How do you think the players feel?

The two fans sitting directly behind me at the game said that Mariota and Royce Freeman’s remarkable play of the game didn’t matter because we lost. I couldn’t believe my ears. It was an amazing play that took talent and trust. The loss doesn’t define how the game was played.

Okay, now to liven the mood a bit. I noticed two acts of true leadership from the Ducks. First off, freshman Tyrell Crosby (73) struggled to find his feet on the offensive line. I then saw Jake Fisher instructing him on the sideline about technique and strategy to better prepare him for the next series. That is a teammate.

Then at the end of the fourth quarter when the Wildcats were in the red zone, I saw linebacker Tyson Coleman (33) pumping up his teammates on defense before the next play. I love seeing that. I love seeing our Ducks pumped up on the field, pouring their heart and soul into every play. That is when good teams become great.

Players and fans celebrate following Mariota's (8) great touchdown run.

Craig Strobeck

Players and fans celebrate following Mariota’s (8) great touchdown run.

I remember interviewing Keanon Lowe (7) at the beginning of the season about preseason rankings. He responded with, “Rankings don’t mean anything. They are just a number and only matter at the end of the season.”

If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. A team cannot pass through by blowing out unranked opponents week after week and expect to do well later in the season. After all the hours studying film, teams will eventually adapt. From then on, it comes down to pure football, where talent, grit, and heart will take you to the finish. Fans have the amazing capability of feeding a team with positive energy.

Ducks and Wildcats gather at center field following the game in prayer.

Craig Strobeck

Ducks and Wildcats gather in prayer at center field following the game.

We learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes. Take this as an opportunity to see what a team can really be made of. Losses build character and develop players. At the end of the game, captains Mariota (8), Arik Armstead (9), and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) gave away their jerseys to a little boy. Doesn’t that act just put life into perspective?

Life, like football, is not about the amount of wins on a football field. That moment with the boy was beautiful; I even saw Mariota in tears. I think we have to remember that these young men feel enough pressure already in their day-to-day lives – balancing their education as well as a college sport is a difficult task.

To be a part of a nationally-ranked team as well as being a successful student is something to be proud of — something we should cheer on. The atmosphere at Autzen should be crazy-wild and supportive. I look forward to my ears aching, voice gone, and splitting headache the morning following a Ducks game, regardless of the outcome. We are one team, one program, one city. We are all Ducks — and Ducks fly together.

Top photo by Craig Strobeck

 

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Ashley Young

Ashley Young

Ashley Young is current senior at the University of Oregon and grew up an avid Seattle Seahawks fan, despite all the ups and downs of past seasons. She has made her way to the University of Oregon and now loves watching the Ducks dominate in all sports. In her spare time, she has discovered a passion through the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and is a co-captain for the University of Oregon Women's Ultimate team, last year's national champions. Twitter: @AshleyHopeYoung

  • themilman

    Well written article and your points are soundly made. It was a painful loss but the season is far from over. Remember that this program has the most wins OF ANY PROGRAM in this decade. Let not ye heads hang low. Go Ducks.

  • Michael Oaks

    Well said, If we believe the team played better against AZ than WSU, then the offensive line is learning! I do and appreciate your article Ashley!

  • maddog48

    I guess I take some exception to the criticism about fans booing the performance of the players and/or play calling. I will note that I have never booed an Oregon team nor will I. That being said, given the substantial prices charged non-student fans to attend games I believe those fans have paid for the right to boo what they perceive as poor play and/or play calling. Somehow by the time these players and coaches get to this level I suspect they have developed a thick skin when it comes to fans booing whether they are fans of the Ducks or our opponents.

  • Dan

    I guess FishDuck becomes a sunshine pampering site after a loss.

    Arizona is not even close to the toughest team we’ll face the rest of the season.

  • disqus_Zh8hDRwXyI

    Analysis paralysis. Very supportive read, Ash. Hope those of a fickle nature who show up late for the halves of games appreciate your downy chastising.

  • bill wilson

    What I say to a simple mined idiot who boos a team who has a bad game is, get your pads and helmet on and get your skinny little a$$ out there and do better.

    bill