Looking at the Crazy and Rare of Oregon’s 2023 Season

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

How many times have you shook your head at all the rare occurrences and statistics of this heady 2023 football season for Oregon? It is occurring every week, and I thought I’d pop out something quick for us to consider, and in the process truly savor this unusual season for as long as we can. My thanks to other members of the Oregon media for gathering these, and below is what stood out to me for our discussion.

I round up the stats to avoid boring decimal points, and an example is Oregon rushing for an average of 188 yards per game for 23rd in the country. Many would remind me of how I look at rushing for over 200 yards a game as the goal, (last year’s team rushed for 216 yards per game) yet I also understand that an Offensive Coordinator needs to run what fits best with the team’s personnel on offense.

Oregon is the No. 1 passing team in the nation! How can that be with so many rushing yards? Everyone knows that a No. 1 passing team is always an Air-Raid, or an offense focused almost entirely on passing. (Like Washington) Yet our Ducks are No. 1 in passing yards with 351 per game? When has that ever happened at season’s end for Oregon? Whew!

The result is being No. 2 in the nation for total offense, and No. 2 in scoring at 45 points per game. We need enough points to win, but one of the nations top offenses was only a hope for me going into this season. Did you see this coming?

Of course having the nation’s most accurate quarterback in Bo Nix who is piling up the points with an elite receiver such as Troy Franklin is the story that everyone knows. But slot receiver Tez Johnson has been blowing up the last half of the season and is now only 58 receiving yards from a 1,000 yard season? So the Ducks would have two 1,000 yard receivers? How rare! The last time was in 1998, at the pinnacle of Mike Bellotti’s West Coast offense when Damon Griffin and Tony Hartley accomplished the feat. Again, I did not see this coming…

Tez Johnson is making everyone miss! (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

Oregon Will Be Known for….DEFENSE?

As a 37 year season ticket holder–a great defense was always just an elusive dream. Or we get tortured with a great defense like 2019 giving up just 16 points per game, yet saddled down with the plodding Cristobal offense. I recognize how difficult it is to recruit so many great defensive players, and have a coach who has a great defensive scheme and creates an identifiable defensive culture. Oregon now has that in Dan Lanning and Tosh Lupoi, and stats are beginning to show how special 2023 is. Where do we start?

Oregon is No. 7 in the nation for scoring defense only giving up 16 points per game? But now we have an offense to match? How rare is this? (Like NEVER) While my head is spinning–I have to wrap it around how Oregon is No. 7 in the nation for rushing defense, giving up only 93 yards a game? I understand how Oregon has rarely held so many teams to under 10 in a season, but holding Oregon State to only seven points?

This combination of defense and offense is so rare, and never been done at Oregon…but wait!  There is more?

Oregon has one of the best punters in the nation in Ross James who averages nearly 43 net yards per punt to put Oregon 6th in the nation in a category the Ducks have not excelled in how many years? Recall how we needed a punter for 2023 badly, and in fall camp we had three who simply trying to win the job. Yet Lanning attracted an outstanding punter who has boomed two 69 yard punts, and placed another inside the two yard line. Un-fricken-believable.

Oh yes, there are tons of other amazing stats about this season, but these above are the most surprising to me, primarily because they are so rare in Oregon football. Add them all up, and it proves what an outstanding year that it is. Which surprises stand out to you? Share your thoughts in the only free, civilized forum-with-decorum because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the FishDuck.com publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

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