Oregon fans let out a sigh of relief Saturday night as Anthony Brown crossed the goal line early in the fourth quarter. The score made it 31-14 and virtually put the game away for the Ducks. Finally, a game that was not going to come down to the final possession in the final minutes or even seconds — a game in which the Ducks would soundly defeat a lesser opponent.
It was a moment in which Ducks fans could finally kick back, relax, destress, relieve our bladders, pass some gas and toss our nail clippings in the trash. A moment fans could crack open a victory beer, exchange celebratory texts, and begin to look ahead to the next game.
But it was not meant to be.
For, as Brown crossed that goal line, the hand of God reached down from the heavens and ripped the ball away from him and into the hands of a Washington State defender. The lucky Cougar was then escorted away by an entourage of teammates in the other direction as Oregon faithful all across the globe simultaneously let out a collective, “You’ve got to be sh—-n’ me!”
Hopefully, the send button had yet to be pressed for celebratory text.
“Mysteriously,” not a camera angle was found to show that Brown had scored, though it seemed he clearly had. Again, was a higher power was at play? Nope. It was not divine intervention; it was those cheapskates at ESPN “featuring” the No. 3 team in the country with a bare minimum of cameras. And even if the production crew had captured the play with a telling camera angle, the resolution might have been so fuzzy that an accurate call could not have been made anyway. (Something tells me ESPN never produces a game for their lovebirds in the SEC with a minimum number of cameras… but I digress.)
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The point I am trying to make is that perhaps destiny is at play, and not just due to the Ducks often bumbling, self-inflicted ways. Oregon once again won a game that was still in doubt late into the fourth quarter. It is not as if it was a bad or sloppy play by Brown. Not the type of sloppy, boneheaded plays that have burned the Ducks throughout this season to prolong games into the final minutes. He was simply giving his all to push his way into the endzone, and as destiny would have it, it was not meant to be.
These Ducks are simply not allowed to cruise to an easy victory in which the game has been decided early in the second half. Yes, as fans we want blowout wins that garner style points and put us in the same breath as Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State, but that is simply not happening with this team. There must be a reason for this.
If the Ducks do make it to the College Football Playoff to play the likes of Alabama, Georgia or Ohio State, odds are the Ducks are not going to have those games easily in hand somewhere in the middle of the second half. Heck no. If the Ducks have a chance to win those types of contests it is going to come down to the final minutes or seconds. And if practice makes perfect, guess who will have a hell of a lot more practice at winning those kinds of games.
There is still a long way to go to get to the CFP. The Ducks must win three tough games in a row and pray for a little help. But, this baptism by fire of games being decided late may have been put in place for a reason, as it just might play a big part in Oregon’s final destiny.
Top photo credit: Craig Strobeck
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Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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