On Friday night in Autzen Stadium, The Oregon Ducks claimed a third straight conference championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl Game for the 2nd time in 3 years. The last two seasons led by Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, and Kenjon Barner have been among the most successful and productive in school history. This season, with the addition of the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Ducks have already played the same amount of (13) games as they played in 2010. The 12-1 2010 team led the way in most statistical categories when compared to the 11-2 team this season, as might have been expected. After playing in the BCS Championship game, the Ducks brought in a relatively young team on both sides of the ball. Losing key players to graduation, and one pre-season All-American to suspension(s), there were many questions going into 2011. The results were at worst comparable and in some cases, even better production on the field. Here are some statistics that help identify some the the differences and similarities between the 2 seasons.
Breaking News: The Oregon offense over the last two seasons has been absolutely explosive. The 2010 Ducks ran 73 more total plays, using 629 rushing plays and 395 pass attempts for 1,024 plays. The 2011 Ducks ran 589 run plays and had 362 pass attempts for a total of 951 plays. The team scored a school record 611 points averaging 47 per game in 2010, and 600 points in 2011 for a 46.2 per game average. The offense was successful 45% of the time converting 3rd downs in both 2010 & 2011, but the 2010 team converted 65% of 4th down attempts while 43% were converted in 2011. The 2011 team converted on 86% of trips inside the redzone into points, slightly ahead of the 82% accomplished in 2010. Pass protection from the offensive line was strong both years, giving up only 9 sacks in 2010 and 12 in 2011, though the 2011 team averaged more yards per carry on run plays and gained more yards on the ground.
Yards per game:
The Duck defense defended 1,005 plays in 2011 compared to 986 in 2010. The 2010 defense allowed less overall yards, points, and yards per play. The 2010 team was also better at defending inside the redzone, allowing teams to score points on only 68% of trips, while allowing 81% in 2011. The 2011 team had 10 more sacks, 43 to 33. The 2010 team forced 10 more take aways with 21 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries compared to 16 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries in 2011.
|Year||Plays||Rush yd||Pass yd||Total||Av/game||Av/play||Points|
Special teams experienced a drop off in most statistical categories from 2010 to 2011, especially in punt returns and field goals. One exception was punting, where the 2011 Ducks punted 45 times for an average of 45.8 yards. The Ducks punted 43 times with an average of 42.3 yards last season. The Ducks converted 13-17 field goals last season, while putting just 8-13 through the uprights this season. The kick and punt returners had solid seasons both years, as the Ducks scored 5 TD’s on returns in 2010 and 3 in 2011.
Duck fans should obviously be proud of both teams. Both in recalling the success in 2010 & 2011, and in imagining what sort of numbers we might see from future teams. The Offensive line that struggled making their first start together in the LSU game both with the Tiger defense and with 12 penalties, really came together an had a solid year. Rushing for a school record 3,844 yards, 6.5 per carry, and 39 touchdowns are astounding numbers. While this year there were fewer passes attempted and yards gained, the passing game still accounted for 36 touchdowns and 3 less interceptions than in 2010. The 2011 Ducks could have been even more effective through the air with a few less dropped passes. With an influx of talented recruits at WR coming in and another spring and fall camp together, there is reason to look for better pass receiving production next season.
The defense played alot of depth this year and the 4.9 yards per play was just .2 yards more than 2010. The 43 sacks came from multiple positions, and many of the key players will return for the 2012 season. Between the new freshman recruits, and players who redshirted, expect the defensive depth to take another step forward next fall.
There is of course one more game to play this season and many of the stats will look a little different after a 14th game. I will be watching to see if this years team can still achieve the advantage in maybe the most important of statistical categories: BCS Bowl wins.
Josh White has been a dedicated Duck fan since the Bill Musgrave days. He has attended (and lost his voice at) virtually every home game and many away games since the late 1980’s, including 96 of the current 97 game sellout streak at Autzen Stadium. A Eugene native, Josh works full time in Eugene area real estate, helping people buy and sell residential and commercial properties, and also volunteers with Habitat For Humanity, Kidsports and Food For Lane County. He welcomes your feedback.
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