This one was over early. The sun hadn’t begun to set over the San Gabriel Mountains by the time the lights had gone out on Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston, whose Florida State team suffered a humiliating 59-20 thumping at the hands of Mark Helfrich’s fired-up Oregon Ducks squad.
After losing world-class sprinter and outstanding wide receiver Devon Allen to a leg injury on the opening kickoff, the Ducks proceeded to simply dominate every aspect of this, the first-ever college football playoff game.
Here are a few stats:
The Ducks gained 639 yards, a Rose Bowl record. Their 41 points scored in the second half was also a Rose Bowl record, as was their astonishing 59 point total, scored against a team that had won 29 in a row.
The two quarterbacks were statistically close. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota finished with 338 yards through the air on 26 of 36 passing, a 9.4 yards per throw average, while the Seminoles’ Winston gained 348 throwing yards (29/45), a 7.7 yard average. Ducks’ receiver Darren Carrington had a huge game, snagging seven passes for a whopping 165 yards.
On the ground, Oregon’s Thomas Tyner made me look like a genius after I predicted he would step up in this game, gaining 124 yards on 13 carries, an impressive 9.5 yards per carry average.
Then there was the Ducks’ ball-hawking defense, who came away with five turnovers (four fumbles and an interception), time after time snuffing out any hope the Seminoles might have had of getting back in this one.
Watching this game had to be a sobering experience for Alabama and Ohio State fans. Clearly Oregon is peaking at the right time. Their blur offense is breathtaking (literally for opposing defenses). And their D has shown it’s anything but the collective panty-waisted sissy fans in the SEC have made them out to be.
So now it’s on to the National Championship game on January 12. Whether Oregon faces ‘Bama or the Buckeyes, the Ducks from Eugene are looking every bit like the best team in college football right now.
Top photo by John Sperry