Balanced Ducks Make Case for No.1 Ranking in Rout of Arizona


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

Kevin Cline

Marcus Mariota

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

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Joey Holland

Joey Holland

Joey Holland graduated from the University of Oregon in 2013, majoring in History. He played several sports in high school, though football remains his passion. He has yet to miss a single Oregon Ducks home football game during his time in Eugene. Joey has written previously for Bleacher Report and Football Nation. Joey welcomes your feedback.

  • Douglas Fur ’74

    The Ducks are #1. We’re in, who cares. With all the ads I’ve seen for a certain CGI cover of a Charlton Heston movie, my favorite TD was the OL parting the waves of the AZ defenders, Marcus hopping over the goaline and walking the ball to the ref. Of course the play were he reverses twice, escapes 3 tackles and then completes the pass takes the cake. And the class act was his hug and shared words with Anu Solomon.

    • FishDuck

      Hey Doug,

      Look for the analysis on Tuesday to cover that play as we reach back into the past five years to explain it. How DO you run through eight in the box on the goal line so easily? Fun to look at.