Sunday Reaction: Best in State? Try the Country


Alabama gave up 630 total yards of offense to Auburn, yet somehow still managed to beat them. Florida State squeaked out another close victory against a mediocre team, meanwhile Florida freshman Gerald Willis got a chance to do what everyone wanted to see (below). To round out the top four, Mississippi State lost by double digits to Ole Miss. Now that covers three of the top four, so what about the other? Oh, you mean Oregon? The team that has handled business week in and week out, excluding the blunder against Arizona?

The Ducks marched into Corvallis to play in the Civil War game, and on the shoulders of Marcus Mariota the Ducks rolled to a victory against their arch-rivals. Not only did they win, though, they absolutely dispatched a promising Beavers team. The 28-point victory was just one of the slew of dominating Oregon victories this season, and in fact, only one of the Ducks’ wins has been decided by fewer than 10 points. Mark Helfrich has made a point all season of taking it ‘one game at a time.’ They come in week in and week out, handling their business in dominating fashion.

With that said, and a good look at last year’s Heisman winner, here are the notes from the game:

1: Mari-G.O.A.T.-a

Mariota has put up a lot of great lines in his career at Oregon, but last night his stat line was special. The line was 367 yards passing, 76% completion rate, four passing touchdowns, 39 yards on the ground and two additional running scores. Forget the fact that his 98.2 adjusted QBR was the highest of his career, the man accounted for as many incompletions (six) as he did touchdowns. BTW — “G.O.A.T.” stands for Greatest of All Time, and right now the Flyin’ Hawaiian is playing like it.

Now, I’m only 18 and for the veteran readers of I’m sure you all have seen a lot of greats come and go through this program, but as I watch Marcus week by week it’s really hard to imagine someone better than what I’m witnessing right now; it’s like the man is playing in a different league than everyone else. He’s all but got a lock on the Heisman Trophy, but honestly it’s not even fair. He simply doesn’t look or play like he belongs in college.

I might not have been able to watch his entire tenure here at Oregon, but for the short glimpse I saw I am forever grateful. This was the birth of a legend, appreciate it folks.

We get it Marcus, geez. No need to actually do the pose in-game.

Brian Davies- Register Guard

Picture perfect.

2: I want to cover my eyes every time we kick the ball off.

I feel like I say this every week, but it’s always one of my biggest notes from the game: special teams, special teams, special teams! Games can be won and lost from the play of special teams units, and right now Oregon is not performing well.

Malcolm Marable, the Beavers’ return man, handled the ball 10 times. Four of those returns went for 30 yards or more, including his first that he broke for 40 yards. Granted he also had returns of 10 and 15 yards, this is still by far the most noticeable issue with the Ducks right now. Kaelin Clay, Ty Montgomery, and now Marable have all been able to exploit the Ducks’ kickoff team, and come playoff time there will be offenses that are of a much higher caliber than Oregon State. Giving the opps the ball on the 40 just won’t cut it.

The buck didn’t stop there though. On the Duck side of the ball, Charles Nelson had a couple of miscues on back-to-back punts; one where he probably should have called a fair catch and got away with the muff that should have been Oregon State’s ball, and another where he simply dropped it and was fortunate enough to watch the ball roll out of bounds.

 3: The big play is there in a BIG way.

Byron Marshall had a field day against OSU.

Kevin Cline

Byron Marshall had a field day against OSU.

Pick a play, any play. I’ll bet you that the Ducks probably got a first down on it. More than 40 percent of the plays the Ducks ran while Mariota was in the game went for first downs, with the primary four RBs averaging more than six yards per carry and Mariota throwing for nearly 15 yards per completion.

Want to talk about a real playmaker though? How about former RB Byron Marshall, who the Ducks converted to basically an athlete on the offense. The guy can catch, run, block – heck, I bet he could even throw a TD if he wanted. Marshall averaged over 20 yards every time he touched the ball on his way to a 165-yard performance.

4: The opposing RB position is our Achilles’ heel on defense, and that’s OK.

All year long the RB position had burned the Ducks on defense, and it was no exception last night. Second-stringer Storm Woods, who was filling in for the injured Terron Ward, accumulated 186 total yards on 28 touches. In fact, he was the only bright spot for an otherwise abysmal Beaver offense.

So why is giving up 186 yards to a backup RB OK? Well, although it’s not ideal, what it’s doing is keeping the ball in front of the Duck D. Screen and swing passes to the RB are fine. What was a huge plus from this game was that the Ducks completely eliminated the big play by the Beaver offense. Coming in to Corvallis defensive coordinator Don Pellum knew Sean Mannion loved to take shots on big plays that took awhile to develop, and the Ducks had all those routes on absolute lock down. Mannion’s longest completion of the night was a 25-yarder, and that was one of only three throws that went for more than 20 yards — out of 39 attempts. Pellum absolutely nailed it. 

5: The Jerseys were sweet … seriously.

This was my second favorite jersey combo of the year outside of the pink and black the Ducks wore for their breast cancer awareness game. Aside from the fact that the jerseys — as my friend so aptly put it — made them “look like peas and corn,” the green and yellow looked great. Thank you, Oregon, for having such rocking school colors.

I think Sandra Bullock said it best in her role in The Blindside.

“I will not wear that gaudy orange.”


Top photo from Kevin Cline

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Caleb Couturie

Caleb Couturie

Caleb is a sophomore at the University of Oregon intending to double major in Journalism and Sports Management. He is the Managing Editor for, along with being a lifetime Saints and San Francisco Giants fan, as Caleb fell in love with sports at a young age and developed that love into a passion for sports analysis. He is looking forward to cheering on the Ducks throughout his career at Oregon, and is always willing to talk sports with any fellow fan.

  • Keith Dennis

    Interesting read, but a couple of points of clarification:

    -Oregon has been in two games decided by less than 10 points. Beating WSU by 7 and losing to AZ by 7.

    -FEI has our special teams rated at 11 in the country. The weakest unit is kick returns, but even those aren’t that bad. A return to the 30 is negligibly different than a touchback to the 25. And most of the returns are ending up inside the 25.

    You make a good point about the Defense that is lost on most national writers (and fans). Oregon keeps the opposing offense in front of them, and it often leads to good things happening: Stalled drives or turnovers.

    • Editor

      Thank you for pointing out that two games were decided by less than ten. It is corrected to state that of the wins, only one was by less than ten.

  • Caleb

    Hey Keith,
    I think in my original post I said that the Ducks have only won one game less by seven. If I said played than that’s my mistake. When I wrote it I was meaning to exclude the Arizona game. As for special teams I don’t think it’s terrible, but I do think it’s our weakest area right now. And those long kickoff returns will burn us when we get in to better competition.

    With all that said, that is me being very nit-picky. If we’re looking for perfection then yes it’d be great for Oregon to clean that stuff up but if they can’t so be it. We’re playing like the best team in the country right now, by far might I add, and Mariota seems to be playing at a godly level.

    All is good in Duck World.

  • Caleb

    Also Keith it’s worth noting that OSU wasn’t getting the ball at the 30. Wogan doesn’t have the leg to get the ball to the endzone, so those 30 yard returns were tacked on to the spot of the kickoff reception (normally around the 8-yard line).

  • uoyeah

    Can everyone please quit using the phrase: “That being said…” or “Having said that…”? It doesn’t make you sound smart. In fact, the phrase is more often than not used improperly, as in the last two FishDuck articles I’ve read.

    • caleb

      I just use it as a way to transition in to my next thought, not as a way to try and sound smart.