Going down memory lane with the Ducks undoubtedly brings about tons of mixed feelings. Many exciting things have happened since the beginning of their football journey in the modern era, and to pick eight highlights has been challenging.
This is a team with a lot of history and stories behind them. From their rough beginnings filled with losses and unmemorable moments, to their rise in the 80’s, this truly has been a journey. Now, they have become a national treasure, one of the most talked-about teams, and one of the most popular teams people bet on through NFL Moneylines.
With a bit of difficulty, I managed to pick these eight memorable moments. These involve the whole team, single players, and even coaches. Below are my top picks:
The Rose Bowl Debut
The Ducks made their first appearance in the Rose Bowl in 1917. Back then, there weren’t many cameras, but many fans still have some record of the unforgettable match. In one of their best games, they beat Pennsylvania 14 -0. This win was very important as it put them on the path to becoming one of the most loved football teams in history.
The Knee Injury
Popular Ducks player, Dennis Dixon, became a phenomenon in 2007 when he gave the Ducks some memorable wins in history. In 2007, after starting a game against Arizona, he suffered a terrible knee injury, sending any hope for a win down the drain. The Ducks lost the remaining three games of the season and with that a first potential national championship and Heisman trophy. Even though this story isn’t a happy one, it was a big moment in Oregon’s football history.
The Holiday Bowl Victory
As mentioned earlier, the Duck’s history is filled with many ups, but also many recoveries after setbacks. Luckily, they always found a way to pull out a number of close wins in the year 2000, under the leadership of Joey Harrington. That year, they had a 10 -1 record highlighted by an epic comeback at Arizona State, and sweet win over the Huskies at Autzen. This was the season that put the Ducks at the top, and called national attention to the ascendance of the Ducks.
The First Rose Bowl Win in 95 Years
After a long losing streak that lasted 95 years, the Ducks were finally able to secure a Rose Bowl win in 2012. De’ Anthony Thomas, also nicknamed the Black Mamba, who joined the Ducks in 2011, became a highlight reel star nearly every game. While there weren’t many rare moments like this, he did get the longest run in Rose Bowl history. It was a ninety-one-yard touchdown, and was able to help the Ducks secure a victory and defeat Wisconsin 45 – 38. De’ Anthony set a new record, and helped his team achieve its first Rose Bowl win in 95 years.
Mike Bellotti as Head Coach
He didn’t start as head coach; he moved up from offensive coordinator when Rich Brooks left for the NFL. He became head coach in 1995, and during his time made an impact that few coaches achieve. Under his leadership, the team secured 116 wins, and set the stage for even more success with the next coach. Even with all the challenges he faced, he coached up players like few coaches can do to even the present day.
He joined the team as the offensive coordinator in 2007, and while his hire did not spark an immediate buzz in the football community, he played a vital role in the modern history of the Ducks and college football. He turned Dennis Dixon into the star he became known for, after his elevation to head coach in 2008–set the college football world on fire with his No-Huddle offense mixed with running spread offense. He is known as one of the best coaches the Ducks ever, in a time period that will never be duplicated.
De’ Anthony’s Opening Kick in 2013
Talk about the proper way to start a game! After just setting a record the previous year, De ‘Anthony Thomas returned to turn the Duck’s game immediately against Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl in 2013. He took the opening kickoff, (see top photo) for a touchdown of which was said to have ended any chances of the Wildcats right out of the gate. The game ended spectacularly with a win of 35 – 17 for Oregon, owing possibly to the opening kickoff score.
One cannot speak of memorable moments in Oregon’s history without mentioning “The Pick”, and everyone can undoubtedly can remember the call Jerry Allen made in 1994. The team was about to go onto their fourth loss of the season until Kenny Wheaton intercepted the ball, ran it back for a touchdown and gave the Ducks an “improbable” 31 – 20 win against Washington. For many Duck fans-it marks the beginning of the modern rise of Oregon football, and the decline of the Huskies dominating grip on the Ducks.
The “Oregon” Brand
Oregon football has become one of the biggest names in college football over the years, for many fans….the Best is Yet to Be!
Top Photo from Twitter
OregonReigns is an occasional contributor to FishDuck and loves his Ducks!
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