Oregon Football: Keys for Ducks to Wrap Up 2012 with a BCS Bowl Victory

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Oregon Football: Keys for Ducks to Wrap Up 2012 with a BCS Bowl Victory
Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

The Oregon Ducks came within three points of earning a trip to the BCS National Championship Game this coming January. 

But after rebounding superbly against rival Oregon State in the Civil War in their regular season finale in Week 13, the Ducks are BCS bowl-bound and in position to close out 2012 with an incredible 12-1 overall record.

Here we break down the three biggest keys for Oregon to wrap up the year with a BCS bowl win.

 

Run With Success

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

It's no secret that Oregon's offense is lethal. But the biggest threat of the Ducks' offense is its ability to dominate on the ground. Oregon ranks fourth in rushing offense this season and averaged more than 323 rushing yards per game during the regular season.

Oregon leads the nation in highest yards per carry average this season, racking up slightly more than six yards per rush in 2012. In the Ducks' only loss this season, they averaged just five yards per carry. Stanford did an excellent of tackling and minimizing the damage when Oregon's backs and receivers found seams in the defense. 

The biggest key for Oregon to finish 2012 with a victory will be to run the ball with success, avoid big-play-killing penalties and averaging right around six yards per touch. 

If the Ducks do that the offensively, they will be right on schedule and headed to a 12-1 finish.

 

Force Turnovers

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Oregon's defense isn't highlighted by a dominant front seven that holds opponents to 10 points per game, but instead a fast unit capable of changing the game in an instant by forcing a key turnover.

Only Kansas State and Kent State have a better turnover margin than Oregon this season (plus-19), and no team has forced more turnovers than Oregon (38).

The Ducks have forced 23 interceptions and recovered 15 fumbles in 12 games this fall, which equates to an average of three forced turnovers per game. As long as Chip Kelly's defense can continue to take the ball away and give it to Oregon's potent offense, the Ducks will be in amazing shape against whichever team they take on this postseason.

 

Move the Chains

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Although the popular perception is that Oregon is a quick scoring offense built on big plays, it is most successful when it is putting together steady drives and racking up first downs.

The Ducks rank seventh in the country in most first downs per game (27.8). Nearly 57 percent of Oregon's first downs this season have come on the ground, while the other 43 percent have come through the air and via penalties. 

Only a handful of teams in college football move the sticks with more success than Oregon, and that's why the Ducks are 11-1 heading into bowl season. 

As long as Oregon hits on all three of these keys this winter, then it'll close out 2012 with a BCS bang.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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