Following a nine-match win streak, the Ducks have improved to No. 30 in the latest ITA Rankings.Read More →
Oregon "won’t have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday," according to Patrick Stevens.Read More →
Oregon opens the Pac-12 Tournament against Oregon State on Wednesday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks), and the Ducks are confident they’re deep enough to make a run.Read More →
Oregon basketball to play in 2014 Legends Classic with Villanova, Michigan and Virginia Commonwealth
Oregon gets a second consecutive marquee matchup in the early season.Read More →
Johnathan Loyd and other Ducks with Las Vegas ties can’t wait to return for Pac-12 Tournament title defense
Four Ducks have ties to Las Vegas and hope their stay in the city will be a long one during their Pac-12 Tournament title defense.Read More →
Two Ducks earn all Pac-12 conference basketball honors, but Dana Altman ‘disappointed’ other Ducks not included
Oregon coach Dana Altman campaigned for Johnathan Loyd to make the all-defense team but acknowledged that "the spoils go to the winners."Read More →
Oregon basketball Q&A with Pac-12 Network’s Ernie Kent: ‘The scariest thing is that they’ve got their swag back’
The former Oregon coach discusses the Ducks’ chances in Las Vegas and beyond.Read More →
February’s Male Hero of the Month is Jeff Lockie, a redshirt sophomore on the Oregon football team.Read More →
Oregon men’s basketball: Joseph Young makes All-Pac-12 second team, Mike Moser earns honorable mention
The Pac-12 announced its 2013-14 men’s basketball awards and all-conference teams Monday morning, and two Ducks earned accolades. Guard Joseph Young made the second team and forward Mike Moser earned an honorable mention for the Ducks (22-8, 10-8 Pac-12), who finished the regular season tied for third in the conference. Both players transferred to Oregon prior […]Read More →
Oregon is 16-8 in Pac-12 Tournament games since its resurrection in 2002.Read More →
Brian Fremeau and sabermetricians at Football Outsiders already are breaking down the college football numbers and looking ahead to the 2014 season. T…Read More →
Oregon’s 20-4 victory Sunday gave the No. 14 Ducks two out of three over Ohio State, and renewed confidence after being swept by Fullerton a week earlier.Read More →
How Oregon’s victory against No. 3 Arizona could affect its success entering the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.Read More →
What to know about today’s matchup with Arizona.Read More →
Oregon starting pitcher Tommy Thorpe had a career night for the Ducks, not that they needed it. A seven-run fourth inning broke the game open for the Ducks, who beat Ohio State 8-2 at PK Park on Friday night. The Ducks held a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth, which started with […]Read More →
Oregon has 615 fouls this season, which ranks near the bottom of Division I and gives opponents dozens of free throws.Read More →
Could Arik Armstead switch to the offensive line? The Oregon coach says "never say never," but was pessimistic.Read More →
The senior delivered his best performance of the season Tuesday night against Arizona State.Read More →
Head Oregon baseball coach George Horton hadn’t watched film on Ohio State (7-3) before Wednesday’s practice, but he still had plenty to say about this weekend’s opponent. They’re well-coached, he said, they have a “brand new” starting pitching staff and their bullpen is deep, especially with closer Trace Dempsey. Dempsey garnered two third-team All-America honors […]Read More →
The school’s all-time winningest football coach is up for consideration for one of college football’s highest achievements.Read More →
Oregon’s Mark Helfrich is glad 10-second rule proposal is over: ‘The whole thing was about competitive advantage’
Oregon’s football coach dismissed the proposal, which was withdrawn from consideration Wednesday, as a ruse under the guise of player safety.Read More →
To reach the NCAA Tournament’s doorstep, Oregon basketball played like a team that had been there before
"Every game’s an NCAA game right now, every game has a high sense of value to it and Saturday’s going to be the same and next weekend’s going to be the same," Oregon’s Mike Moser said.Read More →
Jerry Palm of CBS has Oregon up to a 9-seed in his latest projection.Read More →
Before Tuesday afternoon’s Oregon men’s basketball practice, redshirt junior guard Joseph Young chatted with The Emerald, mainly about the previous week. He discussed the crazy end of regulation in Friday’s game against UCLA and his failed free throw attempt. Young also talked about Mike Moser and the forward’s award-winning performance last week. What went through […]Read More →
This is Oregon’s first sellout of the season at home.Read More →
The Oregon big man said his improved play is a sign of his "urgency" to play well before his UO career ends.Read More →
The proposal would have been voted on Thursday but it didn’t get that far.Read More →
The Oregon Ducks defeated the ASU Sun Devils Tuesday night in front of 9,125 fans, an energy that players and coaches said they felt throughout the game and even ignited their victory.Read More →
EUGENE, Ore – Tyler Baumgartner had six hits and three RBI, including the game winner in the ninth inning of game two, to lead No.
Laura Roesler enters as the top-ranked Duck heading into the NCAA Championships, sitting at No. 1 in the 800.Read More →
University of Oregon women’s basketball head coach Paul Westhead will not have his contract renewed for the 2014-15 season.Read More →
He is an offensive lineman rated as a four-star.Read More →
After a strong performance at the Citrus Classic, Cheridan Hawkins has been named both USA Softball National Player of the Week and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week.Read More →
Like a politician, Dana Altman toured the UO campus searching for students to attend tonight’s game.Read More →
What to know about tonight’s Pac-12 matchup.Read More →
Oregon baseball will host Seattle in a doubleheader Tuesday beginning at 3 p.m., rather than playing once Tuesday and once Wednesday.Read More →
The senior guard says, "I hate Arizona State."Read More →
Leaders like Rodney Hardrick are pushing the Oregon football team to get bigger and stronger this winter, with the goal of getting back into championship form.Read More →
Forward Mike Moser won a pair of weekly awards after leading Oregon to a road sweep of UCLA and USC over the weekend.Read More →
If Oregon makes the NCAA Tournament, it could help the Pac-12 earn its most bids to March Madness ever.Read More →
Every Sunday, The Emerald sports staff will collect their favorite quotes from the previous seven days. Athletes, coaches, media or anybody with a quote pertaining to Oregon sports can be included. Below are The Emerald’s favorites from the week of Feb. 24-March 2. Baseball “We’re the 2014 Ducks. We’re going to be able to hit […]Read More →
The UO baseball team rallied from Friday’s one-sided loss to play within a run of Cal State Fullerton on Saturday and Sunday, but still was swept in the series.Read More →
Freshman left-hander Matt Krook overcomes early wildness to face the minimum over his final four innings in Oregon’s 3-2 loss Saturday to Cal State Fullerton.Read More →
The Oregon softball team run-ruled Maryland, 10-2, in five innings in its second game of the day on Saturday at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic.Read More →
What to know about today’s game at 1 p.m.Read More →
Oregon stormed court No. 4 in celebration of Daniel Sardu’s clinching victory following UO’s first win over UW in 10 years.Read More →
Pellum and Neal added new titles in the offseason as defensive coordinator and passing game coordinator, respectively.Read More →
The first-year assistant coach would earn $50,000 if Oregon finishes the season No. 1 in the major polls, among other benefits.Read More →
Oregon forward Mike Moser finishes a dunk in the second half of Oregon’s 87-83 double overtime win over UCLA. The Associated Press EUGENE — On the last day of January, with Oregon 2-6 in Pac-12 play following a two-point loss…Read More →
Oregon does not tackle players to the ground in practice and uses high-tech ways to track their players, as well, in order to track injuries easier.Read More →
Oregon head baseball coach George Horton broke two pieces of news before practice this afternoon. The first was that third baseman Scott Heineman missed last night’s 8-2 win over Portland due to a left shoulder sprain he suffered against Loyola Marymount on Sunday. Horton said Heineman is day-to-day. The second piece of news regarded pitcher Porter […]Read More →
On Oct. 26, No. 2 Oregon rolled over No. 12 UCLA in raucous Autzen Stadium. It was a vintage Oregon performance. The game was tied at the half and the…Read More →
Oregon’s senior averages 13.3 points per game but scored zero in UO’s first meeting against UCLA.Read More →
Jeff Gold allows two runs in five innings to record the win over Portland in Oregon’s home opener Tuesday, with help from the pitch framing done by Shaun Chase.Read More →
Oregon, needing to finish the regular season on a high note, head to UCLA and USC for two critical games.Read More →
After running its winning streak to 14 games, the Oregon softball team climbed two spots in both top-25 polls.Read More →
Oregon’s coach says his decision to play Damyean Dotson will hinge on "how I feel."Read More →
Emerald roundtable: Hot Oregon baseball team will be tested against elite Cal State Fullerton this weekend
Every week during baseball season, our sports staff will discuss various topics surrounding an upcoming Oregon series. Today, Emerald digital sports editor Victor Flores and sports reporters Chris Mosch and Andrew Bantly discuss the Ducks’ hot start, Tuesday’s game versus Portland and the big weekend series against Cal State Fullerton. 1) The Ducks are 7-0, […]Read More →
Oregon’s baseball team is 7-0 entering Tuesday’s 6 p.m. home opener against Portland, with the coaching staff pushing all the right buttons so far this season.Read More →
Special guests include Oregon distance runners Parker Stinson and Molly Grabill, and assistant coaches Andy and Maurica Powell.Read More →
In an interview with “Duck Insider” on Monday, CBS analyst Jerry Palm said Oregon’s NCAA Tournament hopes would benefit from a quality win the next two weeks.Read More →
The Duck defender turned in solid results on the penultimate day of the NFL scouting combine.Read More →
We’re taking a look at a player from each Pac-12 team who could step into the spotlight in 2014. Spotlight: TEs Pharaoh Brown, Jr. (6-6, 241); Evan B…Read More →
Thomas is clocked at 4.50 in the 40, a less-than-spectacular time for the former Oregon star who made his reputation as a speed threat.Read More →
Oregon beats Loyola Marymount, 4-3, getting a run-saving catch from Tyler Baumgartner in the eighth and the game-winning RBI from J.B. Bryant in the ninth.Read More →
Jeff Lockie appeared in 9 games last year and Jake Rodrigues 7, and neither had a moment or a series that made you say, that guy is the quarterback of the future.
Rodrigues came closest. On his first carry from scrimmage against Nicholls State, he ran a perfectly executed Zone-Read keep, scooting for 28 yards around the right side. He finished the drive with a 23-yard scoring to Chance Allen, a nice bit of work in a laugher. The Ducks won 66-3, and by that time the remaining fans were paying more attention to the crowd-surfing Duck and a beach ball.
Wildcat whiz: Jake Rodrigues was a four-star recruit and Elite 11 finalist as a high schooler, but a broken leg suffered in the last game of his senior year has slowed his progress as a collegian.
Rodrigues came in against Colorado a few weeks later and added to the slim resume with another sharp throw, again to Allen, a 37-yard post pattern zipped into a window between two defenders. As rookie quarterbacks are wont to do he followed that play up with a poor one: after the Ducks got down to the four with a couple of first downs on the ground, the redshirt freshman with the rocket arm tried to squeeze another ball into an even tighter window in the back of the end zone, throwing it directly to Colorado defensive back Greg Henderson.
Colorado was the most extended look at both quarterbacks in a live situation, and it wasn’t encouraging, as badly directed as Snakes on a Plane. They alternated in 6 series after Marcus Mariota sat down with a 57-16 lead midway through the third quarter. Lockie threw an interception at the end of the third quarter and Rodrigues threw his at the start of the fourth, both to Henderson, and after that it was pretty much zone read right and zone read left.
The jury is still out at backup quarterback, and the day may soon come when the Ducks need a quick and decisive verdict.
Their progress for the season was so uneven that by game eight against Stanford, the Oregon coaches still felt Mariota was their best option even when (Scott Frost’s words) “he could barely walk midway through the week.” The sophomore from Hawaii did a courageous job, but didn’t have his A game against either Stanford or Arizona, fumbling twice in each game, severely limited in his mobility, a serious handicap for a guy with 4.5 speed.
Neither Lockie or Rodrigues have 4.5 speed. Few quarterbacks do. Mariota ran brilliantly again in the Alamo Bowl but had intermittent chin strap issues with the Longhorns ripping at his helmet on every carry. The Ducks had to call on Lockie to take over with the Quack Attack in the scoring zone, and both emergency relief efforts were a disaster. The first came early in the first quarter, and with second and 13 on the 15, Oregon got a false start on the first play and a botched handoff with a six-yard loss on the second, Lockie falling on the ball on the 26. When Mariota hustled back in it was third and 24. He scrambled for 18 yards, and Matt Wogan wound up kicking a field goal for a 10-0 lead.
It was the first time either of the number two quarterbacks had been called on in a critical situation, and the youngster from Alamo, California had a disastrous pair of plays that sent the Twitterverse howling about Oregon’s future at qb. Probably the toughest situation for a young quarterback to handle, coming in cold against a quick front four, the Ted Hendricks Award winner on his blind side.
For the season Lockie completed 8-13 passes for 57 yards, ran 5 times for 22 yards and a touchdown. Part of the problem for both of the backups is that in most of their appearances, they were reduced chiefly to handing off in with the game out of reach, halting drives behind the second-team offensive line in half-empty stadiums. Each looked good in the Spring Game a year ago but that was wearing a read jersey against a patchwork defense.
In year two on the varsity there may come a time, a play, a series, a quarter or a game, where one of them has to play with the season on the line, and whoever gets the nod has to respond better than Lockie did in San Antonio. Somehow they have to be ready, instantly and constantly ready, because a running quarterback takes a risk on every snap, regardless of how fast he is. The Ducks needed five quarterbacks to complete the season in 2007 and 2008. Nate Costa finished the Washington State game in 2010, and Bryan Bennett won a pair of games in 2011 when Darron Thomas suffered a knee injury. So far Mariota has started every game of his career, but he started a couple on one leg.
After defensive tackle, a reliable backup quarterback might be Oregon’s biggest concern going in 2014, a year when the Ducks are among the favorites for the national championship. Over the spring and summer, one of the understudies has to take the job by the winged shirt collar and claim it in an assertive way.
Each are blessed in that with Oregon’s legendary practice pace, they get more looks in practice than a typical backup. Mark Helfrich explained last season that in addition to running more reps than they do at Alabama or Arkansas, Oregon typically splits practice snaps 60-40 rather than 80-20 or 90-10, the standard in most pro-style operations.
In fall camp graduate assistant Costa told Andrew Greif of the Oregonian, “I’d say Jeff Lockie is more of your cerebral quarterback, focused in on making great decisions. Jake has more an ability to make plays with his feet and scramble around. I couldn’t handicap the race because it’s so close.”
By November the competition was no clearer. Scott Frost spoke to Justin Wise of the Oregon Daily Emerald and said, “It’s 2A and 2B right now. I don’t think either one of them have been put into a situation yet where we can truly judge them in a game so any judgement we have to make is from practice. I think Jeff would be the first one in, but both of them are going to play in any situation like that and we would let the play on the field dictate which guy is the guy.”
One of the guys needs to be the guy by the fall, because Oregon may need him next year. True freshman Morgan Mahalak is a strong candidate for the future, with great passing mechanics and a superb ability to process information (Super Bowl quarterback Trent Dilfer singled him out in the Elite 11 competition for his ability to grasp a pro style offense, learning a two-inch thick playbook and excelling on the Axon Simulator after just two days in camp) but it’s hard to think he can get ready for the PAC-12 in just one fall camp, and it would be risky to squander a year of eligibility on a handful of plays, should Mariota go down at any point in the 15-game campaign the Ducks hope to complete this season.
It’s still possible that one of the candidates may make the decision for them at the end of spring practice. It’s part of the reality of college football that quarterbacks want a starting opportunity. Backups at Cal, USC and Alabama have already transferred this year.
Bennett left the Ducks a year ago in January. In his first year as a starter at Southeaster Louisiana State he piloted the Lions to the semi-finals of the FCS playoffs, their first playoff appearance in school history. Bennett made the short list for the Walter Payton Award, emerging as one of the favorites going into his senior season. He’ll get a look in the NFL, something that would have been harder for him if he’d stayed at Oregon as a career backup.
For quarterbacks, football is all about opportunity, and making the most of it when your number is called. Find your helmet, son. You’re going in next play.Read More →
What to know about tonight’s Pac-12 showdown.Read More →
Kyle Garlick went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, a double and a singleRead More →
Oregon men’s basketball guard Damyean Dotson, 19, was cited and released by the Eugene Police Department for using a false identification last night in attempt to get into Taylor’s Bar & Grill. The incident occurred around 12:47 a.m., EPD spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said. Taylor’s security took Dotson into custody after they determined Dotson was using someone […]Read More →
The top of the order for Oregon provided the firepower while Hawkins struck out 12 in the 4-1 win over No. 23 LSU.Read More →
Oregon shortstop Kevin Minjares led off the eighth inning with a flyout to center field. The Ducks would cycle through their entire lineup before recording another out, piling on eight runs in the inning to turn a tight 3-2 lead over Loyola Marymount into a blowout. The Ducks (5-0) would beat the Lions (2-3) 12-2 tonight […]Read More →
Jones won an NBA slam dunk championship after leading the Ducks to the 2002 Pac-12 regular season title and NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.Read More →
Loyd earned his 90th career victory at Oregon in his 135th game.Read More →
Every week during baseball season, our sports staff will discuss various topics surrounding an upcoming Oregon series. Today, Emerald digital sport editor Victor Flores and sports reporters Chris Mosch and Andrew Bantly discuss the Ducks’ four-game sweep over Hawaii and their upcoming series against Loyola Marymount. 1) What should be Oregon’s biggest takeaway from its […]Read More →
Oregon would skip the First Four matchups if one projection became true.Read More →
The former Oregon tight end has his work cut out for him trying to convince NFL teams that his checkered past is indeed in the past.Read More →
Oregon football: Why Erik Chinander? Familiarity and a lifelong coaching itch drive him to new role as linebackers coach
"I believe in the assistant coaches who are here and I believe in Mark (Helfrich)," Chinander said. "Even before they named him coach last time I thought when Chip left, Mark is going to be the guy and I hope he’s the guy because I thought he’d be the man who could take us to the top.”Read More →
The first wave of Ducks was scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis on Wednesday and Thursday to make their cases for selection in the NFL Draft come May.Read More →
Stanford kicks off the start to spring practices in the Pac-12 when it holds its first session on Monday. The rest will start shortly thereafter and run until Oregon and Oregon State play their spring games on May 3.
Here is the complete list of dates:Read More →
Before Wednesday’s practice, Oregon assistant baseball coach Mark Wasikowski talked to reporters about the previous weekend in Hawaii, where the Ducks swept the Rainbow Warriors in four games. Wasikowski discussed the most impressive performances from the series, several of which came from Oregon’s freshman hitters and starting pitcher, Matt Krook. Follow Victor Flores on Twitter […]Read More →
Andrew Greif posted a terrific article yesterday evening at oregonlive.com, talking about the ways new defensive coordinator Don Pellum already has brought new accountability and discipline to the team, insisting that players make a full effort in workouts and be on time. On time means early, Pellum says. Veterans are expected to set the pace in conditioning, and there’s a greater sense of competition for starting roles.
Pushing buttons, pulling levers: finding the right mix of discipline and accountability is a constant challenge for a head coach. The game is supposed to be fun, but to succeed, training and practice have to be rigorous and the standards high (Soobum Images, USA Today Sports).
Greif quotes Tony Washington, who says things were allowed to slip last year. Little stuff, Washington says. “Guys missing workouts and guys coming up late, falling asleep in meetings,” Washington said on a recent misty morning after running with teammates inside Autzen Stadium. “If you let it slide it just builds up into just, ‘Oh maybe I can get away with this. Maybe I don’t have to play as hard on this play, maybe I can just show up and win,’ and that hurt us in the end.”
That doesn’t sound like little stuff. That sounds like a team with a serious discipline issue and an entitled attitude, and suggests that last year’s November slide was more than just injuries, bad luck and a momentary lapse in focus.
If Pellum’s commitment to organization, with backpacks in a row and everyone making their bed, rubs off on this team as a whole and produces a measurable change in the way the Ducks go about their business, that could be a good thing, but teams like Stanford and Michigan State regard this kind of discipline as a normal part of the work day. The Spartans conduct winter workouts at 5:30 in the morning. The Cardinal attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country, and they have a 100% graduation rate.
I like what the new DC has had to say so far and have come around to the conclusion that he could do a great job, but the team Washington describes doesn’t sound like a Chip Kelly organization.
It’s the kind of quote that makes you ask, who is in charge here, and what else is going on?
It could be that Oregon’s turnovers, poor tackling, struggles in scoring territory and inopportune penalties in key games last year were symptoms of a team that lacked fundamental discipline in preparation.
After the loss to Arizona that dropped the Ducks out of national title and Rose Bowl contention. costing them a fourth straight trip to a BCS bowl and a chance at a fourth straight 12-win season, Helfrich had to suspend two players for a violation of team rules. Washington’s comments make you wonder if the team had any rules.
If you put a group of 18-22-year-olds in a 68 million dollar building with Italian leather seats and a floor-to-ceiling Xbox screen, you had better make sure the adults are setting expectations for effort, commitment and devotion to achieving your potential. The Ducks recruit good kids and give them every tool to succeed, but football is a game that rewards consistency. Organization and discipline have to be woven into the fabric of everything you do.
The Italian marble showers and Brazilian hardwood floors are impressive, but they won’t block and tackle anybody.
Redshirt senior defensive end/outside linebacker Tony Washington gives his opinion on some of the most impressive players during winter conditioning.Read More →
Oregon basketball: Ducks’ instructions against Washington are slow C.J. Wilcox and play for the seniors
EUGENE — A loss to Washington three weeks ago was one of the lowest moments of Oregon’s season. Wednesday’s rematch could be a key step in their late-season revival. Oregon hosts the Huskies at Matthew Knight Arena at 6 p.m….Read More →
Oregon sophomore Cheridan Hawkins was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.Read More →
During Dana Altman’s Pac-12 media teleconference this morning, Oregon’s head men’s basketball coach discussed the state of his team and the new foul rules, but he also touched on his coaching career. He’s one win away from 500 career wins at the Division I level, and he said this has caused him to reflect on […]Read More →
In 2010-11 the Ducks missed a national title by the distance between a shinbone and a blade of grass, and for three years, they’ve been achingly close to going back, each season falling miserably in the 11th game of the year. They’ve reached 8-0 or 10-0, #1 or #2 in the polls and the driver’s seat, each time crashing and burning, battered and bruised, tentative and tight, fans filing out of the stadium silent and disbelieving under a cold, dreary night sky.
Losses are never one player’s fault. I just picked the title because it sounds cool, like The Curse of the Bambino or the title of an Edgar Allen Poe short story. But look back over the last three seasons, and decide for yourself if the litany of almost doesn’t deserve a name.
2011 USC 38, Oregon 35
The Set up: 9-1, #4 Ducks are poised to move up after #2 Oklahoma State falls to Iowa State on Friday night. Instead, the USC snaps a 21-game home winning streak at Autzen.
Enduring image: Matt Barkley leading the Trojan band after the game.
Heartbreak play: Field goal sails wide on the last play of the game.
Bad juju: Ducks held scoreless in the first quarter. Jackson Rice (!) has a 22-yard punt. On the game’s second possession Oregon sacks Barkley on 3rd and 4 who fumbles at his own 25. Brandon Hanna recovers, but De’Anthony Thomas is clocked and fumbles the ball back on the very next play. Oregon drives down to the USC 9 just before half, but a touchdown pass is ruled out of bounds, and LaMichael James fumbles on the very next play.
Duck killer: Marqise Lee scorches a young Duck secondary for 8 catches, 187 yards and a touchdown. He adds 6 kick returns for 134 yards
Post-game verdict: “We lost a game,” said James, who rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown. “Life goes on.”
Crunching the numbers:
1st Quarter Pts. Penalties Turnovers Rushing Yds (vs Season ave) Rushing Yds Allowed QBR Field Goals Oregon 35 USC 38 0 3-25 2 209 (-90.2) 139 Thomas 40.2 (-35.3)
2012 Stanford 17, Oregon 14 (OT)
The Set up: 10-0, #2 Ducks are poised to move up after Kansas State falls to Baylor just before kickoff. Instead, they’re bottled up by a relentless, pursuing Stanford defense, and fall at home in overtime.
Enduring image: Zach Ertz bobbling the ball at the back of the end zone with his shoulder resting on the end line, ruled a tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Heartbreak play: Marcus Mariota zooms 77 yards with a keeper in the first quarter, but De’Anthony Thomas, convoying him to the end zone, inexplicably fails to block anybody, instead racing him to the goal line. A Stanford safety knifes in to cut Mariota off at the 15, and the Ducks turn it over on downs at the Stanford 7.
Bad juju: Ducks held scoreless in the first quarter. Maldonado misses two field goals, one in the third quarter and one in overtime. An overtime fumble squirts from under the chest of Michael Clay. In the second quarter, Erick Dargan intercepts Kevin Hogan and returns it to the Oregon 46 with 1:50 to play, but Mariota is picked off by A.J. Tarpley two plays later. In the third Ifo Ekpre-Olomu strips a Stanford receiver and recovers at the Stanford 39, but the Ducks get a holding penalty, the drive stalls and Maldonado misses from 42 yards, the ball doinking off the right upright.
Duck killer: Tyler Gaffney bulls for 33 carries for 166 yards. Ertz grabs 11 passes for 106 and a touchdown.
Post-game verdict: “It hurts and as I told them, you’d like to have some words that would take the pain out of it, but there aren’t,” Chip Kelly said. “We’ll feel bad for a little bit of time and we’ll bounce back from it.”
Crunching the numbers:
1st Quarter Pts. Penalties Turnovers Rushing Yds (vs Season ave) Rushing Yds Allowed QBR Field Goals Oregon 14, Stanford 17 0 5-54 1 198 (-117.2) 200 Mariota 49.3 (-38.5)
2013 (A) Stanford 26, Oregon 20
The Set up: 8-0, #3 Ducks control destiny for National title but get manhandled at Stanford Stadium. Down 26-0 in the fourth quarter, they storm back with a quick drive, a blocked field goal return for a touchdown, a successful onside kick and another drive, but fall 26-20.
Enduring image: A hobbled Marcus Mariota getting helped off the field after a third quarter fumble.
Heartbreak play: Scrambling left on a gimpy knee, Marcus Mariota misses a wide-open Josh Huff at the five yard-line on 3rd and 6 on the Ducks’ first possession.
Bad juju: Ducks held scoreless in the first quarter. Midway through the period, they have first and goal at the Stanford 7, but two inside runs gain little, then a 4th down fade to Bralon Addison misses long. In the second quarter they reach the Stanford 2 but De’Anthony Thomas, lying on the ground, gets stripped by Shane Skov and loses possession. Another drive stalls when Mariota fumbles at the Stanford 28 on first and 15.
Duck killer: Stepfan Taylor bulls for 45 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Hogan bounces off three tacklers for a critical third-down conversion deep in his own territory/
Post-game verdict: “We don’t hold the cards anymore,” first-year Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said.
Crunching the numbers:
1st Quarter Pts. Penalties Turnovers Rushing Yds (vs Season ave) Rushing Yds Allowed QBR Field Goals Oregon 14, Stanford 17 0 10-81 2 62 (-211.3) 274 Mariota 46.5 (-43.0)
2013 (B) Arizona 42, Oregon 16
The set-up: after a Stanford loss to USC the week before, the 9-1, #5-ranked Ducks control their destiny for the North Division title and a shot at the Rose Bowl, even mathematically alive for the national title game, but they are flat and listless, steamrolled by 6-4 Arizona.
Enduring image: Kadeem Carey, running forever. B.J. Denker, channeling Dennis Dixon and Vince Young.
Heartbreak play: On the game’s first play from scrimmage, the normally reliable Bralon bobbles a pass at the sideline, it gets tipped by an Arizona defender who manages to keep it alive and in-bounds, and the Wildcats Scooby Wright intercepts, Mariota’s first interception of the season.
Bad juju: Oregon held to a field goal in the first quarter. Mariota throws two picks. The Ducks look flat and uninspired, a week after making statements in the press about being unexcited about playing in another Rose Bowl. Carey runs at will, and Denker completes 19-22 passes. Oregon’s defense allows 29 first downs, 11-16 on third down conversions. A second quarter drive stalls when Thomas Tyner fumbles, and UO trails 28-9 at the half. In the third period the Ducks go for it on 4th and goal from the 2 but a fade to Keanon Lowe fails. Trying to spark a 4th quarter comeback, Mariota forces a pass at the goal line and suffers his second pick.
Duck killer: Carey powers for 48 carries, 206 yards and 4 tds, with a long run of 20 yards. Denker passes for 178 and runs for 106, piloting an offense that slices through the Oregon defense.
Post-game verdict: Oregon’s run of 4 BCS bowls ends while losing as a 20-point favorite. “Obviously, how we started, in every phase, that is 100 percent my fault,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “I have to figure out exactly which levers to pull and which buttons to push.”
Crunching the numbers:
1st Quarter Pts. Penalties Turnovers Rushing Yds (vs Season ave) Rushing Yds Allowed QBR Field Goals Oregon 16, Arizona 42 3 8-66 3 198 (-75.5) 304 Mariota 49.3 (-42.2)
This is the season that the Ducks have to break the curse, which in truth, isn’t a curse at all but a lapse in discipline and focus. Internal leadership on the team has to remember this sad history, and instill a determination to complete the job.
The national title chase is a 15-round heavyweight fight, but there are no knockouts. You have to win every round. Hroniss Grasu, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Marcus Mariota have to make every player understand that the accolades and highlights of week four aren’t enough, that the entire season has to be endured and overcome, that every week is indeed the Super Bowl. They have to take care of lesser opponents. They have to gather themselves for big games late when the pressure becomes excruciating.
Whether it’s winning the day or some other mantra, this team has to find a unifying idea, a meaningful understanding that sustains their purpose for a brutally challenging and exhaustingly long season. The preparation started the second week of January, and it doesn’t end for a year. The grind never stops. It can’t, if you want to win.
At the same time a championship team has to maintain its unity, its sense of humor and its loyalty to each other. They have to stay loose and confident, yet beady-eyed on the goal. The Ducks will never have a better chance than this year. Marcus Mariota is a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback, and Pellum seems to have a deep stable of young, athletic defenders, with Olomu to lead them. The new defensive coordinator’s penchant for aggressiveness, discipline and organization should do the rest.
Championship seasons are rare and elusive. After all the preparation and sacrifice, a team has to get a little bit lucky. No, a lot lucky. A couple of key plays have to bounce the right way. Remember the Ducks first Rose Bowl season, an overtime game at Arizona when Morgan Flint donked a 42-yard field goal off the crossbar, and it bounced in? Remember Nate Costa’s hold at the end of regulation, when he scooped an errant snap off the turf to save the tying extra point? There are strokes of luck like that, moments of supreme good juju where stars are aligned and comets miss asteroids in deep space.
They have to keep Marcus Mariota healthy, and avoid a rash of injuries on the defensive line. And the field goal kicker and the back-up quarterback have to be taken by the bony shoulders and made to understand, sometime during the year, the team will depend on you. It may be for a play or a series or three quarters or three games, but everything will depend on your ability to do your job with little preparation and no warning. You have to be mentally ready for that moment, because nothing in practice can simulate it, at least not adequately. Throw up if you have to, pleasure yourself in the porta-potty if it helps, but go out there and do what you’ve trained to do since you were ten. Seize the moment. Win the day.Read More →
Here’s a look at how the Pac-12′s 2014 nonconference schedules stack up, starting with the North Division (*-denotes FCS team): 1. Oregon: Aug. 30, S…Read More →
Jake Ziven of KEZI-TV has a sit-down with Don Pellum, who elaborates on his philosophy and style of defense.Read More →
Oregon completed a four-game sweep of Hawaii winning 10-2Read More →
While Pac-12 attendance was down slightly in 2013 compared to 2012 — an average of 53,586 compared to 53,619 the previous season — three conference…Read More →
From Jim Wilson of Lost Letterman, a wicked send-up of Brett Bielema’s crusade for player safety:
(Jim Weber of Lost Letterman produced this list, a wicked send-up of Brett Bielema’s continuing crusade for “player safety.”)Read More →
The former Oregon defensive lineman will attend the NFL scouting combine this week in Indianapolis.Read More →
The Ducks’ work is cut out for them in the final stages of the Pac-12 season.Read More →
We’re ranking the top-five Pac-12 student sections. Before doing so, a couple of caveats. We have never sat in a Pac-12 student section. Further, the…Read More →
When Larry Scott was named commissioner of what was then the Pac-10 in 2009, it was immediately clear he wasn’t going to follow the status quo. He took some time to evaluate what was working, what wasn’t and what needed to happen in order f…Read More →
A.J. Balta and Austin Grebeck drove in runs in crucial seventh inning rally at HawaiiRead More →
The women’s 4×400 set a school record while Sasha Wallace did the same in the triple jump.Read More →
Cheridan Hawkins posted the third no-hitter of her career as the No. 10 ranked Oregon softball team run ruled Ohio State, 9-0, at the Easton Desert Classic.Read More →
Nick Catalano scores from second on a passed ball to give Oregon a season-opening win.Read More →