Planning for success: Oregon Ducks
September, 5, 2013
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
The 2013 edition of the Oregon Ducks go on the road for the first time this weekend, carrying the nation’s longest road winning streak with them at 15 games. After demolishing Nicholls State 66-3 in their opener, the Ducks enjoyed a bump in the polls, checking in this week at No. 2
The natural thought process is to not jump to too many conclusions from one game. Yes, it was an FCS team. Yes, the Ducks were dominant. But this week’s matchup at Virginia figures to provide a slightly tougher test than the Colonels.
Specifically, Virginia showed some gritty defense in its Week 1 win over BYU -- a team that spends a lot of time in or around the top 25. Safety Anthony Harris had a banner game, notching 11 tackles and a critical interception late in the game that paved the way for Virginia’s come-from-behind victory.
Oregon’s offense figures to be a little more explosive than BYU’s, however. Last week the Ducks, for the first time in school history, had three different players break the 100-yard rushing mark. De'Anthony Thomas rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Byron Marshall (124 yards, one TD) and quarterback Marcus Mariota (113 yards, 2 TDs). Mariota also threw for 234 yards on 12 of 21 passing with a touchdown. As a team, the Ducks totaled 772 yards of offense.
As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be any difference between Mark Helfrich or Chip Kelly at the helm. Per ESPN Stats and Info, the Ducks ran one play every 16 seconds -- which tied their fastest pace in the last 10 seasons. They had eight touchdowns drives that lasted two minutes or less, the most of any FBS team in Week 1. Seven of those eight drives were of at least 60 yards. Last season Oregon had an FBS-high 45 touchdown drives that lasted two minutes or less and they ran a play every 20 seconds, which tied for the fifth fastest.
Thomas had a career high 18 carries in the win over Nicholls State. Again, it’s an FCS team, but it might also be an indication that he’ll be used more as a runner than he has been in previous years. And Mariota was just as dangerous throwing the ball, checking in with the second highest QBR of any FBS player. He took four shots down the field, completing three of four passes of at least 20 yards. By comparison, Virginia’s defense last week only allowed one reception of 20 yards or more on five BYU attempts.
Best Pac-12 Position Group in 2014 Class
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35