- Teddy Mitrosilis, ESPN.com
Kenjon Barner took the first play of the 2010 season for the Oregon Ducks -- a handoff from Darron Thomas -- and picked up 9 yards. He took the second play for a yard, the third for 10 and the fourth for 12 more.
These were the opening jabs that Oregon threw at New Mexico, issued in the Ducks' signature rapid pace, and by the end of the first 15 minutes, the Ducks led by 28 points. At the end of four, 28 had become 72, all without Heisman candidate LaMichael James in the backfield (serving a one-game suspension).
This is Oregon football. Points in bunches, offensive outbursts by the second.
Despite the return of Barner, Thomas and James on another loaded offense, however, that won't be the case when No. 3 Oregon travels to Arlington, Texas, to kick off the 2011 season against the No. 4 LSU Tigers on Saturday evening. Not only do season openers against top-ranked teams tend to feature diluted offensive performances, but Oregon's recent track record in games like this one also serves as cause for concern.
Teddy Mitrosilis writes that recent history has shown that season openers between highly ranked teams -- like Saturday's Oregon-LSU game -- have featured diluted point and yardage totals. In this game, that gives the defensive-minded Tigers an advantage.