The Oregon Ducks are officially the hottest team in college football. If dominance combined with the ability to overcome adversity is what the college football playoff committee wants to see in 2014, then Oregon may have provided them with everything they need to move the Ducks to the top spot in the rankings. Not only did Oregon redeem its only blemish with a 51-13 shellacking over Arizona last night, the Ducks overcame injuries, 10 first-half penalties, and early offensive struggles to do it.
The defense demonstrated Oregon’s balance, allowing only 224 yards of total offense to an Arizona team that averages 461 per game. If you take out a 69-yard touchdown pass due to blown coverage and a 25-yard touchdown run as time expired in the game, the Ducks allowed only 130 total yards to the Wildcats.
“They run an offense similar to ours, because you try to put people on their heels,” said head coach Mark Helfrich. “I thought our guys did an exceptional job of attacking. It’s not read and react. It’s read and attack… We made a ton of great one-on-one tackles in close quarters and in space, and that’s what you have to do against a team like this.”
Marcus Mariota had something to prove himself as he put the finishing touches on his Heisman resume. Five total touchdowns and 346 total yards against a team that has plagued the offense for the last two years is about as good as you can get. Mariota’s 53 total touchdowns are already more than Cam Newton (50), Robert Griffin III (47), Johnny Manziel (47) Jameis Winston (44) recorded during their respective Heisman campaigns.
“If this guy isn’t what the Heisman Trophy is about,” said Helfrich, “then I’m in the wrong profession… If you want your son or daughter to have a role model, pick this guy.”
Now Oregon gets to sit back and watch the chaos unfold on Championship Weekend, having done everything it could on both sides of the ball to cement itself as the most dominant team in the second half of the 2014 season.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline