Oregon Football: Ducks Win Again, But Fans Keep Bellyaching

Jordan Ingram Editorials

Here’s a hot take: There are WAY too many Oregon “fans” kvetching on social media. Change my mind.

Granted, expectations were high for the No. 4 Oregon Ducks’ (3-0) return to Autzen Stadium after winning arguably the biggest game in program history by defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes (2-1) at the Horseshoe, 35-28.

After all, the Ducks had an FCS team from the Colonial Athletic Association lined up before entering conference play next week against visiting Arizona Wildcats (0-2). Fans licked their chops thinking Oregon would roll the Stony Brook SeaWolves (1-2) from jump street. Personally, I imagined the Ducks beating the Seawolves like Barnyard Dawg bashing Foghorn Leghorn over the head with an oversized wooden mallet. (“That boy, I say, that boy ain’t right!”) 

After two quarters, the Ducks led Stony Brook 17-7 and social media was insufferable. Twitter was rife with bellyaching about Oregon playing down to its opponents and not completely blowing out the Seawolves by halftime. Here are some examples:

The same folks that were drinking from the ram’s horn of victory in Columbus were yowling about the team’s perceived inadequacies just days later. Oh, and the final score? Oregon beat Stony Brook handily, 48-7.

We heard some of the same grumblings after the Ducks battled the EXTREMELY UNDERRATED Fresno State Bulldogs in their season opener (As I’m writing this, the Bulldogs are leading the UCLA Bruins at halftime, 23-10).

So, let’s look at the Week 3 numbers. Oregon’s offense finished with 436 total yards and had twice as many first downs as the Seawolves (26 to 13). Quarterback Anthony Brown was solid, completing 14 of 18 pass attempts with a touchdown and no interceptions. Kicker Camden Lewis nailed a 40-yard field goal and finished the day a perfect 2-for-2 (My, how he has improved!).

The Oregon Ducks are 3-0 entering their Pac-12 opener against Arizona in Eugene.

Freshman Ty Thomson played most of the second half and looked pretty good, completing 6 of 9 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns, sealing the win for the Ducks. And even Jay Butterfield got some snaps, going 2-for-3 in passing for 22 yards. And congratulations to Travis Dye who became the 18th Oregon running back to earn 2,000 career yards after rushing for 87 yards and a touchdown.

One particularly glaring statistic was Oregon’s third-down conversion rate, which was noticeably worse than last week (8-of-16), successfully converting just 3 out of 10 attempts against Stony Brook.

The defense was special once again (and once again without several star players, including Kayvon Thibodaux and Justin Flowe), forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions — two of which came from Verone McKinley III.

Oregon fought hard to beat a very good (and underrated) Fresno State Bulldogs team in Week 1. But some Ducks fans were skeptical about the narrow margin of victory.

I said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Mario Cristobal IS NOT Chip Kelly. Don’t bet on Cristobal’s Ducks to cover your 42-point spread, because it’s unlikely he delivers massive blowouts over smaller schools. But frankly, he doesn’t have to. At no point during the game did I seriously worry the Seawolves would run away with the game. Not once. Cristobal and Co. maintained control of the entire game, made halftime adjustments and Oregon took care of business.

Was it a flawless performance? Of course not, but can you show me a perfect team? And don’t say the Alabama Crimson Tide, because even the almighty struggled this week on the road against the Florida Gators.

The Ducks answered all of my concerns the first two weeks, especially on the road against one of the country’s premier college football programs. I don’t need style points, video game stats or 70-point drubbings of technical schools and community colleges. Just give me the “W.”

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top photo by Craig Strobeck

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