Oregon Football: Top 9 Performances of the 2012 Regular Season

Nathan LoweryCorrespondent INovember 29, 2012

Oregon Football: Top 9 Performances of the 2012 Regular Season

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    Fireworks are a perfect description of the 2012 Oregon Ducks season.

    Week in and week out, the Ducks were one of the most explosive teams in all of college football, which has led them to an 11-1 record at the conclusion of their regular season.

    Sadly, the Ducks could not find a way to defeat Stanford, ending their current streak of three straight conference titles, which also eliminated a shot at a second title game appearance in three seasons.

    Here are the top nine performances by a Duck this season, in chronological order.

De'Anthony Thomas Against Tennessee Tech

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    Six touches, 135 yards, two touchdowns.

    Wow.

    Thomas averaged a whopping 22.5 yards every time he touched the ball in the game, leading many Heisman pundits to demand that he get the Heisman Trophy at season end.

    Sadly for DAT, the Heisman is earned on a successful season, not a successful game, but he still had one of the most explosive performances that you'll ever see from any player.

Colt Lyerla vs Arizona

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    Who knew that tight ends can run?

    Against Arizona in the Pac-12 opener, Lyerla showed his ability in not only the passing game, but he also showed that he can bring a physical running game to the equation for the Ducks.

    Lyerla caught two passes for 53 yards, but also carried the ball seven times for 63 yards and a touchdown, with his longest run being 23 yards.

Marcus Mariota; Triple Threat vs Arizona State

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    Eric Crouch would be proud.

    Against the Sun Devils, and in the first true road test of his career, Mariota showed that he was not only a dominant runner and passer, but also that he could make a difference as a receiver.

    Triple Threat.

    Mariota's passing stats may not be much to drop anyone's jaws: 9-of-12 for 48 yards and a touchdown, but Triple Threat broke off an 86-yard touchdown run en route to a 135-yard performance on the ground.

    Mariota's second touchdown of the game on a two-yard pass from Bryan Bennett early in the second quarter to put the Ducks up 43-7.

    Mariota's stats would have been much higher had he not exited the game because of such a large lead.

Josh Huff Returns in a Big Way Against USC

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    After missing much of the season due to a knee injury, junior receiver Josh Huff could not have returned at a better time than for the USC game.

    Huff hauled in six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard touchdown grab to put Oregon up 48-38 at the end of the third quarter.

Marcus Mariota Bests Barkley in the Colisieum

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    Matt Barkley was expected by many to be the best quarterback in the Pac-12.

    Mariota sure did prove that statement wrong after he out-dueled Barkley in a 62-51 victory at USC.

    Mariota completed 20-of-23 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns while also adding another 96 yards on the ground.

    Sadly, Mariota wasn't a factor in the receiving game; thus losing his title as Triple Threat.

Kenjon Barner Eclipses Rushing Record vs USC

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    You can tell that the USC game was pretty big, with three of the top nine performances coming from it.

    Barner put his name as one of the best players in Oregon history with his record-breaking performance over the Trojans on a national TV audience.

    Barner totaled 321 yards with a whopping five touchdowns to lead the Ducks to a victory over the Trojans.

    I think those stats speak pretty well for why this was a big performance.

Marcus Mariota's Air Raid in Berkeley

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    When his team needed him most, Marcus Mariota showed up to play.

    While Oregon's run game was struggling to pick up yards—the Ducks averaged an abysmal season-low 3.8 yards per carry, including a 20-carry, 65-yard performance from the Ducks' top Heisman contender, Kenjon Barner—Mariota quietly threw for 377 yards and six touchdowns.

    The six touchdowns tied the school record set by Joey Harrington in 2001 against Arizona State.

    I think having a piece of a school record is worthy of a top performance.

Michael Clay Stopping the Cardinal

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    Although the Ducks lost this game, I think 20 tackles in a single game is something worth celebrating.

    Clay brought the hammer down against the Cardinal and had the only noteworthy performance of that night by making 20 stops.

DAT Brings Anger to the Civil War

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    After struggling for the entire conference season, DAT finally had his moment in the Civil War against the Beavers.

    Thomas only needed 17 carriers to gain 122 yards while also thundering into the end zone on three separate occasions to help lead Oregon to its fourth straight win over Oregon State.

    Despite his small stature of 5'9", 170 pounds, Thomas ran like he had an additional 70 pounds on him and played an extremely aggressive game.