Fiesta Bowl: Will the First Quarter Tell the Tale?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

You know what I’m worried about; will the Ducks come out ready to play? It is hard when you are such an overwhelming favorite to have the game-face ready, and we know that Liberty is going to come out with fire in the eyes of these Flames. This is their biggest-game ever, their chance to make a massive mark for their program at Oregon’s expense. Will the Ducks be ready?

Unfortunately, the last time that Oregon was a surprising and heavy favorite was the last game in Las Vegas, and our Ducks truly laid an egg in the first half, in particular in the first quarter. It was noted by many journalists how Oregon players did not seem to be fired up before the game, and approached it as a business trip. You know the Liberty players are going to be ranting and talking trash before the game, and will be hyped out-of-their-minds.

I believe that Oregon stacked as a heavy favorite for the Pac-12 Championship took away all the psychological advantage the Ducks had going into the game, as the damn Huskies had their talking points about “no respect” by the oddsmakers and the nation. It was very apparent in the first quarter as they ran roughshod over Ducks for quick touchdowns.

Now the Flames have the same feeling of disrespect? Lovely.

Liberty has big-play capabilities. (Photo courtesy of Liberty Athletics)

To add to my concerns-Oregon has weakness against running quarterbacks, as Texas Tech hurt the Ducks with many designed plays for the QB to take off. Liberty has those plays and more, as they employ QB draws, QB keepers on option plays, and QB isolation plays, where Kaidon Salter follows the running back into the gap. The Ducks are vulnerable…

Oregon is No. 1 in the nation for the biggest point differential for the first half, and the No. 2 in the nation for scoring in the first half. If there was ever a game to continue that trend…this is it. I am concerned that the Flames can burn clock with long drives, and end up giving Oregon much fewer possessions than normal. If we come out flat, and Liberty gets a decent lead–and holds it? It could be a very stressful second half for Oregon fans.

The Ducks need to grab the lead immediately, make some stops and answer every score that Liberty makes as the game progresses. I believe that Our Beloved Ducks can overcome any setback encountered, but the need for such a comeback revolves around how the game begins for Oregon. I’ve had many Duck-Buddies express their concern about Oregon coming out flat as they did before, and I must admit that all the psychological elements are not in favor of Oregon going into the kickoff.

Yes, Oregon was dominated by Stanford in the first quarter on the road, and came back to win big at the ‘Farm. But this Liberty offense is not the ‘furd, as the Flames can both churn out drives, and yet strike quickly when they have lulled you into focusing on run defense. Do you think the first quarter is key? Share your thoughts in our unique forum because…

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

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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