Planning for success: Oregon Ducks

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
8:00
AM ET
Oregon football, in a way, has become boring.

The Ducks pile up the points each week and their starters leave early, giving crowds every reason to do the same -- not that Oregon fans would complain about such redundancy.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Mariota
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesOregon QB Marcus Mariota has thrown 14 TDs this season despite sitting out an average of five series a game because of the Ducks' lopsided wins.
To this point, the Ducks' opponent has been irrelevant in the final scores: 66-3, 59-10, 59-14, 55-16, 57-16. There's been almost no difference in the outcome regardless if they're at home or on the road, playing an SEC team or an FCS team.

If there's a time where that trend figures to change, it's Saturday when the Ducks travel to No. 16 Washington (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12). On paper and film, the Huskies clearly appear to be Oregon's most difficult test to date.

"I think that’s a fair statement," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "Certainly the most complete team we've played. They've got big, fast, talented guys. Their scheme has changed to accentuate that athleticism."

And unlike Oregon, the Huskies have seen their fair share of close games. Last week's 31-28 loss to No. 5 Stanford wasn’t decided until the final minutes, and both Arizona and Illinois were competitive games.

Whether the nature of those contests plays a role as Washington looks to avoid a tenth straight loss to the Ducks remains to be seen, but Helfrich has done his part throughout the week to make sure it doesn't.

"We want to get as far as we possibly can out of our comfort zone in every way [in practice]," Helfrich said. "Mentally, physically, emotionally because in the game there [are] going to be high anxiety situations that we want to be ready for and you're never going to get it as good as you possibly can because if we all showed up and stayed exactly the same, that's not what we want."

Quarterback Marcus Mariota averages nearly five series a game on the sideline (just over 30 percent), but his numbers still stack up well nationally. His 14 touchdown passes without an interception is by far the best ratio in the county. Among the other quarterbacks without a pick, none have more than eight touchdown passes. His 202 attempts without an interception is a school record and dates back to Oregon's loss to Stanford last year.

With a touchdown pass in 18 straight games, Mariota has throws a touchdown pass in every game he's played. The streak ranks third nationally behind Fresno State's Derek Carr (25) and Marshall's Rakeem Cato (23).

Last week against Colorado, Mariota accounted for seven total touchdowns, which broke the school record that had been accomplished on six occasions -- including by Mariota against Cal in 2012.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


Pac-12 Weekend Wrap: Oct. 21
Recruiting reporter Erik McKinney breaks down the top weekend storylines from the Pac-12.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Friday, 10/24
Saturday, 10/25